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Use RSS to Feed Expert Curated Content to Mailchimp

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Cronycle makes it easy to share expert, curated content with key audiences and stakeholders without having to juggle multiple tools and platforms. With just a few clicks, you can push authoritative content from your Cronycle boards directly into newsletters, blog posts, emails, social media, and countless other channels.

With Cronycle, you can quickly create an RSS feed from any board and push rich, curated content to MailChimp for use in automated email newsletters. Set it up once (it only takes a few minutes), and update your audiences every month, every week, or every day…with no additional effort on your part!

In this tutorial, you will learn (1) how to create an RSS feed for any Cronycle board and (2) how to use that RSS feed to create automated email newsletters delivered through MailChimp.

Cronycle boards are an easy way to collect rich content ready to share

Cronycle boards are the best place to collect and organize content ready to share with your audiences. Sharing and publishing is practically seamless with Cronycle’s built-in collaboration features and dedicated integrations. You can publish content from Cronycle boards directly to RSS, WordPress, Slack and Microsoft Teams, and social media, not to mention countless other channels using Zapier. 

For more information on our many publishing options, check out our tutorial about the eight ways to publish content from boards.  

RSS feeds created from boards 

As you probably know, RSS is a standard and nearly universal way to share information. With Cronycle, you can create an RSS feed for every board with saved content. The RSS feed will include every saved article, video, tweet, and Twitter conversation, as well as custom summaries and titles added by you. Note: Currently, notes and uploaded files on your boards cannot be sent because they are not associated with a URL.

An RSS feed is a live feed, so it is continuously up to date and in sync with your board. When something changes on your board, it is reflected in the RSS feed. An RSS feed can be used to push information into a variety of applications and channels. You can read instructions about creating RSS feeds from boards in this tutorial. Note: an Individual / Pro or Enterprise account is required to publish to RSS feeds. 

Cronycle board with all the publishing options visible, including RSS to send content to Mailchimp and many other services

Now let’s look at how to create an RSS feed from any Cronycle board.

How to set an RSS feed from any board

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 ways to publish.

Click on RSS Feed, and then click on Set up Publishing to RSS to start the setup wizard.

Step 1 – Set content to publish

You have two options for specifying when content will be sent to the RSS feed: 

  • Option 1 – Send once content is editor approved (default). We recommend this option because it lets you review and enrich your content before it is published. By choosing this option, you can ensure that you send exactly the content you want, when you want to send it. You can also ensure that content isn’t sent until desired summaries and notes are added.
  • Option 2 – Send as soon as content is saved on board. If you choose this option, each time you save a piece of content to the board, it will be sent immediately and automatically to the RSS feed. While automation and timeliness are benefits, keep in mind that you may miss the opportunity to include summaries and tags. Please keep in mind that while the RSS feeds are continuously updated, RSS readers on the other hand, do not fetch updated content automatically, so if you add a summary or tag later on, those additions will not be included with content that was sent to the RSS feed earlier. 
Panel to publish a Cronycle board as RSS, with first step visible - content filter

Step 2 – Set order of content 

Next, set the order in which you want content to be sent: 

  • Option 1 – By date pinned to your board (default) 
  • Option 2 – By date originally published 

Note that regardless of which option you choose, content in the RSS feed will be listed chronologically with the newest content always listed first. 

Panel to publish a Cronycle board as RSS, with second step visible - order of content

Step 3 – Don’t protect access with password

At this time, Mailchimp does not support password protection for RSS, so you must keep the answer as: No.

Panel to publish a Cronycle board as RSS, with third step visible - no password

Step 4 – Review & confirm

Review your selections, and if you are satisfied with the setup, click Start publishing. You’ll see a confirmation message and the URL of your RSS feed will be displayed. Success! 

Panel to publish a Cronycle board as RSS, with fourth step visible - review and confirm

At this point, you will want to copy the RSS URL. Remember, each board has a unique RSS URL. It can take about five minutes for new content to appear in the RSS feed (and maybe a bit longer if you use an RSS reader), so be patient, and consider testing the URL link in Chrome or Edge first to ensure content is appearing in the feed. 

With the live RSS URL for your board, you are now ready to set up automated emails in Mailchimp. Here’s how you do it.

Feed your Mailchimp email newsletters with expert curated content from Cronycle

You need to have a Mailchimp account set up, and ideally you will have already created a template and an audience..

Steps to follow:

  • Go to https://mailchimp.com/features/rss-to-email/ and click on Set Up RSS-to-Email in the yellow banner to get started. If you are not logged in, you’ll be asked to do so first.
  • In the Share blog updates box that is immediately displayed, enter a campaign name in the first box, and then use the drop-down to select the audience. You’ll be able to further refine the recipients later on.
Mailchimp interface - start an RSS campaign
  • Fill in the RSS URL you copied from Cronycle, and specify when and how often the email should be sent.
Mailchimp interface - add URL & pace for an RSS campaign
  • Refine the recipients. You can refine your audience and limit it to specific segments, tags, or groups. Remember to set which segment / tag / group in the dropdown menu. We recommend you first test the email with just you as the audience (for example using a test tag). 
Mailchimp interface - define audience for the RSS email campaign
  • Set the fields visible to your audience, in particular the email subject, preview text, sender name and email address.
Mailchimp interface - set the email newsletter preferences for curated content sent with Mailchimp
  • Select a template, either from the generic layouts (you can modify in the next step), or even better, from one of your saved templates.
Mailchimp interface - chose a template for the curated content newsletter
  • You’re nearly done! Now, finalize the email design with header, text, any blocks you want and – most importantly – the RSS items block. Drop it in the desired place once in the editor. You will probably want to edit how the information is shown (by default, the word “Excerpt” appears). To edit, click on Excerpts in the right panel and select one of the preset options like Full Content or Custom. If you don’t want the Tweet button or recent items to display, remember to remove them. 
Mailchimp interface - adjust the design and add RSS items to the curated content newsletter
Mailchimp interface - edit the RSS items
  • Confirm to activate the RSS to email campaign. 
  • Important: Remember to add and/or editor approve content on your Cronycle board. If you add your own summary or title, remember to do that before editor approving. What you add/approve will appear in the next email.

Your audience will now receive new content from Cronycle at the times you have selected. From there, Mailchimp allows you to track readership and manage your subscribers in one place so you can analyze engagement and make changes to the content you send as needed, improving your results over time.

You can view more detailed instructions about this process from MailChimp. You may also want to learn more about RSS Items blocks and RSS Header blocks in MailChimp, as well as all available content block types.

Delivering unique, timely, and relevant content is key to driving audience engagement and growth. The ability to execute automated email newsletter with a single setup and scheduling of emails using RSS from your Cronycle boards is a major time-saver. With Cronycle and MailChimp, you have an effective and efficient way to continuously engage your audiences with fresh, authoritative insights that inspire action.

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