Send your website updates as email content with RSS campaigns

If you publish regular updates to a website or blog, you can use your site's RSS feed to convert online content into email content. RSS campaigns are created from the Automation section of your account, and can be set up to send daily, weekly or monthly.

Right before a new email is scheduled to send, we check your RSS feed for fresh content. So don't worry if you haven't published anything on your site since the last email, we'll only send again when there's new content to share.

Creating RSS-to-email campaigns

To set up an email that will pull in content from your website RSS feed on a recurring basis:

  1. Open Automation and click Set up an RSS campaign, in the right sidebar.
  2. Enter the main site URL (or the full feed URL, for example: abcwidgets.com/blog or abcwidgets.com/rss) then click Look up.
  3. When the URL is replaced with the website name and headlines are displayed, as shown below, click Use this feed (you can only select one feed per campaign).

  4. Follow the on-screen instructions to define the email details: subject line, who it's from, and when the emails will be sent. Then click Next.
  5. Select an RSS-compatible template or, if the option is available to you, build or import your own template.
  6. Select a subscriber list or segment to send your site or blog updates to, then click Next.
  7. Follow the on-screen instructions, and when finished, click Start the schedule.

To pause an RSS campaign, or view reporting for sent emails, open Automation and click the campign name. This will open the overview page. Use the menu options on your right to pause sending, preview the content of upcoming emails, or edit sender and recipient details.

FAQs

What is an RSS feed?

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. For web publishers, it's a method of sharing site content far and wide by repurposing blog posts into a format that readers can subscribe to as a "feed".

To ensure you never miss an update from your favorite website, you can subscribe to RSS feeds using a feed reader, for example: Newsgator, Google Reader, NetNewsWire. Or, if your favorite website has an RSS-to-email mailing list, you can subscribe to that.

Note: Our RSS workflows support both RSS and Atom feeds.

My RSS feed can't be found or isn't valid. Why? What does this mean?

Sometimes entering your site URL will not find the feed, even if you do have one. Most content management systems (e.g. Wordpress, Blogger, Squarespace, SharePoint) automatically create RSS feeds for you. Look for the RSS icon in your browser or on the website itself. Or browse your website's support documentation for help.

Another way you can check if your site has an RSS feed, is to search for it in the source code. On your site's home page right-click your mouse and select View Source (or "View Page Source", or possibly something else depending on the browser you're using).

When you have the source code in front of you, press CTRL+F (or command F on Mac) to search for "rss" without the quotes. Here's a screen capture showing a successful search for "rss" in a Chrome web browser:

The search has found the site's RSS feed URL, which is: http://designinc.tumblr.com/rss

What happens if there's no new site content for the next email scheduled?

The email won't be sent if there is nothing to put in it. We'll keep checking the feed on your scheduled send dates and send the next one when there is new content. If you are on pay per campaign billing, you will not be charged when emails are not sent.

For the first send of an RSS workflow, will the full contents of the RSS feed be sent?

No, we work out how many items to send based on the send frequency you select. For example, if you choose to send weekly, the initial send will only include content published in the last seven days. If you're sending daily, we'll only include content published in the last 24 hours.

How does the system know which items to include?

Just before a workflow email is scheduled to send, we look at all of the items in the feed and pull out the ones which meet both of the rules below, no matter where they're located in the feed:

  • The value in the <guid> (RSS) or <id> (Atom) tag is new, meaning we've not sent it previously. If no <guid> (RSS) or <id> (Atom) tag is found, we use the <link> tag (used in both RSS and Atom feeds).
  • The date within the <pubDate> (RSS) or <updated> (Atom) tag is within the timeframe for this edition of the email (for a daily email, anything since the current time, minus 24 hours).

Essentially, the <pubDate> must be within the past week's window of time – we also add an extra 10 minutes just to be safe – and it must have a new <guid>.

What time of day are RSS campaigns sent?

The time RSS campaigns are sent can be customized, as well as the time zone. After setting the RSS feed, you can change this under the "When to send the emails" heading.