Mar 4, 2009

Hack: Email your content to MailChimp via RSS

istock_000007307942xsmallQuick hackity-hack idea for the MailChimp RSS-to-email tool.

You can use mobile blogging (aka moblogging or "post by email") to send content from your mobile device to your blog.

Which is a really nice feature when you want to blog while you’re traveling, or at a party/event. You pull out your iphone, snap a picture, email it to your blog, and booyah—your drunk, passed-out buddy is on the interwebs.

But you don’t always have to use this feature for evil.

You can also use it to email content into your MailChimp newsletter template, and have it automatically sent to your subscriber list.

And it doesn’t have to just be a blog, either.

These days, people are building entire websites using blog platforms as the underlying CMS. For example, UXbooth is a nice example built on top of the WordPress engine.

And if you’re a web designer, have you ever had a client who, um, "doesn’t know computers so good?" They’ll never code a web page. They can’t even figure out that WYSIWYG you installed for them. They certainly will never figure out how to code an HTML email for their newsletter.

Well, setup a website with Squarespace, and configure their "post-by-email" feature so that they can just "open up Outlook, and email content to the website." It looks like this in Squarespace:

squarespace-postbyemail

Then, take that RSS feed from their website, and hook it into your client’s MailChimp list, and we’ll send an automatic email newsletter for them (see MailChimp RSS-to-email).

If you’re an unethical designer, you can even pretend that you’re the one behind the scenes, re-formatting their emails and posting to their website. 24/7. They’ll think you’re crazy fast.

I’m just saying.

Moblogging, or "post by email" is a service provided by most of the major blogging platforms, like WordPress, Blogger, TypePad, and Squarespace.

Just search for "moblogging" in their help docs. Some of the nicer ones, like Squarespace, even do image-resizing on the fly. Very, very nice feature.

Alternatively, you can customize the way your RSS items are pulled into MailChimp, so that only article excerpts appear, with no images (check out the RSS merge tags on this cheatsheet).

That’s enough hackity tips for one article.