FeedBlitz: Rewind the Week – App Edition

FeedBlitzI had a realization while looking at photos taken on a recent cross-country road trip to Oregon.

There were typical “standing happily next to road sign” photos, some “standing looking not-so-happy next to cars loaded down with luggage” photos, and, I’m ashamed to admit, more than one photo of me and my 19-year-old niece standing (or sitting) side by side, both staring at our iPhones.

I guess you could say we’re both addicted.

I’m not rude about it—at least, I don’t think I am. I don’t keep my phone on the dinner table. I don’t glaze over and scroll through my phone when I’m hanging out with friends.

But waiting in line … or for the microwave … or for a commercial to be over? Yeah, I’m probably going to pick up my phone.

But it’s not my fault! There’s work. There’s fun. And really, there are just so many apps out there—new apps to suck up my time (and my phone’s battery) every day.

It’s in honor of this addiction that I pulled together this week’s FeedBlitz:Rewind the Week—it’s all about apps! [Read more...]

The Real Truth About SEO Success

SEOLet’s be honest, on the ladder of trustworthiness, search engine consultants fall somewhere between lawyers and members of Congress.

But nobody seeks us out at parties for our stories or makes Netflix shows set in the world of SEO.

No, instead you have two choices when it comes to SEO.

You’re either the nerdy Poindexter, sitting alone at his computer, muttering about meta descriptions and H1 tags, or worse, a snake oil salesman, promising the world that if you’ll just spend thousands of dollars on some magic formula that never quite seems to be finished, you’ll win the Internet. [Read more...]

FeedBlitz: Rewind the Week – Food Edition

FeedBlitz Rewind the WeekBy Eleanor Pierce

One of the things I find most exciting about this time of year is farmer’s markets.

See, I live in Central Oregon, where the High Desert climate limits the growing season, so these open air markets are really a summertime affair.

And from the first local strawberries to the last of the summer corn, they just make me happy.

And honestly, so do some of the other not-so-healthy foods of summer, from snow cones to burgers and brats. I guess I’m just an incorrigible foodie.

So naturally, while I was rounding up a few of my favorite news items for this week’s FeedBlitz: Rewind the Week, a couple of them jumped out at me, because they were about what I’m sure you can guess is one of my favorite topics: Food, glorious food! [Read more...]

Social Media Crisis: Stand Up to Your Critics

Social Media Crisis

By Ann Marie van den Hurk

When Honey Maid released an ad touting their #thisiswholesome campaign in mid-March 2014, they joined other brands such as Cheerios and Chevrolet in showing the diversity of American families today.

They also joined those brands in having to manage a social media crisis.

These brands are reflecting the changing face of American families.

Families which no longer resemble the ideal put forth in Norman Rockwell’s Thanksgiving paintings. [Read more...]

Feedblitz: Rewind the Week – July 4th Edition

FeedBlitzBy Lindsay Bell

What started out hopeful soon turned into a rough week for the good ol’ USA.

Americans are finally beginning to embrace the world’s most beautiful game, football (or soccer, depending on your land of birth!) but despite the newfound enthusiasm, and after a fight to the end against Belgium, the U.S. team was knocked out of the World Cup on Tuesday.

There have definitely been some sad faces around these parts, plus some hilariously creative and heartfelt online tributes to goalie Tim Howard, who played the game of a lifetime.

Fortunately, there’s a bright light at the end of this dark week.

More than a bright light, in fact. There’s the dazzling spectacle of today’s holiday, Independence Day!

So, as we Rewind the Week once again, we’re taking a look at some news related to the Fourth: Some of it sparkly and bright, some mouth-watering yet sad, and some a little sobering.

Let’s get started! [Read more...]

Four Essentials Your Social Strategy Needs to Succeed

Social StrategyBy Eleanor Pierce

So, you’re blogging away.

You’re building an audience.

You have great rapport with plenty of your readers, and now, you’ve even set up easy social sharing so every blog post goes straight to social.

So, are you done when it comes to social? Can you just clap the dust off your hands and call it a day?

Hardly.

There are a few more investments you’ll need to make in your social media strategy to gain anything out of a social presence — and that’s the point of participating, right?

There are benefits to spending your time on social media, but you can’t just ‘set it and forget it’. Which is actually a good segue to my first point about social media strategy… [Read more...]

I Need This Post to Go Out ASAP – How Do I Do That?

As part of the FeedBlitz support team, I’m regularly asked how can I send out a post immediately?

We understand that sometimes a post is time critical, maybe there is an announcement of a flash sale or a correction needs to go out.

FeedBlitz gives publishers the ability to send mailings immediately via two methods. The Newsflash feature allows publishers to send content directly to their subscribers. This content is added via a text editor within FeedBlitz and does not have to be in the RSS feed to be sent. (This is also a great way to deliver special offers to just your subscribers and not to the public at large).

The Newsflash feature can be found on your list’s dashboard by clicking the green Send a Mailing button in the upper right.

Another option is to use the On Demand feature, also found in the list’s dashboard by clicking the green Send a Mailing button.

The important thing to remember about On Demand is that it will not override an upcoming mailing. If your post is time critical and you do not want to simply paste the copy into the Newsflash Editor.  You must, after mailing the post, tag it to ensure it is not sent out at the regularly scheduled time. You do this by adding a tag to the Settings of your list to exclude from mailings. Personally, I use “noemail” to make it easy to remember.

Here’s how:

If you have any questions, we’re ready to answer them via email, chat, or phone Monday – Friday 9-5 Eastern and of course you can find us on Twitter @FeedBlitz, @HeatherSolos, or @phollows.

CASL – A Quick Guide and the Death of Single Opt-In

CASL – the Canadian Anti-Spam Law – takes effect tomorrow, July 1st, 2014.

There’s a lot of fluff and BS floating around, and since there is no enforcement to date, there’s no real guidance from the authorities nor case law to follow. As far as email marketing is concerned, though, what CASL enforces is full-contact permission marketing, with an “implied consent” grace for where there is an existing communications relationship. OK, so what does that mean in practice?

CASL In a Nutshell

As we see CASL, it’s like this (remember we’re not lawyers, but we are passionate about best practice):

  • If your emails are all acquired by dual opt-in, you’re GOOD! Carry on!
  • If you’ve been mailing the list for some time, you have implied consent, you don’t need to reacquire permission for existing subscribers.
  • If you are a subscriber to an existing list, you don’t have to email the list owner or their email service to demand permission. If you want it, you’re OK.

Where does it get murky? Well, all those shady practices which you ought not to be doing anyway just got a whole lot riskier.

  • Do not buy or rent lists. Ever. This was true before now, but now it’s EXTRA true, because million dollar fines.
  • Don’t use third party services to acquire email addresses.
  • Email appending looks really risky going forward, don’t do it. h/t copyblogger for that one.
  • Don’t add someone to your list who: Gave you a business card / is a LinkedIn contact / was an attendee at a conference you sponsored.
  • I’d be really uncomfortable if you run promotions or competitions, such as on Facebook, where you acquire unvalidated email addresses.
  • Single opt-in? No. No. No.

CASL is the Death Of Single Opt-In

Why? Because there’s no proof of permission, that’s why, which is what CASL is all about. I’d argue that acquiring email addresses and mailing them via single opt in is now fundamentally illegal under CASL and a massive business risk. Without verification and confirmation of the would-be subscribers intent, you can’t say you have permission. You just have an email address. And so you fail the CASL sniff test. Period.

Single opt-in could even be used maliciously to add a third party Canadian email address to your list, with the purpose of having them sue you when you bulk mail them.

Likely? Eh (hehe, it is a Canadian law), probably not. Possible? Maybe.

I’ve heard publishers complain that they “lose” subscribers in dual opt-in because not everyone completes the process. That’s the whole point. Someone who puts their name into a form on your web site is NOT a subscriber until they confirm. Put another way, you want people who want to be on your list on your list, and you don’t want people who don’t want to be on your list on your list (read that a couple of times, it actually makes sense). Not everyone who starts the process completes it because they’re just not that into you. And that’s OK.

Single opt-in cannot provide the proof of permission that CASL demands.

CASL requires PROOF.

So: If you haven’t already, make sure you’re using dual opt-in. Stop shady email acquisition. Embrace best practice (it’s called “best” for a reason, people). And then, relax. You’re going to be fine.

Bots Behaving Badly and your RSS Stats

Seems that a rogue bot (it shows up in your RSS metrics as “experibot_v”) has been busy this weekend, and has artificially inflated RSS subscriber tallies. So panic (or rejoice, depending on your mindset) not: It’s not real eyeballs and we’re fixing everyone’s metrics to eliminate it from your results.  I’ll update this post as when this task has been completed.

Update: 2014-06–30 10:30 EDT: All fixed up!

FeedBlitz: Rewind the Week – Golf Gadget Edition

FeedBlitzBy Phil Hollows

It seems like plenty of people are wandering around in the mornings a little bleary-eyed these days.

I suspect one thing: These lovely, long summer nights.

When the sun stays up so late, it’s hard to bring yourself to start thinking about bed, right?

Ok, it’s either that, or heatstroke.

Either way, it’s perfectly understandable.

Well, it’s another morning. And it’s time for another FeedBlitz: Rewind the Week.

So, let’s dig into some of the news you may have missed! [Read more...]