FeedBlitz Users Speak! A Powerful Tool for Bloggers

FeedBlitzThe poor blogging world.

We’ve been dealt some serious blows in the last few months (she says, somewhat tongue in cheek).

Twitter changes its API, making it harder for chat moderators to run events. Yikes! Google Reader goes away, leaving readers clueless as to what to do. The horror!

And now, the writing is on the wall — at least in my mind — for other Google products, including the RSS service “Feedburner,” which automates post delivery to readers and email inboxes.

So, I’ve made the switch to FeedBlitz, the Feedburner alternative, and after careful consideration, urged my readers to do the same. In a post called “Moving From Feedburner to Feedblitz“, I shared the details of the scary migration process, and why I made the choice to undertake such a big project. [Read more...]

FeedBlitz in Action: By Users for Users

This post marks the first of a new series written by Feedblitz users for Feedblitz users. On Wednesdays we’ll be sharing guest posts from Feedblitz users, providing real-world examples of Feedblitz in action. These guest posts are opportunities for you to learn from other Feedblitz users and even get tips to help improve your blog, email and online marketing.

Jason K for FeedBlitzToday’s guest post is written by Jason Konopinski.

Since the launch of my site way back in 2010, I’d used Feedburner as my RSS and email subscription service.

It had always been the simplest (and generally the most effective) way for bloggers to offer subscription options to those consuming their content, either via email delivered directly to their inbox or through an RSS reader of their choosing.

Then things started to break.

My subscriber numbers started fluctuating wildly, and social shares through my various Triberr tribes had fallen dramatically.

Seeking Greener Pastures

Re-syncing would fix things briefly, but the inconsistency definitely left me with a bad taste in my mouth. And while I don’t have a staggering amount of email subscribers, I still put stock into my list. After all, you never know when a reader might turn into a client, business partner or close friend.

Inaccurate reporting from Feedburner had me seeking greener pastures and I didn’t want to think about how many readers had dropped away because my content stopped showing up in their reader or inbox.

Making the Switch

But I’m what you might call stubborn. I soldiered on, thinking that Google would sort out the issues and improve the reliability. Silly me. Finally, in September of 2012, I made the switch to Feedblitz and I’ve been happily using it every since. Luckily, I made the switch right in time as it was just a month before the scheduled deprecation of the Feedburner API.

FeedBlitz is the only third party service to match FeedBurner with both RSS feed services (feeds, analytics, metrics and so on) and it has a much richer array of email and social media subscription services for your blog. Making the switch was straight forward and uncomplicated. Nothing was lost and I even picked up some very cool new social features for blog syndication.

Professional Grade

For example, if you wanted to subscribe to my blog via Twitter, Feedblitz generates an @mention to me. This happens whenever a new post goes live. These are the kinds of diverse and customizable content delivery options that initially caught my attention and my loyalty as a paying subscriber.

Yes, Feedblitz is a professional-grade tool that carries some cost. I treat that minimal fee (scaling based on email subscribers) as an investment into the quality of my readers and into my business. I’ve always believed that you get what you pay for when it comes to using free tools. Consistent and accurate delivery of my latest posts to my most valued readers means leads and conversions — you know, the stuff that makes me money.

Your blog’s subscribers are the ones that you don’t want to lose. They are your most ardent fans and supporters of the community that you’ve built, and to me, they’re worth a great deal. Feedblitz has ensured the posts I spend time writing, for the benefit of my readers, actually get there. Case in point: while researching this post, I was able to lay out some templates for lead-nurturing campaigns using auto-responders and advance list segmentation.

Your readers are worth it. Don’t skimp.

FeedBlitz’s Podcast Capabilities: In-Depth

Expanding on yesterday’s news of FeedBlitz’s new podcasting capabilities, here’s a more detailed look at the features added to the service:

iTunes new feed tag insertion

Possibly the most important function, especially from a FeedBurner migration perspective, FeedBlitz AutoCast adds the required element to your podcast feed so iTunes can seamlessly transition all subscribers to the new feed source without having to lose a single audience member.

Download tracking

Podcast files are linked into RSS feeds using “enclosure” elements. When AutoCast is enabled, FeedBlitz tracks enclosure accesses separately from other links within the post, reporting them as downloads (D/Ls in the reports pages). It’s entirely possible, depending on the nature of the subscriber’s podcast app, that other links and tracking from the post will not be available to subscribers. Tracking downloads separately shows you the true reach of your content.

Automatic enclosure creation

No podcast? No problem! With AutoCast switched on, FeedBlitz will find any audio, video, or flash file that you link to in the post and create an enclosure from it if one isn’t already there.

iTunes categorization

AutoCast allows you to set up to five iTunes category / subcategory combinations to be defined for the feed, making it more likely that iTunes and other podcast app users will find your podcast when searching for something new to follow.

iTunes podcast feed tag extensions

There are many iTunes specific fields that can be optionally added to a podcast RSS feed. If they’re not already there, FeedBlitz will create them automatically from the other tags in your feed. This creates a richer subscriber experience when browsing your podcast.

Highlighting podcast media for non-podcast subscribers in feeds and email

Any RSS feed can be followed via email or in an RSS aggregator / reader – and that’s true for podcast feeds too. FeedBlitz now adds a relevant audio, video or other icon to the post’s content in RSS and email to highlight podcast elements that might otherwise be missed by a non-podcast feed subscriber.

Automatic podcast detection in FeedBlitz’s FeedBurner migration service

And finally, for FeedBurner escapees, FeedBlitz’s FeedBurner import and migration tools will automatically detect the relevant FeedBurner SmartCast settings and map them to their FeedBlitz equivalents, so you don’t have to re-specify them in FeedBlitz.

New Podcast Capabilities with FeedBlitz AutoCast

Introducing “AutoCast” – the latest extension of FeedBlitz’s RSS feed management services for bloggers, podcasters and online publishers. Ideal for those seeking a FeedBurner alternative, FeedBlitz’s AutoCast features provide a new option for producers seeking a replacement for the old FeedBurner SmartCast service.

FeedBlitz AutoCast Settings

While replicating the most useful and commonly used features and benefits of FeedBurner SmartCast for FeedBurner refugees, one critical feature has been added to enable podcasters and video bloggers to migrate their iTunes feeds to FeedBlitz without losing their audience. FeedBlitz’s AutoCast can optionally insert the iTunes <itunes:new-feed-url> tag to an RSS feed, redirecting iTunes to the podcast source’s new location. This enables simpler migration of iTunes subscriptions both to and from FeedBlitz, ensuring that podcasters and their audience can be assured they won’t be “trapped” at FeedBlitz like they have been at FeedBurner.

Key capabilities of FeedBlitz’s AutoCast service include:

  • iTunes new feed tag insertion
  • Download tracking
  • Automatic enclosure creation
  • iTunes categorization
  • iTunes podcast feed tag extensions
  • Highlighting podcast media for non-podcast subscribers in feeds and email
  • Automatic podcast detection in FeedBlitz’s FeedBurner migration service

Enabling FeedBlitz AutoCast is automatic from now on for feeds migrated to FeedBlitz from FeedBurner when FeedBlitz detects that the FeedBurner SmartCast service is active. AutoCast can also be managed from the FeedBlitz RSS feed’s settings page.

I’ll talk about the service’s capabilities in more detail tomorrow. Meanwhile, if you’re a podcaster, start a trial.

FeedBurner Officially Not Listening Any More

So is this how it ends – with a whimper not a bang.

Yesterday, Google officially shut down the FeedBurner twitter account – http://twitter.com/FeedBurner – and its associated (awkwardly – but revealingly – named) blog, AdSense for Feeds.

It’s a sad end for the once great FeedBurner brand. Google has long been tone deaf to users’ cries for help from FeedBurner, but they’ve now formally opted out of any and all conversations, shedding nearly 12,000 Twitter followers en route. Could you do that? Would you? I suppose at least they have at last stopped pretending to engage.

So. What does it say about a service when its social media presence is removed? It speaks volumes.

I have no insight into Google’s plans, but with the FeedBurner API officially deprecated, the blog and Twitter account now officially dead, what’s next? The forums, perhaps? And then what?

The FeedBurner service continues – for now. But if this action gives you pause – and it really, really should – and you want a supported, reliable, RSS and email automation service for your blog, podcast, publication, then download our free FeedBurner Migration Guide and see for yourself what’s involved in safely switching.