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I Want to Embed my Newsletter in a WordPress Blog

Frank Hagan

I sure wish I had a way to automatically embed my newsletter in a WordPress Blog.

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This technique provides a method to post email from ONTRAPORT to  WordPress. Clients can subscribe to the WordPress RSS feed for the messages and view past messages as Posts.

The messages can be reserved for "members only" viewing using the PilotPress access restrictions on the Category you use. This method is best for newsletter and announcement style email messages.
Prerequisites

  •     Hosted Wordpress site
  •     Email address on that domain dedicated to posting email
  •     The Postie WordPress Plugin
  •     ONTRAPORT account


Configuring an Email Address

Create a unique email address (it must be dedicated to this function). The plugin can check an email address at your domain, or even a Gmail email address.

You will need the following information for configuring Postie. The email provider or your webhost if you are using your own domain email can provide this for you:

  1.  Mail Protocol - POP3 or SMTP
  2.  Use Transport Layer Security (TLS) - your server may require TLS.
  3.  Port - Usually 110, 143, 993 or 995
  4.  Mail Server - such as "mail.your-domain.tld" or "smtp.your-domain.tld"
  5.  Mail Userid - Usually the email address - how you log into the email
  6.  Mail Password - The password for the email account.

Configure Postie

Install and activate the Postie plugin. The plugin page has the basic instructions, but if you need more, see their home page at Postie Plugin.

At a minimum, you will need the email server and login information on the "Mailserver" tab:
 
On this same page you can set how frequently Postie checks the mailbox for new messages. Start with "Manual" or very frequent for testing. You can reset it later.

On the User tab add the "From:" email address you use in ONTRAPORT under "Authorized Addresses".

You can select the default category to post the message in on the Message tab. Here we are using "News".

Postie has many other options you can configure. The above options should allow you to the test the functionality.


Configure ONTRAPORT

  1. In the Field Editor, create two new custom fields. Create a "text field" and name it "Postie Start". Create another "text field" and name it "Postie End". Leave the checkboxes for unique and required unchecked.
  2. Create a new contact record, using the unique email address you created above. Type "Reader" into the First Name field.
  3. Find the field "Postie Start" and enter :start into it.
  4. Find the field "Postie End" and enter :end into it.

Formatting Your Email to Use Postie

Postie will post the content between the :start and :end tags in the email. This allows you to avoid posting your logo or a salutation such as "Dear [First Name]" on your blog post, or having the unsubscribe footer information show up in your post. Insert the merge field for the "Postie Start" field below the salutation or logo you don't want included. At the very bottom of your email insert the merge field for the "Postie End" field.

Because you entered :start and :end in the Contact Record fields for the email address the merge fields will have these tags added to that particular email. Because no other Contact has any information in those fields the merge fields will collapse gracefully and they won't appear in any other email. Nice!

Testing it Out

Sending an email to WordPress. Do it from the Contact Record by selecting the Contact with the Postie email address and selecting "Email" from the Action bar. Select the email you have formatted for Postie (with the merge fields).

In WordPress, activate Postie to check the email address. Postie should log into the email account and retrieve the email, parse it, and post the content between the [Postie Start] and [Postie End] merge fields.

Other Tips

You can create a page that lists posts from the Category you have selected using a custom template (included in some themes). This provides a single URL that will always display the most recent newsletter.  This functionality is part of the Wordpress core, and many themes include the ability to fine tune the display of posts by Category.

If you need to secure the content, add a PilotPress membership level to the Category displaying your "Post by Email" posts.

Frank Hagan

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