Automate newsletters in WordPress via RSS feeds

Email newsletters are a fantastic means of drawing the attention of readers to new blog entries. Personally, I always find it hard to think about it in my daily business, or to take the time to write and send a newsletter. So I thought: Why not just automate the whole thing? Once set up, you can sit back and concentrate on your other work while your website visits skyrocket and hopefully, little by little, you will have more and more loyal regular readers.

In this tutorial I’ll show you how to use sendinblue’s RSS campaign integration to automatically send email campaigns based on the latest content from your website or blog. With RSS campaign integration, it’s now totally easy to keep your readers informed and updated with new content on a weekly, monthly or any publication.

Before you start – get prepared

First of all you need an account at sendinblue.

You can easily create one here. You can send up to 1,000 e-mails per month for free. After that there are three pro-packages whose prices depend on the number of e-mails sent.

The second thing you need is the URL of your RSS feed.

If you use a WordPress blog, the RSS address is simply www.deinedomain.de/feed/. Feeds for certain categories can also be found at www.deinedomain.de/kategorie/feed/. With a feed aggregator like RSSUnify or RSS Mix, you can easily combine multiple RSS feeds into a single feed.

Important: To ensure that blog posts are included in an RSS campaign, you should publish them at least one hour before sending an RSS campaign!

Finally, you will need an RSS-compatible template at sendinblue to design your RSS campaign.

If you want to start sending from RSS feeds, you should definitely use one of the standard RSS templates and adapt it instead of creating a new template from scratch.

1. Start integrating the RSS campaign

  • Click on the + icon in the top menu and then click on the Integrations tab.
  • Select the RSS campaign integration on the Integrations page.

Give this integration a name as shown below. After you have entered a name, click the Create Integration button to go to the Create Integration page

2. Specify your RSS feed URL

Enter your RSS feed URL and click the Load RSS Feed button:

If the URL is valid, a preview of your RSS feed is loaded.

Then you will see the generated key names, which you can use in the subject line of your e-mails, for example:

Click the Next button to proceed to the next step.

3. Choose an e-mail template

To design the emails generated by your RSS campaign integration, you must use an email template. You have two options for this: Either you use one of the standard RSS templates, which I would recommend at this point, or you choose a custom template that you have created from scratch for your RSS campaign integration. However, the standard template works very well and can be customized in the next step. You should at least customize the logo and the social media links!

4. Adapt the template to your RSS feed

This allows you to insert elements from your RSS feed into your email template:

  • To retrieve tags from the channel, you should use {{{{params.feed.XXX}}} (where XXX should be replaced by the tag name)
  • To call tags from an item, you should iterate over the dynamic list {{{{params.items}}}

Example:

  • To output the title from the channel, use the tag: {{{{params.feed.TITLE }}
  • To output <pubDate> from the channel, use the tag: {{{{params.feed.PUBDATE }}
  • To output a tag from the articles, create a loop (Dynamic Content -> Dynamic list) that iterates over the dynamic list (items). You can use the variable name item for each item in your list. For example, to output the of an item, use {{item.TITLE }}. To output the <pubDate> from an item would be like this: {{{item.PUBDATE}}.

When you are finished with your template design, click Next.

5. Select a list of recipients

Select the list of recipients for your RSS campaign:

Important: You should definitely test the integration of all your RSS campaigns first before you choose real recipients!

Click the “Next” button when you are finished.

6. Configure your campaign

You can now customize the email campaigns that are automatically created by the new integration. You can customize both the name of your email campaigns and the subject of your email campaigns based on your RSS feed tags.

For example, you could display the date of the first article in the subject of each email you create.

For example, if you published an article on Tuesday, July 11, 2020, then a second article on Tuesday, July 12, 2020, and you want your contacts to receive an email with the dynamic subject: “New articles for Tuesday, July 11, 2020”. Then the subject of your email campaign must be New articles for {feed.date|time_parse: “Monday 02 January 2006” }

When you are finished with your campaign settings, click the Next button.

7. Campaign creation and planning

Campaign Creation: This is where you choose how often Sendinblue should check for new posts in your feed. Select the Specific weekdays option if you want your email campaigns to be created weekly:

Select the “Specific day of the month” option if you want your email campaigns to be created monthly. An email campaign will ONLY be created when new content is added to your RSS feed.

By the way, if you want a new email to be created every time new content is added to your RSS feed, you can simply select any day of the week. An email will then be sent whenever a new article is published on that day.

8. Dispatch of the campaigns

Here you can specify whether your email campaigns should be sent automatically or manually. If you choose automatic, the campaign will be sent as soon as it is created. If you choose manual, each campaign will be saved as a draft in your account. You can then customize it and send it yourself.

Once the campaign is created, click Next.

9. Activate the integration

Last but not least you have to save and activate the new integration. You can also use “Save and leave inactive” to save it as a draft and activate it later. You will then be redirected to the Integrations page, where you can view the newly created integration.

So that’s it! Now all you have to do is publish content regularly, which is then automatically sent to your newsletter subscribers.