There are lots of Mailchimp + WordPress integrations out there already. But when I wanted to create a customized, automated daily email campaign that would be generated from WordPress content (beyond just a listing of recent posts) and sent to a Mailchimp list, I couldn’t find anything to do just that.
For a little while I used MailChimp’s ability to read RSS feeds and generate campaigns from them, and I built a custom RSS feed on my WordPress site where the latest entry in the feed was the customized content I wanted to be populated into the
*|RSSITEM:CONTENT_FULL|* variable to then go out to my subscribers.
But this was unreliable — sometimes the message wouldn’t go out because of caching issues on my end, mysterious days where MailChimp didn’t seem to check the feed, and there were other quirks — and even working with MailChimp support I couldn’t get things to a stable state. I also didn’t like that MailChimp’s system forced me to pick a top-of-the-hour time during the day when the feed would be checked, and if for some reason it was missed, I had to reconfigure the whole campaign to get the message out.
I needed a better way.
The resulting method that’s been working for almost a year now is to initiate and send the Mailchimp campaign directly from within WordPress. I get full control of scheduling, message generation and formatting. I can re-run the campaign send if I need to. And it has worked reliably every day. Here’s how I set it up (with inspiration from this blog post by Isabel Castillo).