Note: I'm starting a new series of posts called "Modern Intranet" which will discuss topics around modern portal features available in SharePoint Online (SPO). These posts will come directly from my conversations with Healthcare customers that are in the process of moving their main intranet to SharePoint Online.
News Publishing & Syndication in SPO is a really great feature that was introduced last year (click here for a great infographic on using SharePoint News). One thing that was missing was the ability to gather up a collection of posts and quickly send via email. Sending a news digest via email was recently released, and this article walks through how to use this new feature.
Site News is a page in a SPO site that shows all news for the current site, as well as any news from associated hub sites.
The page for Site News is located at https://YOUR-TENANT-NAME.sharepoint.com/sites/YOUR_SITE_NAME/_layouts/15/news.aspx (in case you need the link for navigation menus, etc.), but you can easily access the page from the "See all" link on the Site News webpart.
Navigating to SharePoint News in your site.
The page for Site News looks like this:
The SharePoint News Page
Important: If you do not see the "Email a news digest" link, ensure that you have at least Contribute permissions in the current site. Anybody in your site can access the Site News page, but if you do not have permissions to create news, then you do not have permission to share a news digest :(
Sending the Digest
Once you have confirmed you have Contribute permissions in the site, you are ready to select news posts and send them. Simply click the "Send an email digest" link, and select the news posts you wish to share.
Select the news posts you wish to share.
Note: At the time of this writing, I was able to send several news posts (around 20) at one time, so I am not aware of any limits to how many you can send. I'm sure there is a limit, but the practicality of hitting that limit is very low. Users need to select each news post they wish to share (there is not a "Select all" button), and recipients of the digest may not appreciate a long, scrolling, "spammy" email. Four to six posts per digest, per week is probably a good, safe number.
Once you have selected the desired news posts, click the "Next" button to specify a name for your digest, recipients, and an optional message. Recipients can be individual email addresses & distribution lists.
Specifying recipients and an (optional) message.Once you are ready, click the "Send news digest" button. Recipients will receive your curated news digest in their inbox. Notice that the sender is NOT a service account; it is you!
Recipients will receive your curated news digest in their inbox!
The ability to create and share email news digests is a new feature to the ever expanding components that make up a modern intranet. In future articles, I will highlight more modern intranet features.
Some additional tips, tricks, and FYIs:
- Your organization may not allow you to send to certain large distribution lists. For example, at Microsoft, I am not allowed to send to "All Company" - for good reason (LOL)! That right is reserved for executives, corporate communications, etc.. Keep that in mind when sending your news digest.
- When naming your news digest, the name will be used as the email subject... be consistent! Your audience may have inbox rules that trigger on the subject.
- At the time of this writing, there is not a way to customize the appearance of the email. It's a new feature, and the road map is wide open. Make sure you direct feedback to the engineering teams via User Voice!
- Easter Egg: after you send your digest, check your pages library - you will see a post containing your curated digest. This is a great way to create an archive of your digests. You can use metadata and highlighted content web part to surface your news digests. Tip: You can also use Flow to automate the posting of your news digest to other channels like Teams, Yammer, and other SharePoint sites.