Multipart email CMS
March 13, 2006 8:50 AM   Subscribe

Collaboration tool/CMS for building HTML emails needed.

I work in a team of two web developers and endless marketing managers who all want to change the html and txt emails we produce. The emails are in multiple langauges and the content changes almost endlessly meaning that my team and I end up taking that constant one step forward and two steps back.

I need a web/intranet based system (preferably free) that will allow me to make a HTML and plain txt email available for editing by non-HTML skilled employees. They should be able to edit the content to their hearts content (!) without being able to mess up the CSS styles or any regions of the email I determine to be un-editable.

I will then be able to take what they have produced and do my mass-email thing with it.

If this system can notify me/my team when changes have been made, that would score some bonus points.

Basically this is all about sharing the document editing process amongst the team since we simply cannot change the fact that the email content changes on a regular basis.

Does any such system exist ?
posted by superfurry to Technology (6 answers total)
You want a content management system - although you really *don't* as they're all horrible. Maybe store the content in a MySQL db and create a simple interface for the users?
posted by oh pollo! at 9:02 AM on March 13, 2006

Macromedia Contribute is really the best option. It's around £99, which is cheap considering the effort it'll save. You set up the templates with Marketing, then they administer them. Simple as that.
posted by StuMiller at 9:21 AM on March 13, 2006

Contribute would work well for the HTML part, but you'd have to use something else to make the plain text versions of the emails.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:29 AM on March 13, 2006

I've used Movable Type and the Notifier plugin for this exact purpose in a number of projects, with content editors being able to just fill in the form and have the application send out the emails. You'll want a separate app to manage the mailing list itself if it's of any size, and the you just have the program send an email to your mailing software.

Disclaimer: I work with the team that makes Movable Type. But I'd used this combination of tools before that was true.
posted by anildash at 10:09 AM on March 13, 2006

Oh, side benefit: You get a web-based archive of the messages, if you want to use the built-in publishing functionality. Kind of nice if you want the email to have that "if you can't read this in your email client, click here" kind of link.
posted by anildash at 10:09 AM on March 13, 2006

A company I used to work for spent at least a year trying to develop just such an app before going out of business. The tricky part was keeping up with the always changing business of how to embed/link/etc. images, as some email clients refused to display linked (via http) images and others refused to display embedded (via mime/multipart) images!

At any rate, the whole thing was kind of humorous, because prior to embarking on this wild goose chase, we'd been using Group Mail by Infacta and it worked great! I haven't looked at their current version, so I'm not sure if it will work for the type of colloborative editing you are trying to do, but there's a free trial, so it's worth a shot.
posted by idontlikewords at 3:03 PM on March 13, 2006

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