Automatically Email New Blog Posts, Videos, or Podcasts With Convertkit

Screencast (30m). Build an RSS automation in Convertkit, with two advanced tricks. Add custom sharing links so readers share your posts more, then add a custom unsubscribe link so people can opt-out without leaving your list altogether. Assumes a blog, podcast, or Youtube; and a Convertkit account.

Watch the replay

Full members access the rest of this page



[00:00:00] I'm going to show you how to automatically send out to your email list all of the blog posts that you publish to your website automatically. And I'm going to show you a few other tricks to make that even better. Namely, I'm going to show you how to include in the email automatically, sharing links that will not only let people share it to Twitter or Reddit or wherever, hacker news, Facebook, but it's also going to, pre-populate the links such that when someone reading your email wants to share it on a social network, wants to share it on a social network, they click share to Twitter. It's going to pre-populate the tweet with the right text and the link, or if they say shared or Reddit, the Reddit submission form is going to already be prepopulated with the title of the blog post and the link and so on.  So that's the first little and advanced trick I'm going to show you on this.

[00:00:59] The second one is going to be custom unsubscribe links in the email so that if people don't like getting all these blog posts, maybe they feel overwhelmed or it's just more than they want, then they can opt out of those emails from the blog posts but while remaining on your list, and this is really useful because maybe some people don't want your blog posts, but they do want to hear from you periodically.

[00:01:22] They just don't want that much volume. So you want to give them the option to opt out of the high volume blog posts. But still hear about things from you periodically. If you don't have that, then if someone is annoyed by the blog post, they might just unsubscribe forever and you lose contact with them.

[00:01:36] So it's a bit of an advanced hack. It's a little confusing. It's very simple. If I just walk you through it.  So we're going to do all that now. So the only thing I'm assuming is you have a blog already set up and you know how to do all that, and you have a ConvertKit account.

Create a new RSS Automation in Convertkit

[00:01:50] So just log into ConvertKit.

[00:01:53] And it will look like this. All you need to do is go up to automations and then navigate down here to RSS to create a new RSS automation. See, I have a few, but we're going to start from scratch. So you'll have none. Just go ahead and click the button, add feed. And all we need to do is first give ConvertKit the URL of your blogs, RSS feed.

[00:02:18] So if you're using a WordPress blog, it's always going to be. The domain then forward slash feed. So just to stick with the example I've been using, you have to use the HTTPS or it'll throw an error. My new WordPress based my demo site Ford slash feed, and it will automatically pull in the test data of the most recent post.

[00:02:45] Go ahead and save that. And now if you go to preview, boom. It should populate with the actual content of your last blog post. But we're jumping ahead. So the way this works is that ConvertKit uses what are called liquid tags. You see these terms with the curly brackets on the left and the right.

[00:03:09] That's just a liquid tag. You don't really need to know the details, but really it's, like a variable, it's just a way to refer back to metadata within each of the blog posts. So if you want to customize the subject line, you can, by default, it's going to prepopulate the email subject line with the title, the blog posts.

[00:03:27] That's what this liquid variable does. That's pretty smart default. Sometimes you see people will do things like add a little note, so people know where it's coming from. so for me, it might be based books that way people. We'll know that it's not just a random person and you can build some mental connections, so people associate it with a certain account. I've seen that before. I've also seen people do things like Justin's blog and then, just little ways of customizing it. I don't think it makes a big difference, so you can do as you like. And so down here is where you can get a little creative though, because you can change when people see.

[00:04:13] So I think these are all decent defaults, but what I would recommend is the following. First of all, I don't think you need to worry about the public. I think it's just best to focus on the content in my view, but you can do whatever you want. for this here, you can click this question Mark, to see all the variables.

[00:04:33] I think generally you want to give them the full content of the blog post in the email. You don't want to have to make them click. You want to always just be delivering as much value as possible, as quickly and easily to people without making them jump through hoops. You want them to like getting the emails?

[00:04:49] You don't want to make them leave the email? I think anyway, that's my, strategy anyway. So I would suggest you use this one, or other this one's some content or summary. And that's going to default to giving them the whole output of the blog post. Let's go ahead and copy that and then replace this post summary.

[00:05:12] And I would also suggest you remove this because you don't need it. If they really want to click through to the blog post, they can click on the post title, which as you'll see here, it's a link, right? It's already populated. So this liquid tag just means insert the URL of the original blog post.

[00:05:33] So I think that is all a pretty reasonable setup. All they're going to see is the post title with the link and then the content of it. So let's do a preview. That's the whole body of the post. If it's longer than the email will be longer, I think that's, Perhaps the best way to do it.

Add optimized sharing links

[00:05:52] Now, I want to show you a few hacks that can really supercharge this method.

[00:05:58] One is to add sharing links automatically. And on this, my suggestion is you should ask your readers to do you the favor. At least that's what I do. And it seems to work. I've had good results with this. So I would just say something like, if you liked this, could you do me a favor and share it? I don't think it's too much to ask.

[00:06:20] It's polite. It's not pushy. And it's a human touch, And it's a reasonable also to If they liked it, then why not share it. So here's where I'm going to show you some tricks. You might not already know. So we're going to give it a whole bunch of options and then we're going to make it super easy for people to share because we're going to, pre-populate the content that they share on the social networks.

[00:06:47] This has all been in the show notes. So you can go ahead and get this text.

Text and URLs for custom sharing links (paste in RSS Automation template)


Share to Twitter ↗
Share to Reddit ↗
Share to Hacker News ↗
Share to LinkedIn ↗
Share to Facebook ↗
View in browser ↗


If you just want to copy and paste it like me, I might recommend to you that you maybe use different emojis. I use upward to the right arrow. You may be go get a different one. So you have a unique style, but yeah, something like this, I think is basic simple and it works quite well.

[00:07:06] So what we're going to do is we're going to give each one of these, a custom link that has the liquid variables populated in it. Again, all this text will be in the show notes. So you can just go ahead and grab it. Let's start with the Twitter. So what you need to do is just select it, all, click this button to make it a link, and then use the texts that I gave you to add the following link.

[00:07:35] You should change 'jmrphy' to your Twitter handle. So it will tag you whenever someone uses this, by the way, is how I know that this method works because. As soon as I instituted these sharing links in the bottom of my emails, I started actually seeing on Twitter. People were sharing my posts, whereas before they weren't.

[00:07:51] So go ahead and change that to your, username on Twitter, but you can leave all the rest of the same and go ahead and add a link and then just go on down the line of the custom URL that I gave you and just add them.

[00:08:13] It should be obvious, which one is which, hacker news is Y Combinator. Okay.

[00:08:27] The only one you need to customize is the Twitter one, because that has a reference to your account. The other ones you can copy and paste verbatim. From what I gave you. And then finally, the view in browser one, that's just going to be the liquid tag for the, blog post URL, post URL. Boom. So arguably, you could even remove this link. If it were me, frankly, I think I would, because again, I'm trying to train my email subscribers to like their emails and see the email as the main source of the content. it's up to you, you can do whatever you want, but I'm even going to go ahead and delete this link.

[00:09:16] That's what I do on my system. And I like that. So it really sends the message that, emails where they want to be. And now when they share through any of these links, it's not going to share the email. It's going to share the original blog post on the web, right? So that's just a nice little hack.

[00:09:34] It makes it super easy for them to share. And you also get some evidence on it, on Twitter about whether or not people are sharing it. at least a somewhat representative sample of whether or not people are sharing. Of course, maybe people are sharing more on the other links who knows, but it's nice to get that notification sometimes to see that it's working.

[00:09:54] Click save.  Another decision that you're going to have to make is, do you want these to send automatically or do you want to check them first and send them out manually? I think if you get it right, you want to do automatically. It's just so much better to not have to worry about it.

Make a custom template

[00:10:10] And now what we need to do is we need to make a custom template to use with these emails that get sent out.

[00:10:22] And one of the main reasons we want to do this is so that we can include in the custom template, a custom unsubscribe link that will allow people to opt out of the blog posts, but remain on your list for less frequent updates. Maybe the blog posts are just too much for them. We don't want to lose those people from the list altogether, simply because the blog posts are a bit more than they prefer to receive.

[00:10:46] So just go up to the top right corner here to your account, click it, and then go down to email templates. I'm going to open that in a new tab and you'll see whatever templates you have. Go ahead and just click new email template. And you can choose whichever style you like. I'll just show you how I built mine.

[00:11:05] And you can take my style if you want. Or you can also go with a super plain one if you want. Super plain. I think plain can be very good actually for more intellectual content. It's just this middle one, no colors, no, nothing. I think that can actually work quite well, but I'll just, I'll walk you through how I did mine.

[00:11:20] So I chose this one. I set the spacing of the background color to be more minimal. So there's just a kind of top bar and a bottom bar, and you can go ahead and use whatever your main brand color is. If you have one, whatever it might be, I'll just pick something random for this case. And yeah. I like that we can remove this little advertisement for ConvertKit down here at the bottom, uncheck this box show built with ConvertKit badge.

[00:11:48] So just a little bit of color. And, up here, you can go ahead and add maybe the name of your blog or something like that, just right there by typing it. Whenever you can change, you can increase the size of that a bit by double clicking, selecting it and double clicking it, maybe do 24 or something like that.

Add a subscribe link for people receiving it from friends

[00:12:10] And here's a little trick, which I would highly recommend. You want to include at the very top a link for people to subscribe to your email list in case they've received it from someone else. if someone forwarded it to them, you want to really make it easy for people to subscribe themselves. So I in mind do something like.

[00:12:31] receive this from a friend subscribe here, and then you want to link that to wherever your main landing pages. I haven't built one for this, but just do whatever yours is, right. Let's just say it's, or newsletter or something like that. You should have a kind of one main place, you send people right.

[00:12:59] To subscribe to your stuff. That's a, really simple little template, which I think is a good balance between simplicity and cleanness and also just a little bit of branding and then style all. So we can make that a bit smaller if you want, or, even it out, I might leave it at that.

[00:13:23] So that's, the one thing, you might also add, to let them know that, these are blog posts that you're receiving, whatever. So now that you've done that you can go ahead and change any of these styles to be consistent with your brand. Like for instance, you might want the buttons to be all a unified color and the links, maybe whatever you can play with around with that.

[00:13:49] I would probably unify the buttons and the main color of the header bar. So something like that. This is basically what mine looks like, but with my own brand. And so the real important thing I think here, other than having this subscribe here, link in case people receive it from friends is down here.

[00:14:10] We want to customize this footer bar that gives the unsubscribe options. Now, it's a legal requirement that you have a general unsubscribe option that allows people to unsubscribe completely. But we can add to this and give people an option. So what we want to do this is we have to take a few steps.

Create a custom unsubscribe link and trigger

[00:14:29] It's a little complicated, but just follow me and you'll have it done in a few minutes, but actually before you forget, let's go ahead and save this first of all, and let's change the title to something that we'll remember. Call it something like blog posts, template, blog, post template. Safe. And let's now in a new tab.

[00:14:51] Let's go over to automations and open that up.

[00:15:01] So now in automations, you want to go to rules over here.  So what you need to do now is add a new rule. And you want to choose over here, click the link.

[00:15:17] And we want to name it. So name it something descriptive, like blog, post opt out link or something like that,

[00:15:33] or blog, post unsubscribed, link, whatever. And then you want to give it a link to somewhere. I would suggest something like. Your website slash unsubscribe, and then you need to go and make that page. So let's do just sticking with our example, say our website is based I'm going to go and make a page at unsubscribe.

[00:15:58] So the URL should look, something like that. And.  So take a second. Go make that page. All it should say on it is something like your preferences have been registered or thanks or anything like that. You can also add other content if you want to send them places or whatever, you can actually do a lot with that unsubscribed page, but just make one, have one.

[00:16:19] So I'll give you an example real quick while we're at it. So I'm on my other life site. If you go to I call it. Thanks. Boom. So really simple. That's what people will see when they unsubscribed to my things to just take two minutes, to make a quick page on your website that you can send to people when they unsubscribed from blog posts.

[00:16:43] And once you have the URL, just copy it. And then you want to go ahead and paste that link there.  And now what we need to do is we need to tell ConvertKit. Whenever someone clicks this particular link in an email, do some action on their account. On their subscriber account within your ConvertKit system.

[00:17:02] So in particular, we are going to give them a tag, let's say something like exited blog posts, or if you are only sending blog posts to a particular tag, people who let's say opted in specifically to receive blog posts, and you gave them a tag. When they opt in for blog posts, you could simply remove that tag.

[00:17:21] So there are different ways of doing that. But the important thing is the basic concept here. So let's just assume that you're at, you're sending blog posts to everyone who subscribes to your list. So what we'll do is we'll just add a tag that says, remove them from the blog post automation specifically.

[00:17:36] So click add tag. I have a bunch, but you need to make a new one. So click create a new tag and call it something like unsubscribed from. Blog posts or whatever you want. So now go to save rule and then you need to go to broadcasts. So this is a little strange ConvertKit, doesn't make this very easy for you, but just bear with me and follow me.

[00:18:05] So go to new broadcast.  And we're not actually going to send this to anyone, so don't worry too much about it. Just go to the next step. What we need to do is we need to extract the ID for the link trigger. It's technical, but like I said, don't worry. Just bear with me. So the easiest way to do this is to, if you switch back to the legacy editor here, click this button to do, so now just type any bit of text, this is, text, and then what you want to do is go to link in certain link. And so check it out. Now you can select from your link triggers. I have a bunch, so don't be confused here. look for the one that you just made. We called it blog, post, opt out link. Go ahead and click it.

[00:18:58] And it's going to fill in the URL that you gave it, your unsubscribed, thank you page or whatever. And so that's all great. So basically it's. Setting up a link trigger. And if I were to send out this email to my list, if anyone clicked on that, it would add the tag unsubscribed from blog posts.

[00:19:18] But clearly we don't want to do that. We're just extracting a bit of information from this. So go ahead and insert. Now, what we want to do is click into HTML mode right here. Boom. And here it gives you the trigger ID. So this is the key bit of information that we need to add to a custom unsubscribe link in our new email template for blog posts.

[00:19:47] So actually what you can do is you can actually copy this whole bit. Copy that into your clipboard. And then we can go ahead and, Delete this, we don't need this. just go ahead and click delete, or you can just exit out of it. It doesn't matter. I'll clean that up later.  So now go back to your blog post template.

[00:20:14] Now scroll down to this footer where we added a new line space right here on top of the default unsubscribe links. So what you want to do while the cursor is there is. Go over all the way to the left and you see this plus sign, go ahead and click that. And it gives you some options for what you can insert.

[00:20:35] And what we want to do is insert an HTML block. Go ahead and click that. And then over here, click this edit button. Alright, so now I've given you a little bit of boilerplate HTML code, which you can edit as you like. So here is, this is all in the show notes, but. And you can find it for yourself and go ahead and paste it in.

Code for footer with custom unsubscribe link

<br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><center><span style="font-size: 12px;">You're getting this because you subscribed to Other Life by Justin Murphy.<br><br><a href="" target="_blank" trigger-id="YOURTRIGGERID">Unsubscribe from these content updates, but stay subscribed to whatever else you've signed up for.</a></span></center>

[00:21:02] And then don't use my text. Obviously you want to edit it for yourself, but you can use the basic idea. So a few things I'll just walk you through in case you don't know HTML, these are tags that just basically our line breaks. So I like to do this just to create a little bit of space between the email content and the footer links, the unsubscribe links.

[00:21:21] That's just a personal preference, but you can change the number of those or depending on how much space you want. And then I like to center it. That's what this tag does. And then there's a span tag, which just will allow you to style the text a little bit. So I'd like to make it a little bit smaller, just so it's a little bit more subtle.

[00:21:39] So I set the font size to 12. You can do bigger, smaller. This is just for the footer links. The main text in the email is I leave the default of 16. that over here.  So then you want to add a little line that I think just reminds them, you're not spamming them. They asked for updates from you, right?

[00:21:59] So something like you're getting this because you subscribe to other life by Justin Murphy, obviously. Put in your blog name or your name and that way, if people forget what they subscribe to, they don't think that you're just spamming them unsolicited. You're reminding them that they asked for this. So if they don't like it, that's fine.

[00:22:16] Here are some options to unsubscribe, but you're just reminding them that they asked for this. And now what you do here is you want to paste it in the specific URL that you got. From the link trigger that we just copied. So in this bit, right here, the link, the, a tag all the way to the ending a tag this forward slash means the, tag is ending this bit.

[00:22:50] You want to replace with your own snippet that you copied from the link trigger. Example we did just a minute ago. So go ahead and paste in that link, which you remember looked something like this. Alright, so let's say I'm building this for my blog based books. I'm going to go ahead and change this to based books by whatever your name is.

[00:23:24] Jimmy John, perhaps. And now you have the correct link trigger that is going to work for your subscribers in your account.

[00:23:38] All you need to do is customize this bit of text to say something to the effect of, like we said before, unsubscribe from these blog posts, something like that. So if you go ahead and click save, boom, check it out. Now you have a custom unsubscribe link in the footer of all the emails that go out, sending people, your blog posts.

[00:24:08] The only last thing to do is that you'll see this clearly a smaller font than this text, the default unsubscribe links. So I would just change this to 12 points. Or whatever font size you used in HTML block, we just set up, go ahead and click 12. Boom. Now it's all consistent and nice and clean. You can also change the text if you want.

[00:24:34] So you'll see that they're slightly different fonts. You can control that by either changing the font here and your paragraph styles to something more consistent like Ariel. Boom. See now, if it's not technically the same font it's indistinguishable, or if you want to keep that, if you want to keep, let's say a serif font in your email, body text, then all you have to do is go back into this and, add the font to this tag here you can Google HTML or CSS, How to change font type in span style or something like that, Google search will give you the answer. But, that's basically all there is to it. So I actually personally like a,  a san-serif font in the email body. So I think I, believe I do use Ariel and. Now the footer looks all nice and, stylized, and people can choose to no longer receive your blog posts if that's just a little too high volume for them, but they'll stay on your list more generally.

Tying it all together

[00:25:44] So there's just one step left that we need to do, which is edit the RSS automation to tell it don't send out blog posts to people who. Have unsubscribed from blog posts or in other words, people who have the tag unsubscribed from blog posts, don't send them the blog posts. You do that over in the RSS automation real quick.

[00:26:06] One last thing I almost forgot. I like to actually change this bit to something like unsubscribe from everything forever, just so they know that, they have two options here. If they. Really don't want to hear from you ever again, then they're more than welcome to unsubscribed from everything forever, but that, just sounds a little scary, right?

[00:26:28] You're discouraging them from doing that, although they're more than welcome to and. That way, there's a clear choice of okay, decrease the amount of stuff I received from this person or, I really never want to hear from this person again. I like to make that choice pretty clear. So they understand sometimes they might not understand where they might be subscribed to something else you're doing like, a free email course, or maybe, maybe a business or something like some other paid thing that they really need to hear emails from, because they're actually paying for that or something like that.

[00:26:58] You don't want them to be removed completely from the whole list. If, they don't want to be, but if they want to be, that's fine. So I like to make that extra clear with some kind of language like this. And that's all there is for the blog post template. So you can go ahead and save.

[00:27:15] And we're now done with that. The only last thing we need to do is go back to the RSS automation that we set up. And here we need to now tell it the email template to use. So you want to go ahead and find the one that you made. If it's not showing up yet, you might have to just refresh and now you should be able to find a template called blog post template.

[00:27:45] Boom. So now it's going to apply the template. If you click save and then preview. Boom. Look at that. It's all stylized. You have the nice custom share links. And it's looks exactly as you want. And now you see the footer has a custom unsubscribe link for people who just want to exit the blog post. So the final, last thing is you just need to now change the conditions for who automatically receives all blog posts, because remember people are allowed to opt out now.

[00:28:21] So the last thing you want is to keep sending blog posts to people who tell you they don't want any more blog posts. So this is crucial to do this. All you have to do is go to click here and you want to go to add filter, and then you want to select subscribe to, okay, and then you want to click tags and then you want to find the.

[00:28:45] Tag that you made in the automation rule, the link trigger rule. And if you recall, we called ours, unsubscribed from blog posts. You see right there. Boom, go ahead and click that. You have to click add filter and crucially though. You don't want to send it to people who match that tag, but who do not match that tag?

[00:29:11] So click none, what this says is that this RSS automation is going to send every new blog post to everyone on your list, who does not have the tag unsubscribed from blog posts. So anytime someone receives an email and they click this link on subscribed from these blog posts, it adds to their account within your ConvertKit.

[00:29:37] This tag. And therefore they will no longer receive blood posts from this automation. So that is all there is to it. You now have a. Fully completed system that will automatically send your new blog posts to your list, allow people to opt out if they don't want them and make it super easy for people to share.

[00:29:59] And for new people who may be received it from a friend to subscribe to your list, So that's essentially how I've done mine more or less, and I've had good results with it. Only final thing you need to do is go up here and click enable by default it's disabled. So it won't be running unless you click enable.

[00:30:19] Boom, go ahead and save it. And now anytime you publish a blog, post, an email will go out. I hope you found that useful. Let me know if you have any questions or feedback. Thanks. And good luck. Hope this works for you as well as it's worked for me.