Publish Full Posts In Blog Broadcasts

Many businesses and bloggers use AWeber’s blog newsletter tool to convert RSS to email and tell readers about new posts on their blogs.

When we released this tool, our thinking was that it would be a way for you to get email subscribers back to your blog in order to read your post, comment on it and take any other actions you wanted after getting to your site. So we designed the broadcasts to include partial blog posts rather than full posts.

While this has worked beautifully for many of you, some of you have asked us to provide a way for you to include full posts directly in the emails.

Now, you can. Here’s how:

Use The {!rss_item_content} Tag

While editing your blog broadcast template, if you want to include full posts rather than partial posts, simply replace the {!rss_item_description} tag with {!rss_item_content}.

Edit RSS Item Description
Enter the RSS Item Content Tag

{!rss_item_content} will merge the full HTML and images from your posts into your blog newsletter.

Do You Prefer Full or Partial Posts In Your Blog Newsletter?

With this available, will you send full posts in your blog newsletters? Or will you send partial posts?

What about as a recipient? Are full or partial posts better for you?

By:
Justin Premick is the former Director of Educational Products at AWeber.

Become a Better Email Marketer

Subscribe to This Blog by Email
Why Subscribe?

40 Comments

  1. Thanks for the post Justin. It’s great to see that you guys listen to the requests of your clients and take action on those requests.

    I personally prefer partial posts because as you stated in your article, I want them to come back to my site and continue to explore it.

    I will be sure to tweet this out and take your survey. I would interested in seeing the final results.

    7/13/2010 9:05 am
  2. I prefer full post with images in my blog broadcast.

    This was discussed on Pat’s blog SmartPassiveIncome last week and the conclusion was full post.

    7/13/2010 9:06 am
  3. The problem with the partial post aggregation is that, if your RSS feed has other widgets (like Related Posts), it gets seriously messed up.

    For me personally I think it’s better to publish the full post. I don’t publish that much content on a monthly weekly basis by the way, so I rather they get the full post just like they would with FeedBurner.

    7/13/2010 9:21 am
  4. This is perfect. I have a client that prefers the full post in her newsletters but kept forgetting to post it in WordPress in the Optional Excerpt field. She is going to be so excited that I can make one simple change and her blog newsletters will go out the way she intended. Thank you.

    7/13/2010 9:27 am
  5. John C. A. Manley

    Not to be disgruntled but…

    I’ve already tried replacing the RSS tag and it’s still wrought with problems for the plain text version (which is all I wanted):

    * rich text characters don’t convert well (especially in the subject line)

    * word wrap doesn’t work

    I can’t remember all the problems I had, but those were the main ones. Just couldn’t get it display properly in plain text mode.

    7/13/2010 10:04 am
  6. I subscribed to this blog over a year ago just to wait for this blog post. Finally! Thank you! While I love Aweber’s service, the lack of full posts in email campaigns was a deal-breaker for me.

    A couple questions before I switch:

    1. Can I send these blog posts out via email on demand or do they only mailed out at a specified time that I set each day, or are they distributed every certain number of hours? Right now I like to write a blog post and then login to Feedblitz to send the email immediately.

    2. How do the full-post emails handle embedded videos? Does it automatically grab the YouTube thumbnail, possibly adding a "play" button overlay, and convert the embed code to link the image to the post or video link?

    7/13/2010 11:05 am
  7. I think there are some advantages to sending people to the blog instead of giving them the whole post in the email.

    If people get to your blog you can see how long they stayed and they can leave a comment.

    If they don’t go to your blog they may read only for a few seconds or put off reading until the email is at the bottom of their inbox. And they may be less inclined to leave a comment.

    However, if anyone tests putting whole posts vs. partial posts in their emails, I’d love to hear the results. Maybe I’m wrong.

    7/13/2010 11:06 am
  8. Now that’s exactly what I wanted to know without using feedburner. Excellent tutorial!

    I like the partial posts.

    7/13/2010 11:06 am
  9. Great idea…I made the change to the code, but it’s still not showing the entire content. Ideas?

    7/13/2010 11:12 am
  10. Thanks everyone for your feedback and your thoughts on full vs. partial posts!

    John and Kim,

    If you’re having trouble with the variable, please get in touch with our Customer Solutions team so we can look at your messages in detail. Thanks!

    Tim,

    You can schedule the emails to be delivered on demand when posts are created, or at certain days/times. We do not change or convert the post content; we simply grab it from the RSS feed, place it into the email and deliver it.

    7/13/2010 12:19 pm | Follow me on Twitter
  11. As a publisher, I prefer excerpts in my email blasts. This helps to drive more traffic to my websites. I no longer feel the need to include ads in my emails, which I was never comfortable with anyway.

    As a reader, I prefer excerpts in the email blasts I receive from most of the people I follow. This gives me the option to scan the excerpts and decide if I want to click through to read the entire article.

    It’s nice to know we have the option, however.

    7/13/2010 12:43 pm
  12. Hey Justin

    Thanks for information I would prefer partial blog posts in the news letter so that there is some incentive for them to come to my web site. Thanks for explaining how it works. Great post.

    7/13/2010 5:36 pm
  13. Thanks, very good tips . Hope we receive more like this.

    7/14/2010 12:41 am
  14. Nice feature, thanks for adding this and constantly looking to improve upon your platform by tailoring it to your customers.

    7/15/2010 10:47 pm
  15. Another feature request:

    I really want to only send out excerpts, but also know the power of including images in our emails.

    I’d love an RSS Variable that would pull a thumbnail of the first image in any post. My subscribers are used to seeing 3 to 10 images in every blog post, so to send out just the excerpt without any teaser image will reduce my click-through rate.

    Thanks for listening to my request! :)

    7/17/2010 12:47 pm
  16. Overall, I like the idea of automatically sending out full posts, especially if it can pull images.

    As John mentioned, I’ve had difficulty with the subject line. If I use an apostrophe in my post title, it’s converted into a question mark in the Aweber subject line field.

    Example. If the blog post title in WordPress is this:

    David Ogilvy’s Most Famous Headline

    Aweber will pull it into the subject line like this:

    David Ogilvy?s Most Famous Headline

    Of course, that looks horrible and it causes my spam score to go through the roof. If Aweber could simply strip out rich text characters and replace them with plain text characters, that would solve the problem.

    As it is, I have to do this manually by doing a find/replace in Textpad.

    The problem I’ve just described is the reason I stopped using RSS to email in the first place.

    7/24/2010 10:00 am
  17. Wendy and Ryan,

    Thanks for your suggestions! I’ll be sharing them with our teams here.

    7/26/2010 8:40 am | Follow me on Twitter
  18. I will definitely be including the entire article now that this option is available. While I can clearly see the benefit of pulling the customer to the blog itself, there’s also a lot of customers who just put off reading stuff because that’s one more task to be done.

    When the information is right in front of you, it’s easier NOT to ignore it. Even that single extra step may cause you to procrastinate. Yes, there may be fewer comments and tweets on the blog, but the overall consumption of the content will definitely go up. And in the end, consumption is what matters most of all.

    8/8/2010 3:06 pm
  19. I tried it and guess what? The entire post went in bold text. Is there something that I did wrong, because I can’t see how to change the settings.

    8/9/2010 11:40 pm
  20. Sean,

    It sounds like you may have had an open tag in your template or perhaps in the HTML of your blog post. Without seeing the broadcast in question I can’t say for sure, but if you contact us with details we can take a look and get to the bottom of it. Thanks!

    8/10/2010 10:50 am | Follow me on Twitter
  21. Is there a way to run a test blog post (like we do with test newsletters) so that i can see what’s wrong?

    8/10/2010 12:38 pm
  22. There’s a test link on the Blog Broadcasts page of your account that you can use to create test broadcasts and troubleshoot any issues you may have with your template.

    Instructions in our Knowledge Base:
    http://www.aweber.com/faq/questions/566/How+Do+I+Test+My+Blog+Broadcast%3F

    As an alternative, you could post to your blog and then delete the post after the blog broadcast is created. If you go this route, be sure to disable automatic sending of blog broadcasts (no need to send a “test” one to your subscribers!).

    8/10/2010 12:50 pm | Follow me on Twitter
  23. Sean – I was setting up blog broadcast yesterday. After you set it up, you can click the “Test” link on the Blog Broadcast page. It will then pull your most recent blog post and send it to you by email. Not sure if this will help or not, but thought I’d mention it.

    8/10/2010 12:51 pm
  24. I am a very new Aweber customer and so happy you have this feature – with Feedburner, I just naturally sent the full posts, but now I am thinking about it – thank you for including the survey link also…..I may test out both scenarios…!

    11/12/2010 7:56 pm
  25. I’ve been using Aweber for years and am a huge fan. I’m going to give the blog broadcast feature a try I think it may help me keep in contact with my subscribers since it can be hard to make time for everything.

    1/3/2011 6:09 pm
  26. I too would love the ability to include an image in the excerpt of a blog broadcast.

    I have a problem with the code not working properly for me, but I’ll send a ticket request to your support staff to sort it out.

    5/16/2011 2:02 pm
  27. awesome post!!! i got a lot of information from here.thanks for nice information.

    8/12/2011 10:39 am
  28. I second Wendy’s request for a excerpt with featured image option. Gotta have the eye candy!

    2/7/2012 9:21 am
  29. Is it possible to allow thumbnails to be pulled from the blog posts in excerpts/blurbs?

    6/18/2012 1:51 pm
  30. Hi Chel,

    As of now, the <img> tag for the thumbnail needs to be in the <description> or <content:encoded> tag in your RSS item in order to be included.

    You can look at your RSS feed to see if this is the case, but if you’d rather not do that, here’s a rule of thumb(nail) to work with: if the image only appears on, say, a blog’s index page (and not in the post itself), it wouldn’t be pulled into the email.

    Hope this helps!

    6/19/2012 9:46 am | Follow me on Twitter
  31. Thanks Justin!

    6/19/2012 12:43 pm
  32. Justin, more details on how to do the image bit. I didn’t understand what to do or how to do it so that the image gets grabbed from your comment of 6/19/2012.
    Also, when aweber sends this to my facebook site, there is no other text than the headline and the web link. If one sends a full post instead of just the excerpt or description, does the whole post get put on facebook? Also, mine is automated to go straight from facebook to Linkedin and then twitter, so how much post ends up there, or will it be rejected for being too long if I use the full post?
    Or, can one include images instead of a full post? Or images plus a few lines of text?

    6/27/2012 4:00 pm
  33. Hello -

    I tried to use this solution but the content of the blog post is not getting inserted into the email – not sure why, but it causes all the html to go into the email instead.

    Is this feature still working? Thanks!

    8/8/2013 1:09 am
  34. Still trying to figure out how to include a teaser image in our excerpt emails. So far – no luck and no help from anyone at aweber.

    9/19/2013 10:20 pm
  35. Hala – It sounds like you’re setting this up in the Visual editor instead of the HTML editor. You’ll see on the bottom of the editor the options to switch between them.

    Chris – You need to include the image within the blog post itself, and then it will pull into your email along with your text where the {!rss_item_content} variable is located. If you want to include it in the email without having it in your post, you’ll have to put it into the email itself. This is because the idea of the blog broadcast is to send blog followers exactly what was published, so they’re seeing your blog update without having to go to it themselves.

    9/20/2013 7:52 am
  36. Hey,

    Is there a way to program Aweber to automatically broadcast our latest blog post without having to login and physically press any buttons?

    Thanks! :)

    11/30/2013 5:08 am
  37. Rachel Acquaviva

    Hi Matthew,

    When you set up a blog broadcast, you can schedule when you’d like the messages to be sent out. Check “Send Automatically” and you won’t have to go in and click any buttons – it’ll just send your emails out for you. For more information, you can read more about blog broadcasts here.

    12/2/2013 8:19 am
  38. Jack

    I would like to have my blog broadcast just show the Titles of the blog posts, and the image from the RSS feed. Something like {!rss_item_title}

    Is this possible? I’m surprised it’s not a feature, at least that I can find.

    Thanks

    2/4/2014 4:32 am
  39. Hi Jack,
    Here’s a list of all the variables available for blog broadcasts: https://help.aweber.com/entries/21754037-What-Do-Variables-in-Blog-Broadcast-Templates-Do-

    It doesn’t look like we have a variable that does what you mentioned. I’ll pass your request along to our Engineering team.

    You also have the option of editing your blog broadcast before sending it out. See this Knowledge Base article for more info on how to edit your blog broadcast instead of having it send automatically.

    2/4/2014 9:14 am
  40. Hey – this sounds great. But it didn’t work.

    i changed ‘description’ to ‘content’ and now i just get the title.

    While I’m here – I’m trying to change the email template a little (just changing the color of the background of a section). I can’t see how to do that – just the normal menu bar of B U Italics, styles and all that. What am I missing?

    thanks

    Paul

    2/20/2014 2:10 pm