How to set up an RSS-to-Email Blog subscription for an external blog

Last updated: July 27, 2016

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Product: HubSpot Marketing
Subscription: 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.
If you are hosting your blog on the HubSpot COS, you can configure your blog subscription emails following these instructions.

Instructions

Follow these steps to set up an email blog subscription for your external blog.

Navigate to your Email Types

From your HubSpot Dashboard, navigate to Content > Content Settings.

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From the left side menu, click Email. A submenu will show up under Email; click Email Types.

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Create an email type for your blog subscription emails

You'll need to create an email type for your blog subscription emails. This will allow your subscribers to manage their subscriptions to all of your regularly scheduled emails separately and if they decide to unsubscribe from one type of email, they won't have to unsubscribe from them all.

Under Email Types, add a name and description for your new email type, then click Save changes

Create a custom contact property for the external blog email subscription status

Next, you'll need to create a custom contact property. This will help you manage which of your contacts should receive these blog subscription emails. 

You'll want to navigate to Contacts > Contacts Settings, then click the blue button to Create new property.

From this window, fill out your Label and ensure that your Field type is set to Single checkbox. Click Save property.

Create a smart list of the contacts that would be subscribed to these emails

Now that you have a contact property to keep track of subscription status, you can create a smart list that looks for contacts that have this new contact property set to "yes." Even if none of your contacts have this contact property set to "yes" yet, the smart list will automatically populate as these contacts emerge.

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 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.

Edit the RSS email

Edit the RSS email so that it:

  • Is personalized to your business using a From Name and Email Address of your company Edited in Email Details.
  • Uses the correct RSS feed set in Settings under Email Type. 
  • Is set to go out to subscribers from your Subscription list in Recipients.
  • Sends on a regular basis which can be adjusted in the Schedule tab
  • Click into the body of the email to add your external RSS feed URL and to customize the styling.
  • Choose the maximum posts to display. Only new posts published since the previous send will be sent in the next send, up to this maximum number.
  • Within Advanced feed options, customize the author line and set the width of images within the feed.

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Create a subscription form for your external website

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

Make sure to add the External Blog Subscription property to your form > select the pencil icon to edit the property > check the box next to Make field hidden and Selected by Default. This will ensure any user that fills out this blog subscription form will automatically have the external blog subscription property checked to "yes."

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For more information on creating a form that will be embedded on an external page, take a look at this Forms User Guide article

Replace your old blog email subscription form with your HubSpot form

Go to the editing interface of your external blog and modify your blog template to include the new HubSpot form that you created and copied the embed code for. This process will vary based on what system you use for your blog.

If you are using the Wordpress plugin, you may see a Wordpress widget called HubSpot: Subscription form. This widget has been deprecated and will not work with the RSS email feature. You will want to paste your HubSpot form embed your code in an plain text Wordpress widget or into one of your theme files.

Import your existing blog subscribers so that they will continue to receive these emails

You may already have an existing list of people subscribed to your blog emails. If you save that list of people as a CSV spreadsheet, with a column for their email address and a column for their subscription status, you can import them into HubSpot and have them continue their subscription uninterrupted.

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