If you write a blog, you want as many people as possible to read it. As well as sending it to all your social media, why not send it to your mailchimp newsletter subscribers.
This tutorial will explain how to do this if you use Mailchimp. There are of course, other newsletter platforms – this tutorial won’t be that relevant, but hopefully it will give you an idea of things to look for in whatever you use.
There is a guide on Mailchimp’s own site but I think it needs a few more pictures and a bit less techie terms (Sorry Mailchimp – I do love you really) Here’s the link if you want to check out what they say.
I’m going to assume that you have a Mailchimp account, have a list of subscribers to send your newsletter to and have grasped the basics of making and newsletter and sending it out.
There are three ways to send your blog(s) to your subscribers
Method #1 of sending your blogs to your Mailchimp newsletter subscribers
This is the simplest way to add a blog to you newsletter. Simply copy the link from your blog and paste it into your newsletter. Maybe put a line or two to say what the blog is about to entice people to click the link.
But if you are a prolific blog writter then putting lots of links in manually is time consuming. There is a smarter way of doing this.
Method #2 of sending your blogs to your Mailchimp newsletter subscribers
This is a great way of automating the whole process and especially good if you write lots of blogs.
This tutorial will show you how to set up a newsletter that will automatically, at a time interval of your choice, send out a newsletter to all your subscribers that contains all the blogs you have written since the last time the newsletter was sent. The first time you send the newsletter it will look back over the last day/week/month (whatever time period you select) and send everything in that time period. So you don’t have to worry that the first time you send it it will send everything you ever written.
- Login to Mailchimp (obvious I know, but let’s start with the easiest bit)
- From the main dashboard, click on Create Campaign
- From the dropdown, select RSS Campaign
For those of you who are wondering what RSS means, it’s short for Real Simple Syndication. You don’t need to know more that it does cool stuff for you. But do feel free to Google it.
- The next screen is the one that “scares” most people and they one they stop at. The two pictures below shows the whole screen
- You can see the nice people at Mailchimp have included some answers to questions you might have.
The one you are most interested in, and it’s the thing that stops most people, is finding you RSS Feed URLIn plain English, this means you need to tell Mailchimp where to find you blog.
Again, the nice people at Mailchimp do provide help. If you click in the box under “RSS Feed Url” you’ll it gives you a little message.Again, I’ve had people ask me what a URL is. URL is an acronym for Uniform Resource Locator, or what most people call a web address.
It’s not asking for the web address of a particular blog entry.
Just put your website address into the box and Mailchimp will do the rest. I’ve not come across a WordPress website that has needed more that this. If you have a non-standard set up you may need to play around but in my case I just put in my website address as shown below.
If you’ve put your blog into a subdomain of your site, you’ll need to put that address in. So, for example, if all my blogs were under an address of blog.theitfairy.co.uk I’d need to put that in.
If you get an error message, I highly recommend working through MailChimp’s Trouble shooting guide
- Next you need to decide when to send it. Your choices are Every Day, Every Week or Every Month.
Unless you make it clear when people sign up that you will be emailing every day, I wouldn’t recommend that choice. You don’t want to annoy and/or bore people!If you chose every week, you then get to choose which day of the week and if you chose every month then you get asked which day of the month
- Choose what time of day you want to send it. This is something you might to change later if you notice that people aren’t reading it. Remember though to measure, change and then measure again. Mailchimp provides statistics that show your open rate, your click rate and a whole host of other things.
- When you’ve decided all this, then click the box to make it resize your images
- You are almost done. You now need to select your recipients. So select your list. I’ve created a demo list for this tutorial and clicked to send it to the whole list
- Next it’s all about SetUp.
Assuming you’ve been using mailchimp for a while, this screen will be familiar to you. But in case there are bits you aren’t sure about, I’ll run through this screen for you.
This is what you get out of the box.
The campaign name is something only you see. Call it something that makes sense to you such as “Automatically sends with new blogs once a month”I recommend changing the email subject line.
*|RSSFEED:TITLE|* inserts the title of your blog or RSS feed “channel.” and *|RSSFEED:DATE|* will put in the date automatically for you.
So for this demo it will put in, when it sends
I personally thinks that’s a little bland and I’m sure you can think of something better.
Change the from name to something that will mean something to your reader if necessary.
Scrolling down we see this.
Unless you have a paid account, or have set up Google Analytics, you can leave things as you find them in the tracking section.
Next we come to the social media section. This is where you can set things up to send your newsletter to your Twitter and Facebook accounts.
If you haven’t previously linked your social media accounts to your Mailchimp account, you can do it from here. But assuming you’ve already done that then when you click in the boxes you will get something that looks like this:
Again the default text is a little bland. I encourage you to be more creative and write something to entice people.
In the Twitter one, do not remove the bit that says *|URL|* – this is the magic that puts a link in your tweet to your newsletter.
You’ll under the Facebook box a list of all the Facebook pages you have admin level on. Make sure you select the correct one(s). You can send your newsletter link to both your own profile and your business page.
Finally at the bottom it gives you “More Options” with the one option to autoconvert video. You can leave this as it is.
Click on either Template or Next to move to the template picking stage.
If you already have a template that you normally use for newsletters, you can select that from Saved Templates or you can create something new. There are also some pre-made templates just for RSS – remember we are using RSS to do the magic here. If you choose one template, you can always change your mind later!
The basic RSS one puts everything you need. All you then need to do it make it look pretty by putting in your logo, changing the colours etc.
Suppose you choose another template. The next step is to Design it!
There are RSS content blocks pre-loaded with RSS merge tags to customise the content that’s pulled into your campaign. You can go with the default options or get more adventurous from reading this. Mailchimp does have lot of information to help you.
Finally, when you are happy with it, but before you send it out, check how it’s going to look by using the Preview and Test options.
You can preview to look at it in your web browser and test it by sending yourself a copy
Finally, when you are really happy with it, press confirm at the bottom of the screen
If you’ve made a mistake you’ve have the chance to correct it here, so do take a minute or two to check everything
Mailchimp will also detect problems. For example, initially as I was using my empty demo list, I was blocked from setting up the campaign as you can’t send something out to no-one.
Just one more button to press one. And that’s the one at the bottom to get things going. Press the button that says “Start RSS” to send your newsletter with your blogs based on the schedule you chose earlier.
Method #3 of sending your blogs to your Mailchimp newsletter subscribers
Suppose you don’t want to send out a regular newsletter with your blogs but want to have a list of your recent blogs in every newsletter you manually send.
This is straight forward. You can edit your newsletter template (assuming you have set a customised one with all your branding in it) to include a RSS block so it’s always there.
Or if you use a different template design each time and add in the RSS block.
I hope this helps, but if you need more assistance on this or any other aspect of using Mailchimp, please contact me and book a one-to-one session either face to face or by Skype.