March 8, 2011

Customize the subject line of your Feedburner emails

Feedburner email subject lines

JD LasicaSince I began blogging back in May 2001, I’ve let readers access content on my sites in any manner they chose, including full-length posts in RSS feeds and automated email updates. I was an early user of Feedburner, now owned by Google, and while there are other services out there that probably do a better job of delivering updates to subscribers, I have stuck with the tried and true.

Today 7,115 people subscribe to updates on through the free Feedburner email service, which goes out late at night whenever we have a new blog post. Another 4,433 people get email updates for new posts on Socialbrite, and 2,629 for new posts on Time for Nurses, a site we launched for a client in the fall.

What I didn’t know, until subscriber Sandra Sims alerted me to the fact, was that Feedburner allows you to tailor the subject line of your outbound emails. For years, recipients saw emails with the subject line that simply said “Social Media” or “Socialbrite.” But Sandra pointed me to the impossible-to-find, needle-in-a-haystack link where you can customize the subject line to use the headline of your most recent post. This will be old news to some, but it was news to me, so I thought I’d share it here.

If you’d like to customize the subject line of your Feedburner emails, follow these steps:

  1. Log into your Feedburner account
  2. Select the feed you want to customize
  3. Click on the “Publicize” tab”
  4. Click on “Email Subscriptions” in the left sidebar (you’ll need to click the “Activate” button if you’re just launching your email service)
  5. Now you’ll see an “Email Branding” submenu in the left sidebar. Click it.
  6. Change the “Email Subject/Title” to this, believe it or not: ${latestItemTitle}
  7. Click “Save”

There you go! Let me know if that works for you, and please share any other Feedburner, RSS or automated email delivery tricks you’d like to pass along in the comments below.