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How to make an RSS feed from curated content

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This tutorial explains how to publish curated content to make an RSS feed from your Cronycle board, both to connect to other tools and to share publicly.

Benefits and limits of RSS feeds

RSS feeds are a standard way of sharing a collection of links – normally articles – with title, excerpt, date, source and few other data points. Because it is a recognized and widely used standard, it is one of the best options for sending content saved onto your boards to other apps and services such as marketing tools, websites, intranet, messaging apps, etc. We’ve written tutorials to guide you when you share your board content to Hubspot blog, Hubspot newsletters or Mailchimp. It’s also a great way to enable your audience to follow news you curate using RSS readers.

Cronycle boards can be published as RSS feeds – it makes one feed per board – where each article, video, tweet and Twitter conversation appears. On Cronycle boards, you can add summaries and tags to your content. Cronycle sends both of these to the RSS feed generated from your board. Story Arcs (groups of content) are also sent to the RSS feed, but recipient apps may struggle to display them. Notes and files from your boards cannot be sent because they do not contain a URL – something required for RSS feed items. 

How to set up your board to make an RSS feed

Cronycle boards are the best place to collect content and share it to your audience. While there are 8 ways to publish from boards, this post focuses specifically on RSS feeds. You may want to first check out these tutorials about how to save and enrich content on your Cronycle boards. You need an Individual (previously Pro) or Enterprise account to publish to RSS feeds. 

From the board you wish to share as an RSS feed, click on the Publish button near the top right. You’ll see a dropdown with several options for publishing, organized into categories. If you already have one or more options enabled, click on “Set up more publishing options” at the bottom. This expands the dropdown to display current setup(s) on the left, and available options to add on the right.

how to make an RSS feed - start the setup from your board
Click on Publish to find RSS feed

An RSS feed is a live feed – meaning it is permanently up to date and always in sync with your board. When something changes on your board, it will be reflected in the RSS feed. 

Follow these steps to set up an RSS feed.

Step 1 – Set content to publish to RSS

Click on “Set up Publishing to RSS” to start the setup wizard.  

In the first step, define what type of content you’ll send to the RSS feed. The default is Editor Approved, which we recommend because it lets you enrich and check your content before it is published. 

Publish curated content as an RSS feed - step 1 - select the content to publish
Choose what content should get published to RSS

The alternative is to publish articles and videos, Tweets, Twitter conversations, and Story Arcs (groups) as soon as they are on your board. The RSS will always be up to date, but be aware that because RSS readers do not fetch updated content automatically, some of your RSS followers may get the first version (e.g., an article without a summary) and never see the summary. The same applies to other apps and services. Content metadata may not be updated. 

That’s why we recommend using editor approval. Remember to approve each piece of content on your board as soon as it is ready. Only then will your board send content to your RSS feed. 

Step 2 – Set the order of content in the RSS

An RSS is a list, organized in a chronological order. We give you two options when you publish to RSS:

  • order by date pinned to your board (default)
  • order by date originally published

In both cases, the newest content is at the top.

Publish curated content as an RSS feed - step 2 - set the order of content (date pinned or originally published first)

Step 3 – Set a password to protect your RSS (optional)

If you are preparing an RSS to send content to other tools and do not want anybody else accessing it, the only safe option is to add a password.

Publish content as an RSS feed - step 3 - option to protect with a password

However, not all tools accepting RSS feeds enable you to enter a password. The only way to know is to try. Complete all the steps in the wizard in Cronycle, and head to the app or service you want to add the RSS to. If the interface there asks for a password, then it will work. If not, it will show an empty or invalid RSS feed.

The password safety level is totally up to you, but we recommend using a new password mixing letters, numbers and special characters – as is always the best practice! You can also choose any username you want. 

If you want your RSS feed to be easily accessible to others, do not set a password.

Step 4 – Review and confirm to start publishing to RSS

At this step, make sure you’ve completed all the setup correctly. You can go back to any previous step at any time, or even close the ongoing setup – Cronycle saves the changes as you make them.

Publish curated content to an RSS feed - step 4 - review and confirm to start publishing

Once you click on Start publishing, you see a confirmation.

Publish relevant content to an RSS feed - confirmation, the RSS feed is now active and the URL is provided

The RSS URL becomes valid and shows content – if and when you have valid content on your board. So remember to add compatible content to the board (online articles, videos, or tweets). And, if you are using editor approval, go to the board to approve items.

At this point, you can copy or share your RSS URL. Each board is provided a unique RSS URL, so if you remove the RSS setup for a particular board and then do it again, you will get the same URL again.

It takes around 5 minutes for new content to appear in the RSS feed. If you use a feed reader, the delay can be longer, because each tool has a different pace for fetching content. For the fastest test and verification, open the RSS URL in your web browser. We recommend you test the RSS before sharing it to your audience. This way you get to see each piece of information sent for each piece of content. It is not a graphical view, but has the benefit of being exhaustive!

Edit, deactivate or delete your setup

To modify any step in your setup, from the board, click again on Publish, then on “edit” in the RSS block. You can go back to any step mentioned above – Cronycle saves changes and they take effect immediately.

Verify your setup to publish content to the RSS feed
Click again on Publish to review and edit current publishing options

You can also deactivate the RSS publishing, but this resets step 3 and onward. This means that the RSS feed is suspended and you’ll need to redo some of the setup to activate it again. No content is sent and opening the RSS URL will show an error. However, content already fetched by other apps and services will most likely remain there.

Once you finish the setup and start publishing again, the same URL becomes valid again and the board sends new content again.

If you do not want to use this setup anymore, you can also delete it. You can do that by clicking on Publishing, then Edit for the RSS option. Next, scroll to the bottom of the panel – the delete option is there. It will stop the RSS URL from being valid and no new content will be sent. Again, most apps and services keep the content that was fetched earlier.

This concludes this tutorial on how to make an RSS feed from curated content using Cronycle. If you need help or a demo, please get in touch!

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