Making Your Blog & Newsletter Work Together

You know the importance of keeping your people up to date, but never have enough time. After all, who has time to stay on top of writing weekly blog posts, putting together monthly or quarterly newsletters? Or maybe you’re putting the time in, but get annoyed with having to write every story twice, first for you blog, then for you newsletter. Good news, Batman, you’ve got a sidekick. With an hour or two of setup you can have your blog and newsletter working together to save you a ton of time.

Your Blog & Newsletter can work together like Batman & Robin.

I wrote in Newslettering about how MailChimp can help you easily produce professional-looking HTML newsletters that let your readers see photos and text without having to open any annoying attachments. Well MailChimp also has a nifty feature that lets you automatically pull your blog posts into an automatically-sent monthly newsletter! Did I mention “automatic”? If your blogs are read by a vastly different audience (or along a different theme) than your newsletter, this trick may not be for you. But, if you find you’re repeating yourself in your various communications, MailChimp’s RSS-driven campaign might be for you!

Look Ma, no hands!

After signing up for a free account on MailChimp, the fun begins by with creating an “RSS-driven” campaign. After selecting that, you’ll be asked to enter in the web address for your blog and select how often you want your newsletter to send, whether daily, weekly, or monthly (*see my P.S.). At the selected time it’ll check whether there are any new blog posts, stick them into your newsletter, and voila! If there are no new blog posts, it won’t send anything.

The only thing that can get a little tricky is the design of your newsletter, but you can make this a simple or complex as you want. There are myriad of templates to choose from, some that are already optimized for incorporating your blog posts. The one thing you must check that the RSS “merge tag” is in the right spot in your template. That’s the code that tells MailChimp where you want it to put your blog posts, it looks something like this: *|RSS:POSTS_HTML|*.  I’d suggest reading this tutorial on the subject first. If you want to get tricky, you can choose to display full blog posts or merely excerpts (which is how it’s set up by default), how many posts to display, add other content etc. But keep it simple!

Using the “RSS-driven campaign” you can streamline your workflow and stay connected with your tribe through regular newsletters. This is sure to bring peace to your brain, your family and your galaxy! Enjoy, and let me know how it goes!

P.S. Just Cause You Can Doesn’t Mean You Should

Just because it’s easy for you to send stress-free daily emails, doesn’t mean your people want to be receiving them. You might say you love your readers or supporters, but if you launch a daily surprise attack on their inbox, they might have a hard time believing you. Make sure your newsletter subscribers understand what they’ll be receiving from you when they sign up (how often will I be getting emails from you?). And be respectful of their inbox. My guess is that you don’t need to be sending newsletters more frequently than once a month.

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3 Comments

  1. Great post. I need to start this! I am trying to get more people at the base to use MailChimp… Bless you man!

  2. Hi Brent: a couple years back I found your free ebook Newslettering. It’s a great little tool. I teach YWAMers how to raise support so I included the URL in my Tips on Newsletter Writing for others to get it. Now I see that it’s not there anymore! I did save it in my computer so I have the PDF. Will you ever put it back online, or am I free to give to people digitally? Thanks for your help, Terry

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