One of the most popular and sought after ways to draw readers to your blog or website, is through an RSS driven campaign. For some who may not be as familiar with social media jargon, you may be asking, “What is RSS?” or “What is an RSS driven campaign?” Simply put, this just means that you want to set up and allow the option for readers to not only view your posts and products on your site, but to choose if they would like to receive your posts directly to their email inbox whenever you publish a new one.
One of the best ways to do this is through MailChimp. MailChimp is free and offers the option to not only set up the RSS driven campaign that we are going to talk about, but also allows for you to create unique and custom newsletters if you should choose to. But for now, we’re going to just help you get set up to send out those fabulous posts you write to readers!
How do I get started?
First you’ll need to set up a MailChimp account if you don’t have one already. Once you do that you’ll be able to start setting up campaigns to get that content of yours out there.
Create your List
First you’re going to need to create a list. You’ll want to at least have someone to send your newsletter/RSS campaign to. For now, if you don’t know of anyone or haven’t had any subscribers, you can just add yourself or a family member. You’ll want to create a list. This is going to serve to house your subscribers and keep them all in one place. You’ll want to click on create a list and then choose whether you are going to create a single list or a group. For this purpose, we are going to create one single list of email subscribers.
Now you’ve got to give it a name. It doesn’t matter what the name is; probably something like [YOUR BLOG NAME] Subscribers will work just fine. Then you’ll want to choose the email that it comes from by default (your personal email or the email associated with your site, etc.) as well as who it shows up from (your name or your blog name) and just hit save! You can also create a little message here that will go out to subscribers once they sign up to remind them where or why they want to receive your emails.
After you have hit save, it is going to ask you if you have any subscribers or want to add subscribers. If you are starting a fresh RSS Campaign, then you probably will not have any subscribers at this time. You can, however, manually add them in this section. Say you just know your mom or your BFF will want to receive your posts in their inbox. You can add their email here and send it their way!
Now that you have a list to send your content to, you’re ready to get started. You’ll need to login to your MailChimp dashboard and create a new campaign. You’ll see a few options to the left, but for what we’re wanting to do, you’ll just choose campaign from the menu and then you’ll want to create a new campaign.
Once you click on Create Campaign you’ll be asked which kind of campaign you want. We’re going to choose RSS Driven Campaign to set it up so that readers can opt-in to get your posts sent to them directly each time you publish one.
Once you choose RSS-Driven Campaign, you’ll be taken to the next page that will allow you to choose the location of your blog/rss feed. Don’t worry if you don’t know the exact URL of your RSS Feed. Just type in your blog url and MailChimp will track down your feed url. Next you’ll be asked to choose how often you want to send emails out as well as what time. Keep in mind that the emails won’t go out the very moment that you hit “Publish” on a new post. If you write a post at 9:00 pm on a Monday and choose to send subscribers their email every day and you have it set for 4:00 am, then Monday’s post will be sent out on Tuesday morning at 4:00 am.
Create your feed
You’re going to be asked to fill in some few blanks regarding your campaign and how the email will look when it goes out.
Create your design
Once you set up how it will appear to subscribers once they get your email in their inbox, it’s time to customize what it will look like. You can choose from a variety of setup options pre-created by MailChimp. Now, this is where it can get overwhelming to design and choose, but for now we’re going to just choose a single column layout and show you how to insert the RSS Campaign to send it out. Once you choose your layout, it’s going to take you to the design page. This is drag and drop. So, we’re going to drag and drop the RSS Feed Title and the RSS Feed Items from the left column into the template layout. It should look something like this:
As you can see there’s an option at the top to upload your header or logo to make it more personal and to fit your brand. There are also other options in the left hand column that you can drag and drop to rearrange how you choose. Once you’ve got things like you want, you’re ready to go!
Time to get those emails rolling to those new subscribers! If you’re curious about how to set up your MailChimp account directly in your blog so that readers can subscribe, we’ve written a tutorial for that too! If you need help customizing your MailChimp campaign, we have a great support team who would love to help you out!