Adding news to your website

Building a news presence in the new content management system is fairly easy to do but there are some options that need to be considered before proceeding. The tool (technically called Omni Update Blogs, although that name is not visible anywhere in the site) doesn’t completely align with the Department Tools feature set mainly in that it doesn’t have a built-in emailing feature. There are options for an email feature, and we’ll have more about that toward the end of this guide.


Creating the folder structure

Within the context of our website, it’s important to decide how the news will be created and organized. The folder structure of your site is key here. The first step is easy: We’ll want to separate the News from the rest of your site content by create a New Section called “news” or “newsletter.”

What happens inside that folder is the first choice you have to make. If you’re planning to communicate often, you’ll need a robust folder structure to keep items organized in small enough chunks to be manageable. For instance, WSU Today goes out daily, and each issue has multiple images and documents within it. If we just dumped those into one WSU Today folder, it wouldn’t be long before the sheer volume of files became overwhelming – even with the CMS filtering tools.

For that reason, daily publications like WSU Today should have a chronological folder structure (Bold indicates a folder or subfolder):

  • folder icon /wsunews/
    • folder icon /wsu_today/  (one of several newsletter folders in /wsunews/)
      • wsu_today_listing.pcf (grabs any new Story file created within the wsu_today folder or its subfolders to build a listing page)
      • folder icon /2019/
        • folder icon /01-Jan/ (contains all issues for the month, plus photo and document assets)
          • folder icon /_documents/ (optional)
          • folder icon /_images/ (recommeded)
          • 01_jan_19.pcf (issue file from News Story template)
          • 02_jan_19.pcf (issue file from News Story template)
          • 03_jan_19.pcf (issue file from News Story template)

If you only plan to post monthly, quarterly or occasionally, or if you're running the site as a blog, you wouldn't need to create the monthly folders (Bold indicates a folder or subfolder):

  • folder icon /news/
    • folder icon /newsletter_name/
      •  newsletter_listing.pcf (grabs any new Story file created within the newsletter_name folder or its subfolders to build a listing page)
      • folder icon /2019/ (contains all issues for the year, plus photo and document assets)
        • folder icon /_documents/ (optional)
        • folder icon /_images/ (recommeded)
        • jan_19.pcf (monthly issue file from News Story template)
        • feb_19.pcf (monthly issue file from News Story template)

Templates

To fill these folders, you have two main page templates, the Story and the Listing Page, plus an optional News homepage that can be created in several ways.

The Story

Story IconThe Story is the base news story template available in the New Content pulldown. (This page type can also be used to build a home page for each issue of your newsletter, if desired.) The page has built-in social media sharing features and has the following content features:

  • Title – The headline for the story
  • Author (optional) – displays who wrote the story
  • Description – The metadescription for SEO purposes. Should relate to the story content.
  • Summary (optional) – bullet point section with the major points of the story so readers can skim.
  • Sidebar (optional) – Same as the sidebar on Standard Content pages. Good for related or secondary information (like a traditional sidebar story or related content) or secondary images
  • Related stories (optional) – Uses tags to group related stories from past issues.

Listing Page IconThe Listing Page

The Listing Page is an optional page that automatically lists all the Story pages that have been published in chronological order. The listing page can display headline only or show a thumbnail and summary. A Listing page gathers any published news stories inside the folder where it lives – including stories contained within subfolders. That path is set in the page parameters News Root Directory setting.

NOTE: The listing page also has a search feature that requires some customization from our support staff to be activated. If you don't need a search feature for the site, it can be hidden, as well. Contact Web Support using the form linked in the footer if you would like to activate or hide the search field.

The News Homepage is an optional page that serves as a landing page for the news. Stories can be manually featured on the page in a variety of ways using existing templates, snippets and components.

For instance, the homepage could be built with the Landing Page template that features all of the stories of each issue using a mixture of snippets. The Office of the President's Forward Together newsletter in built in this way.

Alternately, you could build the homepage with a Standard Content or Story template.

There's really no wrong answer, it just depends on what you prefer.

The News Hybrid Homepage

The News Hybrid Homepage combines a News Homepage look with a listing page. Over time, this allows for a chronological archive of all stories while still allowing you to build a new homepage with impact.  


News Schemes

In addition to folder structure options, there are also several ways to create the news feature, each with its own pros and cons.

Unified (WSU Today / Shocker Blast style newsletter)

A unified newsletter issue is a single page built with the Story template that contains all of the full stories of the newsletter. This is the style used for WSU Today and Shocker Blast. The listing page gathers issues by chronologically, so the date must be in the title of each page.

  • Pros
    • Easy to create and manage.
    • Self-contained, so it doesn’t require a navigation.
  • Cons
    • Not easy to share or repurpose individual stories on the page (anchors may be used to generate a direct link to a story).
    • Doesn’t handle long stories very well (although you can use the accordion snippet to run a full version of the story).
    • Doesn’t allow tagging of individual stories.
    • Requires notification of the posting of an issue either through email or social media.

See a unified newsletter example

Traditional

In a traditional newsletter, each story has its own page (using the Story template). Hooking those stories together requires a home page for each issue. The home page would contain a list of stories with headline, summary and link out to the full story and can be built with either the Story template or a Standard-Content page.

  • Pros
    • Allows content to easily be repurposed and shared using the AddThis sharing features for each story.
    • Story length is not an issue.
  • Cons
    • More complex to manage.
    • Needs a home page to tie stories together into a single issue.
    • Requires cross-linkages to navigate between stories and the home page. (Usually done in the sidebar)
    • Requires manual archiving of issues. (Listing page will grab only stories in chronological order, independent of issue groupings)
    • Requires notification when a new issue is posted. (Social media or Outlook email)

See a sample traditional newsletter

Blog

This style skips the idea of publishing issues all together. If you have a story ready, you build it on a Story template and publish it. The stories are displayed on a Listing Page, which serves as the home page for the Blog. Stories are automatically listed chronologically and thumbnails and summaries can be included with the post.

  • Pros
    • Allows content to easily be repurposed and shared using the AddThis sharing features for each story.
    • Story length is not an issue.
    • Allows tagging.
    • No notification is necessary, because there are no “issues.”
    • Easier to manage because deadlines are relaxed. You publish when you have something to say.
  • Cons
    • Users don’t get a notification of a set of stories, which can cause the feature to be under-the-radar, although the sharing features may be used to amplify posts on social media channels as notification.

See a sample blog