Curious as to how to set up an RSS feed newsletter? If you are plan to use MailChimp to deliver content to your readers via email, but you either:
- Aren’t ready to start sending out personalized newsletters
- Don’t have the time to write out said personalized newsletters
then setting up your blog’s RSS feed to be delivered is a suitable solution. This sends your subscribers notifications of your new blog posts, so they can click over and read. This is what I do before a blog’s newsletter becomes large enough to be worth my time to do something customized myself (or pay someone). Right now I have one blog which is at 30,000 subscribers, so I do a custom newsletter once per week. My second blog is only at 1,700 subscribers, so I send out the RSS feed for that. I make the RSS feed look like a regular newsletter with a nice template so that it’s hard to tell the difference . . . yet it’s all automatic, and I don’t even have to push a button to make it send!
Before you head to MailChimp to set this up, make sure you get the RSS feed link for your blog. It’s generally just yourdomain.com/feed.
To find the exact link for your blog, right click on your homepage and view the page source. This is the HTML code for your blog. Search (using CTRL+F) for “RSS”, and you should find a line that reads something like this:
<link rel=”alternate” type=”application/rss+xml” title=”YourDomain » Feed” href=”http://yourdomain.com/feed/” />
The link just past the equal sign (in bold above) is your RSS feed URL.
Now, log into MailChimp. Hopefully have an account created and your blog’s list set up.
Enter your RSS feed link here, and decide the days and times you want the emails to send. Daily emails will send the content you have published in the last 24 hours. Weekly sends the last 7 days of content, and monthly sends the last 30 days of content.
In the setup section, you are going to complete the info about the RSS campaign. Give it a name that you can remember it by, usually just “Blog Name RSS” will work. Your subscribers will be able to see the name.
There is some code already in the email subject line that will pull the most recent blog post title and date published. Also, put in your first name and email address, so your list can reach you if needed.
Next, choose a template. If you are doing a daily RSS email, the first template should work. If you are doing a weekly one where you will have multiple posts featured in a single email, a 2-column template may work better.
Once a template is chosen, you will go to the design stage. Use the pre-defined blocks to the right (you’ll probably need to scroll down to see them at the bottom) labeled RSS Header and RSS Items for best results. They have tags in place that will pull post titles and descriptions for each email you send.
When you drag one of the blocks into your template, you will be able to change certain options. For example, when using the RSS items block, the right side of your screen will give you this menu:
In the drop down, you can choose your email to show blog post excerpts, titles only, or full content of each post. Excerpts are the most recommended, as it gives the recipient a little taste of your post and make them want to click through.
You can also add your blog header or logo to the top of the template, just so your emails are recognizable by your subscribers.
The final screen allows you to confirm the RSS campaign you have just created. This screen will also notify you of any errors you can fix before sending your first email.
If that screen confirms everything is good, click the “Start RSS” button in the bottom right hand corner of your screen. That’s it – your RSS feed newsletter will now be sent to your list subscribers as often as you chose during set up!