Set up an RSS-to-email blog subscription for an external blog

Last updated: August 7, 2018

Applies to:

Marketing Hub Basic, Professional, Enterprise

Even if you don't host your blog with HubSpot, you can still offer an email-based subscription to your blog using HubSpot. Complete the steps below to set up an RSS email blog subscription for your external blog:

Your contacts manage their subscriptions to all your emails separately. This way, if they decide to unsubscribe from one subscription type, they won't have to unsubscribe from them all. To create a subscription type for your blog subscription emails:

  • In your HubSpot account, click the settings icon settings in the main navigation bar.
  • On the left sidebar menu, navigate to Marketing > Email

Create a custom property

Next, create a custom contact property for your external blog. This will be used in your subscription form, and to manage which of your contacts receive these blog subscription emails. When creating this property, select Single checkbox in the Field type dropdown menu. Then click Create



Create a subscription form for your external website

Next, create a subscription form for these emails that you can embed on your external blog pages so that visitors can easily subscribe.

  • In your HubSpot account, navigate to Marketing > Lead Capture > Forms.
  • Click Create form.
  • Use the search bar under Add form field to find the property you just created, and click the property to add it to your form. You can embed this form on your external blog pages

Create an active list of subscribers

Now that you have a contact property to keep track of subscription status, you can create an active list of your subscribers:

  • Navigate to Contacts Lists and click Create list.
  • Click the pencil icon  at the top left and enter a name for the list, then click the dropdown menu in the upper left and choose Active list
  • Set your list filters to Contact property | select the property you created | is equal to | Yes.   
  • Click Done and then click Save in the upper right-hand corner.

If you already have an existing list of people subscribed to your blog emails, you can import the list of people from a spreadsheet. Be sure to include a column for Email with your contacts' email addresses and a column with a header that matches the property label for your subscription status property. Enter Yes as the value for all rows in the subscription status property column.

Create a new RSS email

Now that you have a subscription list and email type, it's time to start creating the RSS email that will go out to your blog subscribers. The RSS email is simply an email template that you can customize to include the latest items from a particular feed, such as the RSS feed from your blog. You can use any email template that you like for this email, as long as it contains a main email body module.

Click Add an RSS feed to see a sample preview. Here you can add your external RSS feed URL, set the number of posts to feature in each RSS email, and customize the styling of your feed within the Item layout/style text box.

Please note: each send will only include new posts since the prior send of the email, up to the maximum number you've chosen. For example, if you've set a maximum of five posts to display in your RSS email and the next week you only publish three blog posts, the next send of your email will only include those three new posts and will not pull in two posts from the previous week. 

In the Advanced feed options, you can customize the author line and set an image max width for your feed. Make any additional edits to the email as needed and add your from details

Move to the Settings tab and click the Subscription type dropdown menu to select the subscription type you created. Make any other settings changes (web version, campaign, etc.) as needed. Next, click the Recipients tab and select the list you created. 

On the Schedule tab, select your send frequency and the time of day you'd like the email to be sent. If you select Weekly or Monthly, you'll also be asked to select a day of the week or month. 

When you're ready, click Publish in the top right-hand corner. Your RSS email will be sent to your subscribers every day, week, or month (depending on your selection on the Schedule tab) that a new entry has been added since the previous send. 

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