RSS isn’t new, it’s been around since the 1990’s but it’s massively undervalued and can help you transform the way you communicate with your audience
One of the main reasons it fell out of favour was that it didn’t serve the purposes of the large media platforms wanting to control your digital journey. RSS gives YOU too much control. It means you don’t have to visit websites to get your latest updates which, despite being incredibly convenient to you, doesn't generate advertising $$$ for the platform.
But it’s not just about consuming content. RSS is a powerful way to collect and share your own content, whether created or curated.
This article provides some background into RSS and gets into the many ways you can use and benefit from RSS feeds today, in particular automating your content sharing through RSS-to-Email newsletters.
So here’s a really quick overview of what you’re going to find on this page:
RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is an internet standard developed to provide computer-readable updates about changes to web page content.
To avoid having to frequently check your favourite sites for new content, RSS provides the ability for site users to subscribe and be notified of new content when it is published by the author.
RSS is a popular way for sites to share content with viewers and RSS feeds can be read by aggregators and other services, like FlipRSS.
It was created in 1999 back when we were using Netscape and AOL but fell out of flavour when big corporate wanted to control your journey and content experiences. However, it has never gone away and is making somewhat of a revival. If you know, you know.
RSS feeds put you in control of your content, rather than having it locked within a platform or website it makes the content portable, easily shared and easily followed.
There are many uses for RSS feeds, not least of which is the syndication of content, or sharing of content. RSS feeds offer a simple and effective tool for subscribing to content, often through an RSS feed reader like Feedly.
Another use for RSS feeds is to create automated email newsletters in the form of RSS-to-email newsletter which we’ll explain more about below.
Nearly 30% of websites are estimated to be run on Wordpress so this is a good place to start. Wordpress has RSS feeds baked in so finding them is much easier.
Another option is to view the source code of the website you want to find an RSS feed for.
For example — maybe you work for Hubspot and you want to give subscribers the option of specifying the marketing category of blog posts. To find the RSS feed, visit the main page for the marketing posts. Now view the source code for that page. All browsers have a different way of viewing the page source — take a quick look at this guide from Neil Patel if you don’t know how to view a website page's source code.
Open the browsers Find function (
⌘-F on a Mac,
Ctrl-F on a PC) and search for the term RSS.
You can see on the Hubspot page it highlights the line below.
<link rel=”alternate” type=”application/rss+xml” href=“https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/rss.xml”>
The RSS Feed URL for the Marketing category of their website is
If you know the CRM of the website it’s worth looking into their help section as they probably detail how to format and find RSS feeds for content.
It may be that the site does not have an RSS Feed. In which case you can create them using a service like Fetch RSS. We have no affiliation with Fetch and haven’t used their service for our own content.
Many platforms and websites will have RSS feeds with built in, or there will be a service that creates feeds from their content. A bit of searching will help you identify how to create RSS feeds for sites like YouTube, Twitter and Instagram
Sometimes you want to mix content from different sources in a single feed. Maybe you want to curate content from around the web. This might be around a specific subject or topic or to capture press cuttings or media coverage, perhaps to track competitor activity. Whatever the reason, it is super simple to curate your own custom RSS feeds. SnipRSS is a browser extension for Chrome and Safari on iOS that lets you grab content as you browse the web and save into your own RSS feed.
You can then use this curated RSS feed for whatever you need. You can use it as a ‘save-for-later’ list, to automate newsletters (see below!), to share with colleagues, friends, family or clients. Custom RSS feeds give you the full flexibility and portability of RSS coupled with the curation and edit-ability of a website. You could even automate your social posting from these feeds!
Here are a few ways you can use custom RSS feeds to simply collect and share content online:
RSS-to-Email is simply a way of automatically generating the content of a newsletter using one or more RSS feeds. The email service searches the RSS feed for new posts or content and displays them within the newsletter. Once set up and scheduled the newsletter can effectively run itself, sending new content to subscribers on a regular basis.
There are two key reasons to use RSS-to-Email:
Putting together a newsletter can be a time consuming business. Often, you just want to link to content you’ve already invested time and effort into producing, whether it’s a video, infographic or article. Using RSS feeds can automate this entire process, leaving you free to focus on content creation or curation rather than designing and populating newsletters.
Even if you’re only automating a single RSS feed in your email, it can provide customer with an easy and convenient way to stay informed and up-to-date with your content without having to frequently check back into your website. Through a simple email subscription they can have latest posts sent to them at a frequency you choose.
Where this gets really valuable to a subscriber is when you’re offering multiple RSS feeds in an email newsletter. If you have a number of different topics, channels or sources all with their own RSS feeds, you can give your subscribers the choice of what content they receive. This level of content personalisation rewards both you as the content provider and the subscriber. You get a more engaged subscriber list with higher open and click rates, and your subscribers get just the content they are interested in. Automating multiple RSS feeds in emails also saves an unimaginable amount of time. It just wouldn’t be feasible to personalise newsletter content manually and achieve anywhere near this level of subscriber personalisation.
Most modern and larger ESPs support RSS-to-Email campaigns. They often have good help guides to show how to set up RSS-to-Email campaigns on their specific platform. A few popular ESPs offering RSS-to-Email newsletters include:
Mailchimp is one of the most popular Email Service Providers and has offered RSS-to-Email for a long time. Here’s a useful video for getting started with RSS and Mailchimp. (If you want to automate multiple RSS feeds in your email campaigns, Mailchimp is the only ESP that FlipRSS integrates with.
Another very popular email tool is Campaign Monitor. In their words, Campaign Monitor is a global technology company that provides an email marketing platform that’s easy to use yet extremely powerful.
Active Campaign overs a wide feature-set and an automation first approach to email marketing. In their words, ActiveCampaign was built to give growing businesses the tools they need to compete with even much larger companies.
ConvertKit is developed for creators and in their words, ConvertKit is the go-to marketing hub for creators that helps you grow and monetize your audience with ease.
Mailerlite is a solution born out of agency life. In their words, We’re big believers in the power of keeping it simple. No unnecessary features or complicated processes. We are 100% focused on building something our customers need and love to use.
Send in Blue is a European ESP who, in their words, tailors its all-in-one suite to suit the marketing needs of growing SMBs in tough markets. Watch their explainer video
Aweber are a long established company on a mission to deliver powerfully-simple email marketing software for small businesses that does 90% of the work for you.
Most of these services only enable you to automate a single RSS feed in an email campaign. This misses out on a hugely powerful opportunity that automating multiple feeds enables - personalisation. To find out how powerful this can be, and how to automate multiple RSS feed newsletters, continue reading below.
Multiple RSS-to-Email campaigns do exactly the same as standard RSS-to-Email campaigns except, as the name suggests, you can include more than one RSS feed in a single email newsletter.
This can be useful if you have multiple content streams you want to include in your subscriber communications. It may be content from different channels and sources or just different categories on a blog.
As with most things, there are multiple ways of doing this with varying results. You can merge RSS feeds into a single feed and automate that, you can automate multiple RSS feeds and schedule or you can automate multiple RSS feeds and give your subscribers the choice of what they receive. More details on each of these options is outlined below.
So this is the simplest and most basic way to get around this. You simply merge RSS feeds together into one and use the new combined RSS feed to run your campaigns. Your subscribers get all of your content in a single email newsletter.
But what if some feeds aren’t relevant to all subscribers, or, and this is the really powerful bit, you want to give your subscribers the choice of content they wish to receive?
That’s where FlipRSS comes in. FlipRSS is a tool that connects to Mailchimp to enable multiple feeds to be automatically included in individual subscriber emails based on their specific preferences.
The main benefit of this option is simplicity. You merge your feeds, check our some tools for this here, into a single RSS feed. These tools will give you a new RSS feed URL that contains all of the posts from the feeds you’ve now merged. Simply use this in your automated Email campaigns.
The main downside to this options is control. Your subscribers receive all of the content and you have no way to isolate feeds or style feeds or posts differently.
Linking FlipRSS with your Mailchimp account lets you fully automate your email newsletter process whilst giving your subscribers full control over the content they receive. More targeted content = Higher engagement = Increased subscriber satisfaction.
Getting started with a Multiple RSS-to-Email campaign is easy thanks to FlipRSS’s tight integration with Mailchimp. As a Mailchimp Partner FlipRSS is able to make your set up as simple as possible using a familiar interface and layout.
To set up your first automated multiple RSS-to-Email campaign with FlipRSS and MailChimp it takes just a few steps that can be completed in a matter of minutes, outlined below. Once set up, this campaign will run automatically and send your subscribers personalised content based on their preferences.
And that is it - once these steps are complete you will have a newsletter powered by multiple RSS feeds running on the schedule you set. Nothing more for you to do and your subscribers will get exactly the content they’ve requested.
When you add a feed to your FlipRSS campaign you get a number of options, one of which is who the feed should be sent to. You can choose to have the feed displayed to all subscribers or you can choose a specific Group from your Mailchimp Audience using the drop down list.
For more information on how to set up and use Groups within Mailchimp, see their great step-by-step support guide.
The Groups will need to be set up within Mailchimp first for them to appear in your FlipRSS account.
You can display Groups on your sign up form so your subscribers can select which content they want to receive. As they sign up, they will be added to the Groups they select. When FlipRSS instructs Mailchimp to send out a newsletter, they will receive only the content from the Groups they have selected - so in effect multiple, self-selected RSS feeds.
No, not at all. RSS is created by platforms or websites and are shared via a URL. So all you will need is a link to a valid RSS feed. You paste that link into FlipRSS and we do all the hard work. It’s the same with RSS readers - you just paste in the link and they are able to extract and style the content to make it readable to you.
As mentioned at the very start of the article, RSS feeds are an extremely convenient way to stay up to date with your favourite websites. By adding the feeds you want to follow into an RSS feed reader, you can collect all your favourite content in one place. With a service like Feedly, it is easy to follow your favourite sites, find new related content and stay on top of a much larger volume of sources than would be possible otherwise.
FlipRSS saves content creators and publishers time.
FlipRSS integrates with Mailchimp to automate multiple RSS feeds in email newsletters. Using advanced segmentation, FlipRSS enables your subscribers to select the content they wish to receive enabling the automated delivery of personalised content. FlipRSS clients are seeing big immediate increases in open rate, click-through-rate, and subscriber satisfaction.
Once set up, newsletters are created, customised and scheduled automatically. Sit back, watch your email stats outperform your competitors and focus on creating great content.
We’re a small team. Small enough to really care. We care about the quality of the product we produce, we care about the experience of every customer we have the privilege of working with and we care about our impact. We’re here to do a great job of supporting, delighting and connecting you and your subscribers.
We’ll help you get set up, so get in touch.
Try FlipRSS here (30 days free, no credit card required).
Finding great content is hard and it's even harder finding it already in a RSS feed.
If you love uncovering fascinating, inspiring, captivating content and sharing with like minded folk, or just capturing it for when inspiration strikes, SnipRSS helps you capture and organise content as you browse, storing it in portable, sharable RSS Feeds.