I’m a big fan of MailChimp and here’s yet another reason: their RSS importer for email campaigns is really great. I’ve connected that tool to the MF Gig Calendar RSS feed and have been automatically including upcoming events in emails I send out. I thought I’d put up a quick tutorial on how I did it. Nothing fancy – I’m no monkey-guru – but it works for me.

It’s really easy to get the basic content included – just a few steps…

RSS Feed Screenshot

1. You’ll need your MF Gig Calendar RSS feed address. It should look similar to mine: http://matthewfries.com/feed/mfgigcal/

Just look for the link to the feed at the top of your page/post showing where you’ve included the MF Gig Calendar. You can grab the RSS feed address from there. Easy peasy.

 

2. Put a FEEDBLOCK loop into a plain old campaign in your MailChimp editor.

Note: this is not an “RSS-driven Campaign” – that’s a different process and uses different codes.

To include events from your RSS feed just plop this into your message where you want your events to appear. It works a lot like XML – you define the block (FEEDBLOCK), you set up a loop (FEEDITEMS) and you list the info you want listed with each loop (FEEDITEM). Mailchimp has a nice list of all the feed tags they support in their knowledge base.

*|FEEDBLOCK:http://matthewfries.com/feed/mfgigcal/|*
*|FEEDITEMS:[$count=10,$content=full]|*
*|FEEDITEM:TITLE|*
*|FEEDITEM:CONTENT_FULL|*
*|END:FEEDITEMS|*
*|END:FEEDBLOCK|*

I’m including the next 10 events from my calendar (see the $count variable is set to 10) – I would assume you can make that number whatever you want.

You can also stylize the text in this FEEDBLOCK. I like my title to be blue and bold, so I used this format:

Mailchimp Screenshot (Mailchimp editor)

…and the email message ends up looking like this after Mailchimp goes out and grabs the RSS feed info (you can see this in the popup preview or in a test email):

Mailchimp Screenshot (email message)

Again – this is just the basics. I’m no expert, but it works for me. Hope it helps!