Making the Most of FeedBlitz: Modified Feeds and AutoCast

Every second Thursday we’re going to be highlight some of the incredible ways that FeedBlitz can help you with your community building and sharing of content. Today, we follow up on Tuesday’s post on integrating third party content and walk you through creating category specific feeds. As well, we explore using AutoCast, an extension of FeedBlitz’s RSS feed management services for bloggers, podcasters and online publishers, to migrate your iTunes feeds to FeedBlitz without losing your audience.

Dicing Feeds with RSS Tag and Category Filters

One of the great things about a FeedBlitz RSS feed is that you can do more with it than simply share the feed URL. You can use filters to modify what the feed shows to subscribers. This enables you to create category-specific feeds automatically, which can then be used to create category-specific mailings.

You do this using path modifiers, /tag/ and /not/, to pick what you want in or out, respectively. If we use the FeedBlitz News RSS feed as an example (, they could be used like this:

All posts tagged “FeedBlitz” only:

All posts except testimonials:

You can have multiple /tag/ and /not/ modifiers in a single feed URL. If you have multiple modifiers they are an OR, not an AND, i.e. All posts matching ANY of the selections will be included in the criteria.

Why is this useful? Because now you can use these feeds to create category specific content that can be served to a web site via an RSS widget, and create custom mailing content for niche audiences. Or, if you want to avoid syndicating some articles beyond your web site, you can restrict what’s publicly available via RSS.

These filters work on both your feed’s tags and categories, which FeedBlitz consolidates into a single “keyword” list, against which the filters are then applied. So a post will appear in RSS feed with the filter /tag/happy if it is either tagged “happy” or in the “happy” category.

FeedBlitz AutoCast

FeedBlitz AutoCast is the extension of FeedBlitz’s RSS feed management services. Ideal for producers seeking a FeedBurner alternative, FeedBlitz’s AutoCast enables publishers using the old FeedBurner SmartCast service to switch. It also delivers value “ metrics, monetization and migration “ for new podcasters seeking to take advantage of content distribution from services and tools like Apple iTunes.

If you’re switching your podcast RSS to FeedBlitz, AutoCast has a vital feature to enable you to migrate your iTunes feeds to FeedBlitz without losing your audience. FeedBlitz’s AutoCast can optionally insert the iTunes <itunes:newfeed-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 you can be assured your audience won’t be “trapped” at FeedBlitz like they might have been before.

When FeedBlitz detects that the FeedBurner SmartCast service is active during a FeedBurner migration, FeedBlitz AutoCast is automatically enabled (since February 18, 2013). Moreover, any feed can be podcast-enabled from the FeedBlitz RSS feed’s settings page.

iTunes New Feed Tag Insertion

Possibly the most important function in FeedBlitz’s podcast feed capabilities, 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.

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.

No Podcast?

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.

AutoCast also 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.

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.

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.

And there you have it. With all the chatter lately about FeedBurner’s possible (future) demise, I hope we’ve shown you a few reasons why FeedBlitz could easily – and efficiently – become your community building and content sharing choice.