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How to Set Up an RSS Feed for a Substack Publication

How to Set Up an RSS Feed for a Substack Publication

Setting up an RSS feed for a Substack publication allows readers to access content through their preferred RSS reader, fostering greater connectivity and convenience. Substack users can easily find the unique RSS feed for their publication by modifying the publication’s URL. By appending ‘/feed’ to the Substack publication’s URL, one can quickly generate the necessary link for RSS integration.

RSS feeds serve as a tool for content distribution, helping to reach a wider audience outside the Substack platform. Moreover, these feeds support creators in maintaining a consistent relationship with their audience, irrespective of the readers’ email engagement. Adopters of this approach benefit from streamlined content delivery, ensuring that interested parties receive updates without needing to regularly check their inbox or the publication’s website.

Understanding RSS Feeds

In the evolving landscape of content distribution, RSS feeds serve as an essential tool for publishers. They offer a streamlined way for readers to stay updated with the latest posts.

What Is an RSS Feed?

An RSS feed is a type of web feed that allows users and software to access updates to websites in a standardized, computer-readable format. Substack, a popular platform for independent writers and publishers, provides publication feeds that can be accessed using RSS. These feeds enable readers to see posts, replies, and other activities from a publication.

Benefits of RSS Feeds for Substack Publishers

Accessibility: RSS feeds make content easily accessible to readers, who can subscribe and get updates without having to constantly check the website for new content.

Engagement: Publishers find RSS feeds beneficial as they help in maintaining regular engagement with their audience. RSS feeds ensure subscribers are alerted to new content, increasing the chances of returning readers.

Simplicity: By allowing content to be syndicated automatically, RSS feeds simplify the content distribution process for Substack publishers. This automation saves time and effort, enabling them to focus on content creation.

Setting Up Your Substack Publication

In setting up a Substack publication, one first creates an account and then personalizes their publication. This process ensures that the publication reflects the creator’s unique voice and reaches the intended audience effectively.

Creating a Substack Account

To start a Substack publication, an individual must create an account. This can be done by visiting the Substack website and clicking on the “Start a Publication” button. Users are prompted to enter their email, a password, and the name for their publication, which will also influence their Substack URL.

Customizing Your Substack Publication

Once the account is created, customization is key for standing out. Users should choose a title that is catchy and memorable. They also have the option to select a theme from the Substack directory or design their own to match their personal style. The URL should be straightforward, making it easy for readers to find and remember.

Generating Your RSS Feed

Setting up an RSS feed for a Substack publication allows readers to stay connected with content updates. The process is straightforward and can be done directly from the Substack platform.

Locating the RSS Feed URL on Substack

To locate the RSS feed URL for a Substack publication, one should navigate to the specific publication’s homepage. The RSS feed URL is usually found at the bottom of the page or in the browser’s address bar by adding “/feed” to the original URL. For example, if the publication’s URL is, then the RSS feed would typically be

Configuring RSS Feed Settings

Once the RSS feed URL is obtained, it is important for publishers to configure their feed settings. This can usually be done through the account settings area of their Substack dashboard. Here, they can manage how the content is displayed, who can access it, and what information is included in their feed like post titles, descriptions, and author names. Substack offers a simple interface for these adjustments to ensure that the RSS feed reflects the publication’s preferences and privacy settings.

Integrating RSS Feeds with Readers

After setting up an RSS feed for a Substack publication, the next step is ensuring readers can easily access the content through their preferred RSS readers.

Popular RSS Readers

There are numerous RSS readers available that cater to different needs and preferences. Feedly is renowned for its user-friendly interface and is considered one of the best all-around free feed RSS readers. Another notable option is NewsBlur, which allows users to filter their RSS feeds for a more customized experience. For those looking for advanced features like search and archiving at no cost, Inoreader stands out as a top choice.

Adding Your Feed to an RSS Reader

To add a Substack RSS feed to an RSS reader, readers must follow a simple process. Firstly, they locate the RSS Subscription option within their chosen RSS reader. Then, they need to input the Substack RSS feed URL. For instance, in applications like Microsoft Outlook, users would right-click the RSS Subscription folder, select Add a New RSS Feed, input the feed address, and confirm by clicking Add to start receiving updates.

Sharing Your RSS Feed

Once a Substack publisher has set up an RSS feed for their publication, sharing it becomes essential to reach a wider audience. Here are a few effective ways to share that feed with subscribers and on social media platforms.

Emailing Subscribers the RSS Feed

Publishers can directly email the RSS feed link to their subscribers. This ensures that even those who are not visiting the Substack publication page regularly can access the latest content through their preferred RSS feed reader. It is also a seamless way to introduce new subscribers to all the ways they can engage with the publication’s content.

How to Email the RSS Feed to Subscribers:

  1. Compose a new email to your subscriber list.
  2. Include a brief explanation of what an RSS feed is and how it can be used.
  3. Provide the RSS feed link and instructions on how to add it to common feed readers.

Promoting Your RSS Feed on Social Media

Sharing the RSS feed on social media platforms helps in reaching non-subscribers who might be interested in the content offered. The publisher can create posts with a call-to-action, encouraging followers to subscribe to the feed for regular updates.

Steps for Promoting on Social Media:

  1. Create a captivating post about the availability of the RSS feed.
  2. Include a direct link to the RSS feed in the post.
  3. Use relevant hashtags to increase visibility.

By following these methods, publishers can effectively distribute their RSS feeds and enhance their publication’s accessibility and reach.

Monitoring and Analytics

In managing a Substack publication, understanding audience engagement is crucial. Through careful monitoring and analytics, publishers can track subscriber trends and gauge content impact.

Tracking Subscriber Growth

Publishers should consistently monitor free and paid subscription counts as key indicators of growth. These figures represent how many individuals are interested in the publication and willing to pay for premium content. Substack provides metrics such as:

  • Total Views: The count of views across the web, email, and Substack app.
  • Free Subscriptions: The tally of people who subscribe to the publication without payment.
  • Paid Subscriptions: The number of subscribers who opt for paid content.

Analyzing Content Performance

Determining which articles resonate with readers helps tailor future content. Publishers look at metrics like post views to measure the reach and engagement of each piece. The data relevant for performance analysis includes:

  • Total Post Views: Reflective of how many times a piece of content is seen.
  • Engagement Metrics: These include likes, comments, and shares that indicate how readers are interacting with the content.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

When setting up an RSS feed for a Substack publication, users may sometimes encounter issues that prevent the feed from working correctly. Identifying and resolving these problems is crucial to ensure subscribers receive updates promptly.

Feed Not Updating

Symptoms: Subscribers report that they are not receiving new content from the feed.

  • Check Feed URL: Ensure that the URL is correct and accessible. The correct format is, replacing your with the publication’s specific name.
  • Verify Publication Settings: In the Substack dashboard, confirm if the latest content is published and not in draft mode.
  • Content Propagation Delay: Be aware that feeds might not update instantly; it might take some time for new content to appear.

Feed Displaying Incorrect Information

Symptoms: The feed shows outdated titles, descriptions, or links.

  • Review Feed Content: Manually inspect the feed in a browser or feed reader to confirm the information.
  • Update Refresh Interval: Instruct subscribers to check their feed reader settings for the refresh interval; it may be set too infrequently.
  • Check For Code Errors: Errors in custom HTML or Markdown can cause feed display issues; validate the code for any syntax errors.