As a blogger, you wear 100 different hats. Not only are you the content creator, but you’re the social media manager, marketer, business analyst, accountant, and more. So, maybe you’ve thought about sending out e-mails and heard how important it is to have “A List.” But, adding one more thing to your weekly to-do list sounds…not fun.
However, there is a way to create a beautiful, weekly newsletter you set up once and never have to think about again. That’s where the RSS e-mail comes into play. And, with a bit of customization and design, it doesn’t have to be boring in the least. It’s a great way to stay in touch with your readers, drive traffic to your site, and grow your blog consistently. Let’s jump into it!
First things first: you need to create a new campaign for your RSS feed. Even if you have a previous RSS e-mail in MailChimp, I recommend starting fresh. In the “CAMPAIGNS” tab, click “Create Campaign,” then choose “RSS” from the drop-down menu. Then, you’ll need to set up the e-mail. Add your RSS feed link, if you have it. If not, you can enter your blog URL, and MailChimp is pretty good about finding your RSS feed. Then, decide how often you’ll want to send it (I recommend once a week). Lastly, make sure to click the “resize images” option!
On the next page, you’ll set up the subject line. Remember, you won’t change this with each e-mail, so it needs to be slightly vague. Get creative and try to think of something outside the box. Below that, add your e-mail and name in the “From” box. Pretty simple! After that, you’ll be asked to choose a template. There are a ton of great options, but I recommend sticking with the classic One Column or 1:2:1 templates. Now, you’re ready to start designing!
DESIGNING TO ADD INTEREST
Once you choose a template, you’re ready to start designing! This is where you can add a lot of style and make simple changes to help your e-mail stand out. I have four main areas I like to think about when designing an RSS feed e-mail.
- The top navigation bar. MailChimp will automatically place some text in the Preheader of the e-mail that says, “View Email in Browser.” Click that box, select “Settings,” then “One Column.” Then, add your top five navigation links. Make sure to center them. I also like to add a few spaces between each word to spread them out a bit. Depending on your color scheme, you can change the font and background color, as well, to match your site’s branding. To change the colors, save the text, click “Design,” then “Preheader”. Edit to your liking, and save!
- Logo or Header Image. Up next is adding a header. You can either insert just your logo, or also add a small header graphic. Below is the image I created for Style Collective. If you’re knowledgeable about Photoshop or Canva (or want to hire a designer) this is a great place to add some style to your RSS e-mail. If not, no worries! To add your logo, simply click on the first image box right under your Navigation bar and upload a high-res logo file. PNG is best!
- Social Media Icons. The next place I like to add some customization is in the footer of the e-mail. MailChimp has built-in social icons that are pretty simple, but creating your own is easy and adds a more unique feel to the e-mail. Again, use either Photoshop or Canva, or hire a designer to quickly do this for you. At the bottom of your e-mail, delete the social media section. Then, drag in a text box. You can place the text box either in the body or footer of the e-mail! Within the text box, click the image icon (it looks like mountains) and upload and insert the saved PNG of each social media graphic you created. As you upload each image, play around with the dimensions, add the link URL, and click “Open in New Window.” Finally, make sure you center all the images in the text box, and save!
- Background colors. I briefly mentioned changing the background color for your navigation bar, but you can also edit the background color throughout the e-mail to make it match your blog branding. I suggest editing the footer background color and the page color, as well. Play around with all three to see what looks best with your color scheme, but keep it consistent with your blog. Also, it’s generally best to leave the body background white, so it’s easy for people to read.
After you’ve inserted all your design elements and customization, add your RSS section to the body of the e-mail. This is pretty simple with the help of MailChimp, even if you don’t know anything about coding! Here is a quick guide that explains what each tag means. Basically, the tags pull specific info from your RSS feed into the e-mail each week. Also, keep in mind that you can customize this text: i.e. make *|RSSITEM:TITLE|* bigger to stand out and add a color to the Read More link.
All in all, this shouldn’t take you more than a few hours to put together! And, once you’ve set it up, MailChimp will automatically send out your e-mail every week (or day) without you having to do anything, which is pretty great for busy bloggers.
But, if you need some help, I have a special offer for SC boss babes!
RSS E-MAIL SEMI-CUSTOMIZATION PACKAGE, $200
Includes: Set up of e-mail design Nav Bar, Colors, Fonts, as well as custom social media graphics and header image.
Email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info on my branding packages or if you have another graphic project in mind!