How do we connect multiple RSS feeds into one Mailchimp newsletter?
Normally, Mailchimp accepts only one RSS feed for import to a newsletter. But with URL parameters, you can trick Mailchimp into thinking it’s getting just one RSS feed, but you can push a wide variety of content through that one feed.
I developed this technique while developing an email newsletter for Tribune Content Agency’s election content. TCA offers such a wide variety of content, I wanted to be able to push all the different sources.
- Tribune News Service with 80+ publications
- 20+ opinion columnists
- 10 editorial cartoons
- Graphics produced by in-house staff with Tribune News Service
With such an extensive catalog of content, one of our biggest challenges is simply making our customers aware of everything available. The election campaign is an excellent example of taking one topic and showing how TCA’s content covers that topic. This performs a couple of value points for both TCA and our customers:
- Website editors get to see a lot of content on the election. Not just columns, but news stories, graphics, and editorial cartoons. When it’s election season, websites need lots of content to fill their readers’ demands. We are helping editors better fulfill their needs by providing newsletters like this.
- TCA benefits from the website editors becoming more aware of the range of content available.
Sales only requested a standard “here’s our election content” email—just a one-shot blast. One of the best ways of selling the content is showing the actual content itself. I took on this initiative on my own to develop these newsletters to showcase the range of election content.
But then there’s the problem: How do we get Mailchimp to show lots of different types of LIVE content? We certainly were not going to have an editor manually copy and paste these together.
When we do the automation with a feed, there’s just a single dump into WordPress.
However, having done URL variables with outbound RSS feeds for Amazon, I knew that we could customize the feed’s content by simply adding the variables onto the URL within the body of the Mailchimp email.
The trick is that in the settings of Mailchimp: You assign the one master feed. Then you use the RSS feed with the URL parameters to show different content.
To populate the magazine content section of the email, I use a URL variable that displays just magazine content. To populate the editorial cartoons, I use a URL variable that displays just editorial cartoons.
It took a bit of PHP programming to get the feeds to behave the right way. But it wasn’t too hard because all our marketing content flows through the flagship website at tribunecontentagency.com, which is hosted on WordPress (see portfolio page for flagship site or visit the live site). I already had all the content at my fingertips through this site. I just had to program WordPress to make the RSS feeds work to my exact needs. And that was no problem for me. I love doing this type of work!