Please welcome guest blogger, Katie Hornor, founder of Paradise Praises as well as a bilingual author and international speaker.
Many bloggers write on multiple topics in the same niche. And yet often times our audience may desire to follow only a part of our offerings. Allowing readers to customize the information they receive is just one more way we can serve them better.
How to Customize an RSS Feed
RSS means Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication and it is a term we use to describe posts or updates that are automatically sent to subscribers via email.
Your subscribers do not HAVE to get everything you publish. Your audience could sign up to receive only the posts of their choice or only for the specific categories they are interested in.
In this post, I’ll walk you through the 3 steps to setting up customized RSS feeds for your subscribers. The first one is to create your list, the second is to create the RSS customized campaign, and the third is get the sign up form and place it on your site.
Step 1: Create the List
To create your list, you will want to go into your mail service provider and create either a list for each category (which could get cumbersome in step 3) or create one main list that is segmented (divided into sub-lists). The way you choose to set this up may depend somewhat on how your mail service works. I use MailChimp, and it is possible to do it either way, but other mail services may be different.
For example sake, we will choose a fictional family blog; The Family Blog and our main list is “The Family Blog Posts by Email” list. The lists or the segments that we would want to set up for our blog might be:
- family entertainment
Step 2: Customize the RSS Campaign
In this step we want to set up our automatic emails so that each time a post publishes on our blog it will send to those on that list. In MailChimp this is called an “RSS Campaign”. And to create it, follow these steps:
- Choose campaigns from the menu
- Click on the “create campaign” button
- Choose “RSS-Driven campaign
- For RSS Feed, enter the following replacing “marriage” with the specific category of posts: http://thefamilyblog.com/category/marriage/feed
- Choose date and time to send
- Choose which list (or segment of a list) to send it to
- Fill out campaign name, email subject, from name and from email
- Select a template
- Edit the design (don’t forget to add in the RSS items/content block)
- Confirm and start the RSS campaign.
You will want to repeat step 2 for each one of your lists, or segments.
Step 3: Place the sign-up form on your site
Now that we have it set up to send out posts by category, we want to add the correct sign up form to our site. To get the html sign up form for the desired list or the list with segmented sign up options, follow these steps:
- Go to Lists in the MailChimp menu
- Click on the name of your list
- Go to sign up forms
- Choose embedded forms
- Preview the form and make any changes (If you have one segmented list, it should show the segmented options below the name/email options)
- Copy/paste the html form code onto your page or post in text view, or into your text widget.
If you have chosen to do a different mailing list for each segment then you will need to create a separate sign up for each list. If you have chosen to segment one list, the segment options should appear on the form (as seen above).
So, now that you know you can offer different sign up options and you know how to offer them, go serve your people by offering them options when signing up for your RSS content!