Now that the move away from Substack is behind me I wanted to briefly share how my current publishing setup for the main Elezea blog works. I’m posting it here on the B-Sides because I imagine this isn’t the type of thing people subscribe for over there!
I really wanted to have a system where all I need to care about is writing and publishing to the blog. I wanted the “syndication” side of POSSE to take care of itself without my intervention. I don’t think anything here is particularly revolutionary but I wanted to share in case it’s helpful to anyone else who want to do the same thing.
Here is an overview of how it works:
After I post to the blog, everything revolves around RSS. I am betting here that RSS, like email, is just too central to the web to ever go away. So once a post hits the site and gets pulled into /feed.xml, a few other automations kick off.
I have Zapier set up to post to social media sites. One important detail here is that I use the Zapier integration to post the Wordpress excerpt field as the “Description” of the post. Since the title of the post will be shown as an embed already, I didn’t want to repost the title as the text of the post. It forces me to take an extra minute or so to always write a good excerpt for a post, but it means the posts have more context to help people decide if they want to click through or not.
Zapier doesn’t have a native integration with Mastodon, but I used the instructions in this post to set that up via Webhooks. For LinkedIn I added Buffer as another step so I can post no more than twice a day on there. I will never understand LinkedIn but my gut feel is that the platform doesn’t love frequent posting. For Twitter I used the native Zapier integration.
For email I needed an RSS-to-Email solution. As far as I know only Mailchimp and Buttondown provide this as an option. I chose Mailchimp because (1) I can make the design match the site, and (2) I have more control over the frequency (emails go out on Mondays and Thursdays). I spent a lot of time tweaking that email to make it look good, and I’m pretty happy with how it eventually turned out.
So when all is said and done, there are a tons of ways people can subscribe to the site, and I don’t have to worry about copying and pasting stuff all over the place. In RSS we trust.
Want to subscribe? Go here!