Update: This functionality is now included in RSVPMaker, eliminating the need for a separate plugin.
Enter your MailChimp API key, and you will be able to edit the content for email broadcasts from within the WordPress administration screens, using the familiar post editor.
You can also import the content of existing posts and RSVPMaker events. When you send out event invitations with ChimpBlast, the RSVP Now link in the invitation will automatically be coded to include a reference to the recipient’s email address, allowing RSVPMaker to retrieve that person’s profile details so they don’t have to be reentered manually.
You can import a your MailChimp template and add CSS to help your WordPress content display better, such as the markup for WordPress photos and captions, or your own stylings. The MailChimp service automatically inlines the CSS code to work better with email clients, which don’t always respect CSS in the header.
MailChimp templates must include some required tags, according to their template language, and should use table formatting (grit your teeth, CSS fans) for compatibility with email clients that don’t handle CSS alignment well.
I’ve also made it possible to include WordPress shortcodes in the template. For example, you could use an RSVPMaker placeholder like [event_listing format=”headline” title=”Upcoming Events” limit=”10″] to include all event headlines in the footer of your message, while featuring a particular event in the body.
Example: Here is the archive of a message, together with screenshots showing how it was prepared.
New in Version 1.3: I’m including a sample cron script that can be used to send a weekly newsletter containing the latest blog posts and RSVPMaker event listings from your website. I use this approach on several of my community-oriented websites, but I’ve just gotten around to generalizing the principles from what until now have been one-off hacks.
From the ChimpBlast settings screen, you can now designate the day of the week for your newsletter broadcasts, as well as the template, list, and subject line that will be used. The newsletter will go out using the default Email From address and Email Name display name.
It you run the cron script on any day other than the designated day of the week, it sends a preview version of the broadcast to the Email From address. The way I use this is to configure cron to run on Saturday and Sunday, where Sunday is the actual publication day. By sending myself a preview, I get a reminder to make any updates or corrections prior to publication day.
Cron is the Unix scheduling utility, and many web hosts provide a simplified utility for configuring it through Cpanel (shown below) or an another admin system.