MailChimp offers two ways to share blog and website content in your campaigns using RSS (Really Simple Syndication). RSS-Driven Campaigns can be set up to go out daily, weekly or monthly, and automatically populate your campaign layout with the last batch of items from your RSS feed. If you want to mix in RSS posts with other content, you can drop a feed into other campaign types.

You may encounter some errors with your RSS feed, content, or merge tags. Check out the list below for common problems.

In this article:

MailChimp says my URL is not a valid RSS feed

  • Is there a typo? If the feed URL is misspelled or contains unnecessary spaces, our system will reject the feed.
  • Is your feed password protected? If your blog is password protected, MailChimp won't be able to access the content. To make sure your feed works as expected, use a public RSS feed with MailChimp.
  • Did your feed change? If you're using the same feed you always have, it's possible that your web administrator moved the feed or made other changes to your site.
  • Is the feed set up properly? To validate your RSS feed, MailChimp sends an "are you there?" request to your feed's server. If your server doesn't respond to that request, the feed will fail. Validate your feed or check with your web or server administrator to find out why.

My RSS feed breaks in my campaign

  • Is there a typo or formatting error in your source code? Verify that the merge tags you're using are spelled and formatted correctly, and check for extra HTML code that might be out of order. If there are any HTML tags inside the *|MERGETAG|* text, the entire tag can break.
    Incorrect format: Check out our *|RSSFEED:TITLE|* newsletter!
    Correct format: Check out our *|RSSFEED:TITLE|* newsletter!
  • Does your feed include the content your merge tags are asking for? Most commonly, feeds break because a merge tag in the campaign calls for information that doesn't exist in your RSS feed. Custom-made RSS feeds are often responsible for this mismatch—check with your developer or web administrator to find out more. You can try using a standard RSS feed to reduce these errors.
  • Are images appearing as links? If you are using enclosure tags to display images, you may see a link to where the image is hosted instead. Check with your web administrator to set up your feed to show each item's image using <media:content> RSS tags.

My RSS feed is wrong in the preview window

  • Are there any typos or formatting errors? Verify that the merge tags you're using are spelled and formatted correctly, and check for extra HTML code that might be out of order. If there are any HTML tags inside the *|MERGETAG|* text, the entire tag can break.
  • Are the items on your RSS feed out-of-date? In your campaign preview, MailChimp will only display RSS items that would be included in the next send. If you don't have any recent items, MailChimp displays the most recent one, to give you an idea of how the layout will look.
  • Are your images the wrong size? Often, blog images are pulled into feeds at a size that's much larger than necessary, which can alter the look of your campaign. The format of the images needs to be changed on the feed. 

I updated my feed, but my RSS-Driven Campaign didn't send

  • Is your feed valid? MailChimp will warn you if your RSS feed is invalid before you finalize your RSS-Driven Campaign, but if something changes on your website's feed, it could break without warning. Try checking your feed URL with a validator, like the one at w3.org.
  • When is your RSS-Driven Campaign scheduled to go out? If your campaigns are scheduled to go out at daily 10am, but you didn't update your feed until 10:05am today, the campaign won't be triggered. Those new items will appear in tomorrow's campaign.
  • Is the feed paused? When you navigate to your campaigns page, you should see status icons next to each campaign. If your campaign was paused for editing but not restarted, you will see the Paused icon. Learn how to reactivate a paused campaign in this article.
    rss feed paused icon
  • Are the timestamps set up correctly? Check your feed setup to determine if the <pubDate> tags are populating accurately. If a pubDate is set incorrectly, such as a day off or in another timezone, MailChimp won't recognize that the items were posted in time for the next send.
    Below is an example of the correct setup for your RSS feed. Please note that the pubDate is in English.
    
    <channel>
    
      <title>MailChimp Blog</title>
    
      <link>http://www.mailchimp.com/blog</link>
    
      <description>MailChimp, email marketing, and monkeys!</description>
    
      <pubDate>Tue, 16 Sep 2010 15:55:58 +0000</pubDate>
    
    
    
      <generator>http://wordpress.org/?v=2.3.1</generator>
    
      <language>en</language>
    
              <item>
    
          <title>osCommerce and Joomla Plugins for MailChimp</title>
    
          <link>http://www.mailchimp.com/blog/plugins-for-mailchimp/</link>
    
          <comments>http://www.mailchimp.com/blog/plugins-for-mailchimp/#comments</comments>
    
    
    
          <pubDate>Tue, 16 Sep 2010 15:55:58 +0000</pubDate>
    
          <dc:creator>Ben</dc:creator><br />
    We'll pull in the date for any of these tags : 'pubDate', 'pubdate', 'published', 'created', 'updated', 'date' (in that order).
    When you first set up an RSS-Driven Campaign, we'll show the last post as a preview example if you haven't added an article in a few days. If you set your campaign to daily, it will send posts from 24 hours before it was activated; from the last seven days for weekly; and for the last 30 days for monthly.

Edit an original RSS-Driven Campaign

If you encounter any of these problems, you may need to edit the original RSS "parent" campaign. To do this, you need to pause the campaign. Learn how to pause and reactivate a campaign in this article.

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