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How do you send new post notifications?
It seems simple, but it’s not.
There’s no option in your WordPress dashboard, and to be honest, a plugin is not the right choice.
This subject may be more complicated than you expected, but I promise you will understand 100% what needs to be done by the time you finish reading this post.
By the end of this guide, you will have:
- A system for sending new post emails
- A flexible solution that can scale to 50,000+ subscribers
- A way to grow your email list
Let’s start by looking at the new tool you’ll need to create this system.
How to send new post notifications
You probably send emails every day with an email client like Gmail, but this is different.
You would never write an email in Gmail and send it to 100 people at once. Regular email is only for 1-to-1 communication.
In order to send new post notifications to lots of people at once, you need an email marketing platform.
Choose an email platform
With your email platform, you can write an email once and then send it out to hundreds or even thousands of people.
Over the past five years of running Compete Themes, I’ve used:
I LOVE ConvertKit.
It’s simple, yet flexible, and I think you’ll have a far easier time getting started with their app than the others.
The one limitation with ConvertKit is that it only sends simple plain text emails. It doesn’t include the flashy email templates that MailChimp and GetResponse have where you can include things like image galleries and videos. Personally, I don’t care about any of that, and I think Seth Godin said it best:
Text is what humans send. Corporations send HTML and pretty graphics. Either can work if expectations are set properly, but if you’re a human, act like one.
Anyways, I’m getting distracted. The point is…
You need an email marketing platform to send your post notifications, and I think ConvertKit is the best platform for the job.
Read Next: My full review of ConvertKit
Why can’t I send emails with my site?
There are some free WordPress plugins that will send emails directly from your website.
The good part? You don’t need an email service.
The bad part? Everything else.
- Your emails could take hours or even days to reach their recipients
- You may have more emails going into spam folders
- You will have very little sending flexibility
- You won’t be able to scale to many subscribers
All of this is true because your emails will be sent with your hosting. Basically, your web host’s infrastructure was designed for hosting websites, not mass emailing. The result is that it fails miserably at this job.
You won’t have any of these problems with an email marketing platform, and ConvertKit is totally free for beginners anyway so a plugin isn’t saving you money.
Now let’s talk about how to send the emails.
How to send new post emails with ConvertKit
There are two approaches.
You can write the emails manually, or use a completely automated system.
Write the emails manually
Let’s say it’s Monday and you just finished writing a blog post and scheduled it for Thursday.
Once the post is scheduled, you’d login to ConvertKit and write a “Broadcast” email telling people about your new post.
You can create a custom subject line and write whatever you want in the contents of the email.
Once the email is written, you can preview it, and then use the scheduling option to send it out at the same time on Thursday your blog post is published.
Even though a fully automated approach sounds great, I think this is actually the best way to send your emails.
When you write the email yourself, you get full control over the subject line and contents of the email, so you can personalize it for your list instead of just using the post title and excerpt. Plus, you can preview it before it gets sent out.
Since you can reuse the same template for each email, you won’t be starting from scratch each time you write a new one. If you don’t want to write a custom message, you could even copy and paste the same message over and over and swap out the post link.
The downside, of course, is that every time you write a post you also have to write a new email.
If you want your emails to get written and sent automatically, keep reading.
A fully automated system
The key to this system is your RSS feed.
Every WordPress site has an RSS feed and it updates when you publish new posts.
You can give ConvertKit this URL, and each time a post is published, ConvertKit will automatically send an email to your subscribers.
To do this, you’ll visit the Automation menu and then click on the RSS link on the right.
Then on the next page, you’ll click the Add Feed button.
Enter your RSS feed URL into the URL input and ConvertKit will automatically fetch your latest post inside the preview on the left.
By default, the option on the right is set to Single.
When Single is selected, ConvertKit will automatically create a Broadcast email each time you publish a post. The email will use the post title as the subject line and include the full post content inside the email.
ConvertKit will only create a draft, so you can review and edit the email before sending it. However, you can check this box at the bottom if you want to auto-send the email without review:
If you want to send your subscribers your posts via email, this setup is simple and perfect.
The other option is to send a Digest.
A Digest email will include the title and excerpt of the post and link back to your site. You can schedule when you want ConvertKit to check your RSS feed, and it will include any new posts in the email.
If there’s one new post, the email will include it. If there are five, it will include all five.
Which approach is best?
There are really three different ways to send your post notifications.
First, you can skip the RSS stuff entirely and simply write & schedule a broadcast email each time you publish a post. I like this approach because you get full control over the email contents and you can schedule the email in advance.
Second, you can have ConvertKit monitor your RSS feed and auto-draft emails. The benefit is that the emails are written for you, but if you want to edit them before sending, you have to wait until after the post is already live.
Third, you can have ConvertKit monitor your RSS feed and auto-send emails. This solution requires zero time after the initial setup but offers no opportunity to customize the email contents.
Any of these approaches can work well depending on your goals, so pick whichever one sounds best for your website.
Wait, how do I get subscribers in the first place?
Now you know how to send emails to let people know about your latest blog posts.
But how do you get a list of email subscribers into ConvertKit?
I outline all the steps in this tutorial:
You’ll learn how to create email forms with the MailOptin plugin and add them anywhere you want on your site (sidebar, after posts, popups, etc). Then you’ll connect MailOptin with ConvertKit so every time someone enters their email into one of your forms, they get added to your list in ConvertKit.
And then of course, once they’re on your list, they’ll get your new post notification emails.
An alternative method to send your emails
In addition to building an email list with MailOptin, you can use it to send post notification emails too.
It can even send automated daily, weekly, or monthly email digests of your posts.
To set up the email notifications, go to the MailOptin > Email automation menu and click the “Add New” button. Then enter a name for the automation and select the “New Post Notification” automation type.
Select a template and you’ll be redirected to the email builder where you can design your email or import your own custom HTML.
Here’s a look at what the template editor looks like:
From here, you can set the email subject line, customize the length of the excerpt, and choose which categories should be used. This is extremely useful because it means you can let your audience subscribe to specific categories instead of receiving all of your post notifications.
Once you’re done customizing your email, open the Recipient section to choose the platform and audience you’ll send the emails to. For example, if you connected your site with MailChimp, you would select MailChimp as your platform and then pick the list in MailChimp you want to email. You can find a full list of services MailOptin integrates with here.
This gives you a simple way to create new post notifications while still utilizing an email service to reliably send your emails.
Sending new post notifications
Sending new post emails is complex, but I hope you’re excited to try the solution outlined in this post.
ConvertKit is free for your first 500 subscribers, and you get full access to all the features, so there’s little risk if you don’t like it.
MailOptin is a solid alternative if you want to manage your emails in WordPress more than in an email app.
If this post helped you out today, please share it with someone else before you go.
Thanks for reading!