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Repurposing RSS – Build Your Own Content Digest Using Mailchimp

RSS Feeds are boring

We all know the convenience of RSS feeds can’t be beat. They allow you to get the news you want sent to you, rather than visiting different sites. Using RSS feeds as part of an online marketing strategy to keep your audience connected – and returning to your website – has become pretty common.

Email service provider MailChimp provides a great tool to send your feed from a blog or news page to create an automatic email newsletter, but you can also use this RSS-to-email service to set up your own daily email of RSS feeds.

A few months ago I decided that Twitter just wasn’t working well enough as a content aggregator. I follow a number of design publications through Twitter to keep up with their latest articles. I also follow funny feeds like Kenny Powers, Funny or Die and about 300 others. So my design content gets lost. (Argue the case of custom lists all you want, they’re just not practical.)

The next tool I tried was a web app called NetNewsWire. I spent an hour or so subscribing to all the blogs I wanted to read and it worked out just fine. After about a week, I had stopped checking the app. I even set it up to open whenever I turned on my machine. Still never looked at it. I just couldn’t work it into my routine.

So my need to read relevant design articles festered for a while, until I came across MailChimp’s RSS tool. I already knew about the RSS-to-email campaigns. That concept was novel and works for a lot of people. But I don’t really want to get five emails every morning just to see what a couple pubs wrote about. That was what I thought until a brand new Vital Design email marketing project introduced me to this badass new feature called feed merge.

Feed Merge

The possibilities here are endless. Before, you could only subscribe to an email consisting of posts from one feed. Now, you can pepper one email template with as many feeds as you want. I will detail how to accomplish this below, but for now just think about the possible applications of this. Exciting, right?

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