Introducing One-Click Content

We’re lucky enough to get a constant stream of feedback and feature requests from customers. We record every little piece of it, and this forms a crucial part of how we decide what features to add next to Campaign Monitor.

When we made the call to offer some kind of RSS to Email support, we sat down to review the hundreds of requests, some going back years. Personally, I was expecting everyone to ask for the traditional RSS to Email functionality—you update your site or blog, we send that new content to your subscribers on a recurring basis. To my surprise, this only accounted for around half of the votes. Of course, we still built this feature, which we announced a few days back. It turns out the other half were looking for something else.

Instead of automatically sending your content, many of you wanted an easy way to get that content into your existing newsletters. Nobody likes writing something twice. Maybe you want to include specific blog posts, or it’s secondary content like a sidebar of upcoming events you’ll be hosting. The important thing is, that content exists somewhere else and you want to use it in a campaign.

If that’s you, you’re going to love One-Click Content. Here’s a quick video of it in action…

How it works

If you caught our recurring RSS announcement last week, you would have seen that we’ve added a new kind of repeater to our template language. Known as a datarepeater, it lets you reference an external RSS feed and then display the content any way you see fit.

The cool part is, you can actually add datarepeater’s to any regular email templates too. Just point the datarepeater to your blog or RSS feed, design how you want the content to appear in the email, and with a single click your content is imported into your campaign and ready to send. You can even have multiple datarepeater and regular repeater tags in a single template.

Let’s say, for example, that you publish a blog called Signal vs. Noise. You occasionally send a newsletter, and would like to include some of your blog content in each issue. Just add the following code to your template…

<datarepeater type="rss" src="http://www.37signals.com/svn/">
    <rsstitle/>
    By <rssauthor/>
    <rssbody paragraphs="1"></rssbody>
    <rssitemlink>Read more...</rssitemlink>
</datarepeater>

In this code we’re referencing our blog with the src attribute, and then displaying the title of each post, plus the author and the first paragraph of the post itself, followed by a “Read more” link that points to the full post on our site. There are lots of other content options, such as images, enclosures, dates, comments and more, which are all covered in our lovely new documentation. You can even use alternating designs for each item in the feed via our layout tag.

What you’ll see in the editor

Whenever you create a regular campaign and select this template, you’ll see this nice blank slate in the editor. You can click the image for a larger version.

image

Click, Choose, Send

Clicking the the “Load posts” button will show the most recent posts from this RSS feed in the sidebar of the editor. You can also see an instant preview of how this content looks in my campaign.

image

You can then choose exactly which posts I’d like included, click “Done” and my campaign is good to go. Because of the ubiquity of RSS, there are so many ways you can use this feature. Here are a just a few quick examples of the sort of content you might want to automatically import:

  • The last 4 posts from your blog
  • Your upcoming events on Eventbrite
  • Your 5 most recent tweets

Getting started is easy, and we’ve put together a sample template to help you get started even faster.

imageView the RSS template language and download a sample template

Leave your options open

If you’re using One-Click Content for a client, we recommend making it crazy simple by specifying the address of their site or RSS feed in the datarepeater tag. As I mentioned earlier, you do this via the src attribute, for example:

<datarepeater type="rss" src="http://www.client.com/rss">

If you’d prefer to leave options open for yourself, or a more savvy client, you can leave out the optional src attribute. If you leave it blank, we’ll let you choose an RSS feed right there in the editor. Here’s the code:

<datarepeater type="rss">

Because an src hasn’t been provided, clicking on the “Load posts” button will let you enter the web site or RSS feed you’d like the content to come from:

image

As soon as you enter the web site, we’ll grab the feed contents and let you select what you’d like included. Again, click the image for a larger version.

image

We’re also working hard on supporting other data formats on top of RSS to open even more possibilities for importing your content into your campaigns. We’ve got big plans, and more details on this will be coming soon.

Posted by David Greiner

37 Comments

  • Jon Livingston
    6th March

    Brilliant! Can’t wait to use this!

  • Seth Giammanco
    6th March

    This is great stuff and really excited about the following:

    “We’re also working hard on supporting other data formats on top of RSS to open even more possibilities for importing your content into your campaigns.”

    Please offer us some JSON goodness.

  • David Greiner
    6th March

    Thanks @Jon, love to hear what you think of it once you dig in.

    @Seth, JSON support is definitely on the list. I’ll share all the juicy details here when it’s available.

  • Yongho Kim
    6th March

    WOW! I do remember the tireless hours when I was working on putting stuff on our Google Calendar public feed, our blog, and then start working on the newsletter, when something had to be changed (e.g. event time) and the change needed to be everywhere.. hair pulling. This will save me 30%+ of my overall content production time!

  • David
    7th March

    RSS to email was cool, this is off the charts… can’t wait to try it out.

  • Rhys
    7th March

    Nice work. This will provide a great option for clients on PAYG who can’t benefit from the RSS to email function.

    Cheers.

  • Mike
    7th March

    Beautiful

  • Phil
    7th March

    I’ve just finished implementing an rss to email campaign and now can’t wait to get to stuck into this new functionality. Looks great!

  • Jason
    7th March

    Wow. amazing update. Muchos kudos!

  • Marcus
    7th March

    The best just got better!

  • Lena
    7th March

    SQUEEE!!!

  • Stefano
    7th March

    Can we use two (or more) <datarepeater> tag with different src= attributes in the same template?

  • Dylan
    7th March

    Best update yet!

  • Ced Funches
    7th March

    This is simply amazing. As a one-man show its features like this that keep me with CM!!!! Awesome!

  • JB
    7th March

    When will the template builder be updated with this?

  • Gavin Botica
    7th March

    Wow. Just - awesome.

  • Justin
    7th March

    Love this feature!
    Side-Question. What’s the name of the song used in the video??

  • Chris
    7th March

    Cool.  Although I almost got really excited - thought it was email notification on signup,  which you can currently see via RSS.  Still hanging out for that one.

  • David Greiner
    7th March

    Thanks for the brilliant feedback so far everyone, what a way to start the day!

    @Stefano: Yes, you can use as many <datarepeater> tags as you like, all with different or no URL’s. You can even mix them in with regular <repeater> tags too.

    @JB: We defintiely have plans to make it easy to build these kinds of templates with the template builder, but right now it’s available for custom templates only.

    @Justin, the song is called Animalia by Voltaire Twins, a great Australian band. We licensed their tune for a few of our recent demo videos.

  • Jason
    7th March

    Is there a way to add this in using your template builder?

  • Jason
    7th March

    Oh sorry - that’s already been answered.

    Ooops…

  • chris
    7th March

    Wow…what else can I say. Another awesome feature to offer my clients that blows away the other email campaign platforms.

  • Ben Stockdale
    7th March

    WoW!

    Will there be a way to reorder content like regular content?

    The order content gets published isn’t by default the order most want it in the newsletter I’d imagine.

  • David Greiner
    7th March

    @Ben, glad you like it! Right now we’ve stuck with choosing the content you want included, but we definitely have plans for re-ordering, and even potentially tweaking the content before sending. This is the first step of many for this section of the app.

  • David T
    7th March

    This will make getting our newsletter out on time since I currently post to the web, then link the excerpt to the site in the newsletter, this is magic! Looking forward to the template builder using this feature, but building a custom template works for now.

    Thanks CM!

  • Mary
    7th March

    Cool! Can’t wait to try it out.

    BTW, nice background music, what is the name of the song? :-)

  • Kaelig
    8th March

    Do you read our minds? Where is the video camera hidden?

    Seriously guys, every time we need a new feature for client work, you come up with something right on schedule!

    Awesome.

  • Serg
    8th March

    Love this new RSS2email feature! Now I need to think what can I do to convince my client to use it ( and forget about cc).
    Great job guys!

  • Mika Tuupola
    9th March

    Cool. Could you next enable sending autoresponders to segments. Managing multilanguage autoresponders is pain at the moment. Have to export segment and then import as separate list to be able to send autoresponder in different languages. Has been on my wishlist since autoresponders were introduced.

  • Nick Watson
    9th March

    Great news! Is it possible to use in conjunction with other tags, for example:

    <datarepeater type=“rss” src=“http://www.client.com/rss?email=[email]”>

    Thanks :)

  • Rosalie
    9th March

    What happens when you have multiple rss feeds for a site? I have a site that gives people location-based information and have an rss feed for each state. Is there a way to choose one particular rss feed to populate a newsletter?

  • Chris
    10th March

    Is there a possibility for you guys to add support for displaying every image from the feed? It would be perfect if it would grab all the images and not just the first.

  • David
    10th March

    Very cool! I was just playing with it on a test template, really slick.

    I ran into an interesting edge case using a Wordpress Feed with inline images in the first paragraph, and I wasn’t using the <rssimage> tag. It errored out on pulling the images in and wouldn’t display anything in the datarepeater in my Preview. This was specific to my feed, I tried others that worked as expected. I’m guessing it had to due with the XML format Wordpress was outputting for the feed.

    Send some info to help@ on my edge case.

  • Ralphj
    13th March

    Very, very clever.

    Great sell on for clients (oh,and for us to use too!)

    Thanks!

  • Ivo Hermans
    13th March

    Nice! Is it possible to edit posts in the newsletter after importing it?

  • David Greiner
    13th March

    @Ivo, right now you can choose the posts you’d like to include, but not make changes to the content. This is definitely something we plan on adding down the road, but we wanted to get this into customer’s hands as quick as possible. I’ll add a vote for this for you now.

  • Oliver WebMatros
    2nd April

    I would really prefer a descriptive voice-over than the horrible music.

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