You Can Make Your Own RSS Feed for Newsletters

You Can Make Your Own RSS Feed for Newsletters

I understand why newsletters took off and RSS didn’t. Most people are never going to download a dedicated app for reading news and take the time to set it up—but everyone has email. That doesn’t change the fact that I, personally, prefer an RSS reader to keep up with news and another to manage my email.

The problem for people like me is that a lot of the best content out there is only available as a newsletter. Luckily, there’s a compromise, of sorts. Most newsletter services provide an RSS feed—but if not, you can usually just make your own.

Find existing RSS feeds for newsletters

Most of the major newsletter services—Substack, Buttondown, Ghost, and BeeHiiv—offer some kind of RSS feed. And in the case of both Buttondown and BeeHiiv, the feed is generally easy to find—just look for the “RSS” option in the header. Click that to open the feed, which you can copy to your RSS reader of choice.

Credit: Justin Pot

Other newsletter providers, including Substack and Ghost, don’t advertise the RSS feed in this way, but do offer a feed. The simplest way to find the feed for Substack and Ghost newsletters is to head to the homepage for the newsletter and add /feed to the end of the URL. For example, if you wanted a feed for https://annehelen.substack.com you can find it at https://annehelen.substack.com/feed. Copy that and paste it into your RSS reader.

Of course, some newsletters are hosted using different services, and those might have different URLs for their RSS feed. In those cases you could try out RSS Finder. This simple web app lets you paste any URL and get a list of feeds offered by that site. Generally, if an RSS feed exists, that service will point it out.

Note that RSS feeds generally can’t give you the full text of any subscriber-only issues of a newsletter. You should be able to click through to get the full content in your browser, but it’s a point worth thinking about.

Can’t find the RSS feed? Make one instead

Credit: Justin Pot

Some newsletters don’t offer any kind of RSS feed. The main newsletter providers allow writers to turn the feature off, if they want, and some newsletters are run on a custom setup that doesn’t offer any kind of feed. That’s where Kill The Newsletter comes in. This free tool, which we covered way back in 2015, can turn any newsletter into an RSS feed.

The service gives you a custom email address, which you can use to subscribe to a newsletter in the normal way. It also gives you an RSS feed, which will show all of the messages sent to that email address. Note that some publishers block this service, so if you set it up and don’t see any articles, that might be the reason.


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