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
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
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.