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Blogging Myth: The "Newsletter" is Different and Special

Monday, July 25, 2011

I'm often asked whether FeedBlitz, as well as doing RSS to email, can cover a blogger's "newsletter" as well.  People who ask this usually do so for a couple of reasons:
  1. They have a separate weekly or monthly newsletter list that they don't want to overwhelm with daily posts form the blog;
  2. They like to write "special" content for the mailing list so it is not just a recap of blog posts.
So can you do this in FeedBlitz? Yes, via our Newsflash feature.

But you shouldn't! Here's why:

Everything is Bloggable

If you're writing special editorial for your mailings list in the form of a newsletter, there's no value in limiting your content to just the mailing list. If you wrote that editorial as a blog post, it would be archived on your blog, be indexed by search engines, and you'll influence a wider audience. Don't just mail it, blog it!

So what you write instead of a "newsletter" is a weekly wrap up on your blog - perhaps on weekends when things are more quiet. Consistently tag / categorize it "Weekly Wrap" or "Newsletter." @CopyBlogger does this each and every week; it's a great way to summarize your week in a single post and to add extra editorial if you want. If it's good enough for Brian Clark and his hundreds of thousands of subscribers, it's good enough for you!

How Not to Overwhelm your "Newsletter" Readers

Easy: Only mail them the weekly wrap up, as opposed to your "blog subscribers" who get everything.

Here's how.
  1. Clone your blog's list in FeedBlitz via Newsletters - Settings - Clone.
  2. Change the name of your new cloned list to "Weekly Newsletter" (or whatever you want to call it)
  3. In Newsletters - Settings - Content Settings - Tag Filters, set the include tag to be "weekly wrap" (or whatever you decide to categorize those summary posts with)
  4. Import your "newsletter" subscribers to the list
  5. Done!
All you do to create your "newsletter" is post a weekly summary (which also goes to your regular readers, as well as generating google juice and SEO points for your site). Then FeedBlitz mails it out to your "newsletter" list automatically - without sending them the other posts, thanks to the tag filter.

It's probably less work for you, so you save time producing the "newsletter" plus you get the SEO benefits and an online, indexable archive on your blog, none of which you'd generate doing your "newsletter" the old fashioned way.

So that's the myth of the newsletter debunked - your blog can generate it just as easily as you can any other RSS to email mailing. In fact, it's better all around, thanks to the SEO and online archive benefits.

Get FeedBlitz to Produce a Weekly Wrap Automatically with No Extra Effort

If you don't want to add extra editorial (i.e. no weekly wrap up blog post) but you do want to send a weekly summary to a group of subscribers, you can automate that in FeedBlitz too.  You create your clone, but instead of setting a tag filter, you set it to have a weekly schedule and abridge the post content.  Once a week FeedBlitz will generate a nice digest of your week's posts and mail it out to your "newsletter" subscribers - zero extra work for you. All you have to do is import the subscribers from your legacy newsletter service.

So don't let your existing legacy newsletter hold you back. Using your blog and FeedBlitz together to generate both newsletter and bog / mail subscriptions is easy, saves you time and better for your SEO.

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Watch the FeedBlitz v4 intro video now

Thursday, July 21, 2011

FeedBlitz v4 is ready for its close-up, Mr. De Mille! At a little over three minutes this short video gives you a quick view into using the new user interface (and a link to get started too). Take a peek and then start your adventure into v4 (it's backwards compatible with "old" FeedBlitz).

If the thumbnail below is too small, click through to YouTube where you can watch it all the way up to 1280p HD!

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8 New School Ways to Build Your List Using This 50-Year-Old Technology

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The room was filled with bloggers of all ages. I was giving a presentation at BlogWorld Expo and I had lured these tech-savvy bloggers to my talk on the premise of unveiling the 50-year-old technology that was the hidden profit center of their blog.

What is this 50-year-old technology that I speak of? It's e-mail, and specifically marketing via e-mail. Now I feel like I'm preaching to the choir, but let me explain.

First of all, e-mail is not a new technology, it's not a cool new start-up that is getting a lot of buzz. It predates the Internet we know and love today, and was used by university researchers to share data.

But before you start saying that e-mail is irrelevant in our social media world, let's look at a quick study done by Microsoft and picked up by Mashable, which I believe highlights why it's so important to keep building an e-mail list even if you are building an online presence through social media.

You see, people are using e-mail more than ever. According to the study, 96% of people are either increasing their use of email, or keeping it stable. Only 4% of respondents use email less than they did last year.

People who are active on social media tend to use e-mail even more than other people. Surprising? Maybe, but I think it just means that we are becoming more interconnected and we want to you stay in touch with the people who are providing us with entertainment and value online.

So how do you build your list in this world of social media without defaulting to to 50 year old email techniques?

1. Value first

Build your list by offering something of value up front, and continuously sending the best quality stuff to people on a regular basis.

2. Exclusivity

Be upfront about what's different for people who are on your list, versus people who read your blog, versus people who follow you on Google plus or twitter.

3. Make it easy

It's easy to think that everyone in your target market is on social media, but depending on what type of market you're in e-mail is still going to be the best means of communication. So make it easy for people to sign up via e-mail.

4. Push versus pull

E-mail allows for permission based marketing. To top it off, most people are checking their e-mails on a daily basis, versus people who might not even see your message because of the number of friends they have on Facebook and how much activity is taking place.

5. Don't send people away

Your e-mail list should be the biggest ad on your website. Do not send people away from your site by allowing them to click on an ad that makes you pennies. You could be building a long-term relationship with someone after they become a subscriber, and that is worth more than a few cents.

6. Speak to one person

It's easy to start looking at your list as a mass of people, but you need to remember that these are individuals and you should address your e-mails to a single person. That way every person who reads your e-mails feels special.

7. Consistency is key

Make it easy for yourself to remain consistent with your publishing schedule. Don't try to pack too much into your e-mails but rather attempt to deliver the most value in the most succinct and easy to absorb way possible.

8. Ask for what you want

Ask people to share your e-mails or your free gifts with their friends and family. Your content is new to people who have yet to discover you, even though you might be tired of talking about it. You have new fans that have yet to discover you.

Let's do it!

Keep on building your list, because e-mail is here to stay. There are plenty of ways to differentiate your list from those of your competitors and most of the advice comes down to being a good listener and treating your people like gold.

Leave a comment below and let me know what one tip resonated with you the most!

About the Author

Nathalie Lussier is an online business triple threat, she combines marketing with web design and technology. Find out more about building your list by watching her free list building webinar here, and you'll also receive her free weekly Getting Techy With It newsletter.

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Why @Klout has it wrong: The Intersection of Attention & Influence

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Klout and services like it seek to measure your influence - that's not a bad idea.

Where Klout goes wrong, I think, is that it then conflates all the different metrics down to a single score. I'm currently a 61 (See http://klout.com/phollows)

So what?

Inevitably, the issue becomes not about your influence per se, but your influence compared to everyone else's. Great for gamification and, depending on how you're doing, your ego, but we all know where a "mine's bigger than yours" mentality gets us in the end.

I am not Robert Scoble, nor Ashton Kuchner, nor Lady Gaga.

Nor are you.

Comparing our Klout scores is therefore a meaningless, apples to oranges exercise. It fails to answer the question I posed above: So what?

What is not important is your influence compared to everyone else. What matters is your influence among the people you want to influence. See the difference? Your influence is only important within your community (or, more cynically, within the community you're trying to reach).

So what you really need to do is find out who the key influencers are within your community.  That's what PR agencies are good at in more traditional media.

But there's an additional factor in play here: Attention.

It doesn't matter at all if you find the right people if you can't influence them. What you need to do is find the people with influence - one degree away from you, as it were - and who are also giving you their attention.  If you can find an influencer who's paying attention to you, you're in great shape. To be fair, Klout tries to give you some insight into that with the "influencer of" data - but it seems to select people you chat a lot with rather than people who really wield the power you may be seeking. It rarely seems to be right for me.

FeedBlitz v4 (which will be out next week not this due to some travel commitments and last minute performance tuning) has the ability to tell you this vital information. It can tell you who the influencers are that are also paying attention to you. It's part of v4's enhanced social media integration.

Every person we've shown this to has found out something interesting about their followers (it's largely a Twitter-centric feature right now). It will enable you to be much more focused when you're reaching out to key people in your community and your sphere of influence. Not a single, apples to oranges score, but a list of people who are listening to you and can massively amplify your message.  You save time and energy by gaining insight into the influence-brokers in your audience.

FeedBlitz v4 will also email you a report about your important followers (and unfollows), so you can spare your inbox from the death by social media notification emails. One daily digest to tell you who's new, who's gone, and who matters.

"So what?" I asked. Well, FeedBlitz v4 can tell you. Rolling out next week. Promise!

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Get the Kindle Edition of List Building for Bloggers

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

It's on the Kindle.
It's $9.99
It's a great price.
'Nuff said.

Click the image or click here to get it now for your Kindle.

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Countdown to v4: Easier Email List Management

Friday, July 01, 2011

The next version of FeedBlitz radically rethinks navigational organization for lists, feeds and social media marketing content distribution. It's faster to find what you want when you want it.

But we haven't stopped there. We've also simplified the pages used to manage your blog's email settings as well. For example, here's a screenshot of the v4 settings page for this blog.

The first thing to notice is that there's just one page - all the settings are accessible from there.  They're also presented in more or less plain English, so it functions as list documentation - something that wasn't available anywhere in prior versions of FeedBlitz. To change a setting, click the linked text that refers to it, and a popup appears. Make your change there and then - easy.

Advanced users who want to get straight to brass tacks can click the "Edit Settings Inline" button and get to a more traditional, form based approach.

Next week you'll see several posts about v4 countdown ... because we're opening this baby up the week of the 11th!

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