Let’s say you just started blogging thanks to our 3-part Blogging for Business series. Way to go! Now, you’re wondering how to make sure your followers read all of your blog posts.
A surefire way to make sure your posts are seen is to send them straight to your readers’ inboxes. I bet, though, that you don’t want to sit down and type out an email with a link every time you post.
Good news: we can make it happen for you automatically (yay!).
The solution is the one-time setup of automatic email subscription. I’m a big fan of MailChimp for our small business clients, so I’m going to show you how to set up an RSS-driven email for your blog using MailChimp. Embarrassingly enough, I haven’t done this for 11Web yet (too busy doing it for clients I guess!) so you’ll be following along on our example.
Set up an Email Subscription for Your Blog – Just 9 Steps
- Sign up for a MailChimp account. It’s free!!
- Log into your new account. We’re going to start by creating a List.
Click Lists in the left column. On this page, you’ll fill in details about your mailing list.
Once you’re set, click Save. Then, you should add at least one subscriber by going to Add subscribers. I am just going to add myself and let anyone else who’s interested sign up on 11Web.com. You could also consider adding your own team or past clients, but never, ever use purchased mailing lists. Here are some best practices for growing your email list.
- Now onto the campaign! On the main Dashboard page, you’ll see a button in the upper right corner. Click the drop-down menu next to the Create Campaign button and select RSS-Driven Campaign.
- Input your RSS Feed URL. Don’t be scared. For most WordPress blogs, the feed URL is just yourwebsitename.whatever/feed.
Next, choose how often your email will send. Note that even if you select Every Day, your campaign won’t actually send every day unless you’re posting daily. It only sends if you have something new, so you’re really just telling MailChimp when to check for new content. I’d like MailChimp to check each day at 11am to see if we published a new post and send if we did. Here’s some more info on what time to send email campaigns.
You could instead select Weekly and send more of a “roundup” email of all the posts you’ve published that week.
- On the next screen, select the List you created earlier.
- Lots of options on the next page. Most importantly, craft an email subject that includes the post’s title and something to let the reader know where it came from. To include the post’s title, copy this code:
If you’re not sure about the rest of the options, use the defaults.
- For your next step, choose a template. I like the 1:2 Column (with background color) or 1:2 Column Banded (no background color) so I can add a 2-column section later if I want.
- Now the fun part! Design what your email will look like.
The first and most important step is to include the code that pulls from your blog’s RSS feed. MailChimp makes this easy with their “RSS Item” block. Drag this block into the main body of your email template. Then, select Full Content in the drop down box on the right. This will provide the code to show the full blog post in your email.
You can further design as you’d like, including a header image and customizing your colors. Here is an in-depth guide to styling your newsletter.
- Finally, it’s time to test what your newsletter will really look like. Start by entering Preview Mode by going to Preview and Test in the upper navigation bar. When that looks decent, send a few test emails to yourself and at least one other email address.
Once you’re satisfied, start your campaign by clicking on Start RSS in the bottom right corner of the Confirmation screen. It’s all set to go!