RSS to Email: 3 Tips To Get You Started

RSS to EmailMore bloggers than ever are converting RSS to email to connect with a wider audience. (Maybe you’re one of them.)

Now that the idea that RSS and email can and should coexist has taken hold, what can bloggers learn from the email marketing world and use to make RSS to email (even more) worth their while?

RSS to Email Tips

While this is by no means everything you can do to make the most of RSS to email, hopefully these tips will form a list of best practices we can all build on to better engage our blogs’ email readers.

OK, here goes…

  1. Start With a Plan.

    A number of articles I’ve read on “emailing for bloggers” (like this one) set this as the first thing you should do.

    And no wonder. This is step #1 for any successful email campaign.

    After all, if you don’t know why you’re converting RSS to email, you’re going to have a hard time convincing anyone to sign up, let alone deliver the kind of value that will effectively engage your readers.

    Ask yourself: What is the goal of my email campaign? How will I know if I am meeting that goal?

    The answers to these questions will help shape decisions about what content to include in your emails, how often you will send emails, and other tactical questions.

  2. Decide How Often To Email (and How Much To Send In Each Email)

    Frequency and scheduling aren’t typically the first things you should think about for your email newsletter.

    However, with a blog I recommend thinking a bit more about them at first – especially if you have an established blog, or if you post frequently (if you haven’t gotten to that point yet, you might be better off focusing on creating content and getting potential subscribers to your blog).

    And it’s important to think about how much content to send in each email – you don’t want to overload subscribers, but you want to make sure there’s enough to make opening and reading your emails worth their time.

    Ask yourself: Will I send an email every time I have a new post? Once every few posts? Once a week? How much content is appropriate for one email? How many emails per week/month will my subscribers want to get?

    The answers to these questions will help you decide how often to schedule your emails.

  3. Define Why People Should Subscribe

    One of my favorite lines (as anyone who has come to a webinar knows) is “Nobody wakes up and says, ‘Gee, I’d sure like to sign up for some email today.’”

    If you don’t give people a good reason (better yet, several good reasons) to subscribe, well… they won’t subscribe. Even if they love your blog.

    Sometimes the selling point is the simple convenience of being notified about new articles on your blog. Or only getting notified once a week instead of every time you post.

    Other times it’s getting something of value that non-subscribers don’t – this tip was offered by a couple people when I asked for RSS to email tips on Twitter:

    Replies to my Twitter query

    Whatever your “hook” is, clearly define it and then come up with a few (2-4) simple phrases or sentences that sell visitors on subscribing.

    These will serve not only as headlines for your signup form, but also as calls to action to help you get more subscribers faster.

Use these tips to develop your own effective blog newsletter (if you’re not already doing so, you can discover why you should here and then use AWeber’s RSS to email tool to automatically turn your feed into an email newsletter).

What’s Your #1 RSS to Email Tip?

If you blog, and convert your RSS feed to email, I (and the readers of this blog) would love to hear your best-loved tip on using email with blogs effectively.

You can either share your tip here or reply to me on Twitter – your tip just might make it into a future RSS to email post here…

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Justin Premick is the former Director of Educational Products at AWeber.

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17 Comments

  1. L

    Email for bloggers is very important. It can be a heart beat of the blog, driving traffic, engaging and creating conversations.

    In my opinion, it is blogger’s opportunity to bring the blog to the reader instead of the other way around.

    I’m using aweber’s newsletter service with much success to drive more traffic to my blog.

    11/11/2008 8:35 pm
  2. Thanks for these helpful tips. Here are three tips that have helped me to add RSS to e-mail subscribers:

    1. Below my main newsletter subscription form, I add another box that reads:

    Get our blog posts via email:

    2. After people add their name to subscribe to my newsletter, I forward them to a landing page that thanks them and asks them if they’d like to get blog updates via e-mail. It looks like this:

    http://www.imagingbuffet.com/thank-you/

    3. I include, under each blog post, a link for people to sign up for my newsletter or to get posts delivered via e-mail.

    All the best!

    11/15/2008 7:51 am
  3. I’ve been publishing a monthly e-zine but I’m excited about the idea of publishing a emails directly from my blog to my subscriber lists using Aweber’s blog broadcast. Is it important to keep doing the e-zine also? It seems like a neat way to switch away from what is feeling increasingly like a cumbersome process to one that is streamlined and easy…

    11/19/2008 11:23 pm
  4. This is a really good idea! I have subscribed to RSS feeds, but I rarely check them. I do check my email box. Just seems easier to me. I think it works for people to have a choice. What works best –

    a) either RSS or email
    b)offering both RSS and RSS to email?

    9/22/2009 8:23 pm
  5. I like to subscribe to feed via the RSS to email thing at http://blogtrottr.com, as having to deal with emails coming from all over the place can be a bit much.

    2/9/2010 5:40 pm
  6. I thinks it’s a great idea but not every mail server sends clickable links with the RSS feeds into the messages that clients receive.

    I have found BT Internet and Hotmail so far can block links.
    Some links …..like the one to invite the reader over to add comment to the post ( usually added at the end of your email post) has to be copied and pasted by the reader which may mean they dont click through to add a comment or response at all.

    Maybe Aweber can find a way to overcome this but as there are so many mail servers we wont really know unless a reader replies by email to say links aren’t clickable.

    3/6/2010 2:30 pm
  7. This is a really good idea! I have subscribed to RSS feeds, but I rarely check them. I do check my email box.

    8/16/2010 10:09 pm
  8. This is a great site for converting feeds to email for which we can easily increase our readers today. I see that site and I like it very much. I will do it for my blog.

    9/19/2010 12:47 pm
  9. This is a very poor explanation from Aweber
    How often is an email sent when a subscriber subscribes to rss via email? And i am not talking about using the aweber system
    Is it sent everytime a new post is made or updated?
    Is it sent automatically?

    10/22/2010 4:03 am
  10. Brad,

    Sounds like you’re looking for more on the details of how our Blog Broadcast tool works.

    You can customize the sending frequency (every X number of posts, or on certain days of the week/month) and whether the emails are sent automatically (or whether you have to review and manually queue them).

    For more on Blog Broadcast scheduling, check out our Knowledge Base…

    How Do I Schedule When My Blog Broadcasts Are Sent?

    … or contact us and we’ll be happy to help you out!

    10/22/2010 9:13 am | Follow me on Twitter
  11. Learned something new. Can’t say that about many blog posts.

    4/13/2011 8:48 pm
  12. I just signed up and can’t wait to get started converting my RSS subscribers to email!

    5/8/2011 4:20 am
  13. Doaa

    I just wanna know if I have to understand the merge tag to make RSS-to-email
    Or I just give u my RSS feed URL and it work successfully?

    6/18/2012 10:07 am
  14. Hi Doaa,

    The appropriate merge tags are automatically inserted into blog broadcast templates.

    While you can tweak them to change how posts appear in your template, it’s not necessary to do so — just give us the RSS feed, choose a template, and tell us how often to send the broadcasts. We’ll do the rest.

    6/20/2012 10:56 am | Follow me on Twitter

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