As previously mentioned in my post On Social Media, my ideal form of following people is RSS. For a long while I had a ton of email newsletters filling my inbox, getting backed up, never read. I then decided to figure out how to get as many of them subscribed via RSS as I could.
Below are the steps I took for different types of newsletters, and some notes on my RSS setup.
- Substack via RSS
- Mailchimp via RSS
- Buttondown via RSS
- Kill the Newsletter
Originally I used a RSS reader on my laptop, with the intent to open it up once a week or so and read through my subscriptions. I found that I pretty much never did that, so instead I've moved over to a custom RSS reader that I built myself and host on a Raspberry Pi.
It allows me to add feeds, pulls them down and generates local html files of the contents for each entry (via a cron job and a python script), and lists them for reading. I can mark things as read and all that as well.
One benefit of this is it's static HTML, so I can read them on my Kindle via the web browser.
Substack via RSS
It turns out Substack has RSS functionality built in, which was surprising and makes things way easier.
I don't know how this would work with paid subscriptions, but it works for free ones. I don't pay for any to experiment with how that works, but if someone else has some info to add on it, I could put it here so feel free to reach out.
To do this, log in to Substack and find the URL for each one you want to subscribe to.
You can then add
/feed to the end of the URL and add that to your RSS reader.
For instance, if you want to subscribe to Alastair Johnston's Substack, the URL would be https://alastairjohnston.substack.com/feed.
Mailchimp via RSS
If you subscribe to any mailchimp newsletters, Josh Müller found a solution to this, which you can find on his blog post. I'm still going to write down the gist of it here for my own future reference.
Mailchimp signups are via the domain list-manage.com. Find the sign up URL for the newsletter you want to subscribe to.
For example this is Rob Sheridan's:
You can use the bolded elements to craft a URL for an RSS feed. Here is the RSS feed for Rob Sheridan:
Buttondown via RSS
I follow one newsletter that is managed in Buttondown, however they appear to not have RSS enabled, but I've found others that do.
To check, find the URL of the newsletter, such as https://buttondown.email/drmohundro and add
/rss to the end like so:
If it loads a feed, it's enabled, otherwise it will not work and you have to use Kill the Newsletter.
Kill the Newsletter
For newsletters that I could not find a way to get a feed for (such as TinyLetter and custom newsletter solutions), I am using Kill the Newsletter.
The way it works is you set up a mailbox and it gives you an email address to sign up for the newsletter with, and also an RSS feed URL for subscribing.
You just give it a name for the mailbox and it generates those for you. You can then take the email and sign up for the newsletter as you normally would, and subscribe to the feed via an RSS reader.
If you have to confirm your email, that will come through as an entry in the feed so you can click the link.
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