Telling the world about your new website content

Sometimes I come across things which I wrongly suspected most people knew how to do. One of these was sending out emails whenever something’s added to a company website. Millions of people have been doing this for years, without much thought. However, it seems that for others, it can still be quite a revelation. So here goes.

As it happens, this is exactly the system we use to send out our daily email (i.e. this, if the email is what you’re reading). We just publish the article on the website, and every morning our emailing system looks for a new article. If it finds one, it gets emailed out to everyone. The article could have been added to the website at any time in the preceding 24 hours.

To do something similar, you need two things. The first is an emailing system with ‘RSS-to-email’ capability. The second is a website which generates an RSS feed (if yours is under the control of a content management system, you’ll probably already have this).

Most websites’ RSS feeds end in something like /feed/ or .XML. Your site may produce a whole series of feeds, for different sections. This could be just what you need if you wanted only to include (and mail out) additions to your blog section, or even a category within a section, such as case studies. Whoever set up your website will know.

Once you’ve located – or set up – the RSS feed, take a look at it to confirm that it contains the items you want. The code might look a bit horrid (below), but you’ll be able to spot the items.

RSS-Feed

The emailing system which I use is Mailchimp, but others are available, as they say. This has free plans, and starts to charge if you want full customisation and have much larger lists. You can begin without paying anything though.

Create your mailing list, and add just your own email address, so that you’re the only recipient. Create your ‘RSS-to-email’ campaign; systems such as Mailchimp have loads of easily-customised templates for the email. Point the campaign towards your RSS feed, and specify a mailing time.

If you only add items to your website occasionally, it might take weeks before you’re happy that everything’s working well. But once it is, you can expand your email list from the circulation of one person, to the desired distribution. This might be internal staff, worldwide distributors, or most likely, anyone (e.g. prospects or customers) who wants to sign up. If it’s the latter, you’ll want to add a signup form on your website, which is easy enough with most emailing systems.

Keeping staff or distributors informed of what’s been added to your website is often neglected. If you’re going to the effort of writing new blog posts, news items or case studies, the least you should be doing is to inform everyone within the organisation. An ‘RSS-to-email’ system is a hands-free (and cost-free) way to do it.

(As ever, if you’re a BMON client and want help with this sort of thing, just ask. We never charge!)

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