Best practice: Creating a newsletter together in SMASHDOCs

We at smartwork solutions use SMASHDOCs for almost everything that has to be written and edited, for example when we work out the content for a newsletter as well.

I would like to give you a brief description here of how we do it.

Drafting, proofreading and tuning content in SMASHDOCs

After we’ve coordinated the topics and rough content in a short meeting, one of us writes a first draft, then starts the revision mode and invites the others to give feedback.

If individual parts of the newsletter have to be designed by different people, someone simply creates a new, empty document, immediately starts the revision mode and invites the other authors to participate.

Now everyone can write their parts in SMASHDOCs.

Exactly as in WordOnline, GoogleDocs or Quip, the authors can now create content together. But in contrast to the tools mentioned above, others can only comment on or revise the individual sections if the respective author has explicitly released them. This is quite cool, because as a writer you can draft your sections in peace, without the others already interfering and in the worst case deleting something or making an unsuitable change.

Our graphic designer is also involved in the creation phase, and will work out the first sketches for images for the individual contributions. As soon as she releases them she’ll immediately receive feedback and comments and can optimise them if necessary. In SMASHDOCs, we can detect when images have been updated, and with a click everyone can see the previous versions and all the comments to make sure that the optimisation is going in the right direction. This is incredibly convenient and time-saving. It used to be much, much more complicated.

All the text sections that are released for revision, are then corrected, changes proposed and decided upon. This is either done by the authors among themselves, or we simply invite one or two more colleagues to the document – internally we call these the “letter truffle pigs”. In this way the text is examined again for grammar and spelling errors.

Thanks to the SMASHDOC’s role-rights concepts, there is no chaos, as it is perfectly clear to everyone what they are allowed to do in the document.

In contrast to MS Word and Google Docs, you can even adjust it so that colleagues can only make changes, but can not decide upon them. Very convenient.

When we don’t need our “letter truffle pigs” any longer, we simply deactivate them in the document.

We often invite other colleagues from other departments to obtain their valuable feedback.

When it comes to proofreading, there are of course linguistic subtleties apart from sniffing out spelling mistakes, but deeper, substantive discussions can also arise. We use the commenting functions in SMASHDOCs very intensively for this purpose.

In contrast to Google Docs (with which we have done this before) I immediately detect in SMASHDOCs, which comments contain new entries, and I can also see immediately which posts are new for me specifically in the course of the comments.

In Google Docs, this quickly became very, very confusing. In SMASHDOCs, however, everything remains clearly organised, and SMASHDOCs helps me to recognise new ones quickly and accurately. If this function was not available, we would need much longer to complete the content of our newsletter.

Finalise the content in SMASHDOCs first and then do the lay-out

We try to finish everything completely in SMASHDOCs.

No more spelling mistakes. Perfect formulations. Final pictures.

NEVER mix the composition and coordination of content with the creation and matching of the design!

Only when we reach the quality level “Ready to design”, we export the contents of SMASHDOCs as an HTML file or Word document, and then manually transfer the contents to MailChimp – a really cool tool for designing and controlling newsletter campaigns. But never create content that is not yet tuned. Do not do this. Hot tip!

If the content has been transferred to Mailchimp and has been made “nice”, we will send a test e-mail and check how this will really look later in an e-mail inbox on a computer or smartphone.

Always adjust corrections first in SMASHDOCs and then convert them into the mailing tool

And although we always (!) try to find all the errors in the creation and coordination phase already, before we transfer everything to MailChimp, our mailing tool, we actually still find some (but they are really only very few…).

We do not correct these errors – as you might expect by now – in MailChimp, but in SMASHDOCs. This is the only way to ensure that all parties involved are aware of the planned corrections. And sometimes a supposed correction is not as great as you initially thought – and a colleague has a better suggestion. So, first adjust the corrections in SMASHDOCs and then move them into MailChimp.

Finally, send a test email again (and hope that you really no longer need any correction … – otherwise again “back to SMASHDOCs” …) – and it’s done!

To conclude, a few brief tips.

It doesn’t always have to be simultaneous

All the parties involved usually have their days fully booked, which is why we rarely work on a document at the same time.

It’s far more likely to get an email from SMASHDOCs informing me that there’s something new for me in the newsletter document.

SMASHDOCs checks every 30 minutes whether there are documents containing news for me, and then notifies me automatically. Very practical, because I always stay up-to-date, even if we don’t work on it at the same time.

One click on the link is enough to open the document. I can then immediately track all the new changes and comments.

Watch the video and see how easy it is. I don’t have to compare Word versions or browse in countless versions in Google Docs’ revision history any more to find out what has changed.

Finally, my tips on how to best create, coordinate, design and send newsletters with SMASHDOCs and MailChimp.


  • Content is always drafted, edited and discussed in SMASHDOCs. Never in Mailchimp.
  • Start the “make-up” in MailChimp only when you are really sure that everything fits in SMASHDOCs. No more mistakes. Final pictures. Simply perfect content.
  • Always make corrections that may be necessary after the “make-up” in SMASHDOCs first. This is the only way to keep everyone informed of the changes and they can also make meaningful contributions. Transfer the corrections to MailChimp only after everything is really perfect in SMASHDOCs.

And now: have fun with SMASHDOCs and MailChimp!



CEO smartwork solutions GmbH

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