A popular tactic for newsletters is curated content. This means summarizing articles and rehashing or expanding them in your own words.
We also use these as a component in our newsletter. Therefore we regularly collect news and articles from our industry that are worth reading.
The problem: I always forget about them and manually entering them in a list is too much effort.
So in this tutorial I want to show you how I built a solution for this.
It consists of a database, in my case Notion, a Chrome plugin, which is called „Save to Notion“ and a small automation in Make (Integromat), which sends messages to Slack.
„Save to Notion“ allows us with one click to save articles in our Notion database. The Make automation queries this database once a week and sends us an overview of all articles to our preferred Slack channel.
So, let’s dive in.
Growth tip 💡
Curating content as part of your content strategy can save you a lot of time searching for new content ideas, and it also shows your expertise.
You can take an article that matches the interests of your target audience and add some extra details to it.
For example, if you’re summarizing an article about SEO tips for your target audience this way, you can add your own tips to show your expertise.
This will help you create relevant content quickly and easily.
Build your content hub
To collect articles in Notion, we first create our content hub.
To do this, all we need is to create a new Notion page and add a table to it.
In the table I’ve created 4 columns:
- Title – This column shows the title of the article we are going to save.
- Tags – This column is used to categorize the article.
- URL – The link to the original article.
- Used? – A checkbox that indicates whether an item has already been used for the newsletter or not.
With the exception of the checkbox, all fields are automatically filled in by the Save to Notion plugin.
That’s basically it.
We don’t need to do anything more for our Content Hub at this point.
Now let’s switch to the Google Chrome Web Store (a similar tool is also available for Safari & Firefox – called Notion Web Clipper).
Setting up the „Save to Notion“ plugin
In the Google Chrome Web Store we need to download the following plugin:
Once it’s installed, we’ll find it in our browser in the upper right corner, next to all the other Google Extensions.
It’s helpful to pin it in the browser bar because every time we want to save an article, we have to click on it.
So activate the pin:
After we added it to our browser.
It will look like this (don’t be surprised if it looks different, move on to a blog, for example – because you can only use this plugin for news/articles/blog posts):
Before we can save articles, we need to set up the form as we want to fill it in our content hub.
We have to click „Add a Form“, choose our Notion account and the database (the content hub we set up earlier) where we want to save our content.
In the next step we can specify how we want to save all the articles:
The options are the following:
- Workspace: our Notion account
- Add to: selected Database
- Template: If we have created a template in Notion for how we want a single page to look, we can use it here
- Clip Page Content: If this option is checked, the entire content of the article will be saved in Notion (see below).
- Fields: Here we can specify which fields should be used in our database (next step).
In our case, we want the plugin to save the title of the article, add tags to categorize articles later, save the URL, and optionally save the website icon and content image of the article:
After we have edited our form, we can start saving articles.
Now let’s find an article that we want to save and click on the plugin. It will look like this:
After clicking on the form (here it is „Content“) we can save the article and get a preview of what will be saved in our Notion content hub:
This leads to the following result on our Notion page:
And since we checked the „Clip Page Content“ box when we set up our form, it will automatically save all the content in the Notion page of the record:
That we’ve now set up the plugin and the content hub, we’re ready to collect all articles and news in one place with one click.
Let’s create the automation that will send us a weekly overview of all added articles in our preferred Slack channel, so we have our newsletter matching articles ready every week.
Create the Make automation
This is a very simple automation that consists of two scenarios and looks like this:
Setting up the Notion module
Let’s start with the Notion module.
For this we add the Notion „Watch Database Items“ module and set it up as follows.
First, we’ll add the connection.
When we click „Add“, we can add our Notion account and select the database where we store our articles. The next step is to select how we want the module to monitor the database. In this case, we want to monitor it „by creation time“.
Next, we need to add the database ID, which I will explain in the next step.
And finally, the number of articles we want to send to our Slack channel in the weekly overview. Here, I selected 10:
Notion Database ID
The ID of the Notion database can be found in the URL. The official documentation describes this as follows:
„The database ID is the part of the URL after your workspace name (if you have one) and the slash (
myworkspace/) and before the question mark (
?). The ID is 32 characters long, containing numbers and letters.“
For example the ID in the following URL is this:
We can find our URL by either looking in our browser’s address or, if we’re using the Notion app, by copying the URL from our database under the „Share“ option:
Then we insert the database ID into the Make module and finish it by clicking „Ok“.
Right click on the module and select „Run this module only“ to see if it works and what data it outputs to us.
If we click on the small „1“ that appears, we will see that every data is there – from the URL to the title of the article:
Now we want to send everything to Slack on a regular basis to get a weekly update.
Setup Filter & Slack Module
For this we need the Slack module „Create a Message“. Then we are asked to connect our Slack workspace.
At „Enter a channel ID or name“ we choose „Select from the list“ and then in the next two fields we select our channel where we want to send our articles.
In the text box we enter what we want our message to look like.
In this case, I took some values from the Notion module to get the name and URL of the article.
The only thing missing is the filter, as we only want to receive messages/articles that are not already marked as „Used?“ in our Notion library.
Here we choose the filter to only let through entries that are marked „false“ and therefore empty and not checked:
Then we can set the time interval by clicking on the clock at the Notion module and set the date and time.
From now on, every Monday at the same time we will post messages in Slack with all the saved articles of the week.