Monkey business Send email newsletters automatically with MailChimp’s RSS to Email

Posted by tom klein November 7, 2008 at 2:11 pm

RSS feeds are excellent tools for content distribution, but they haven’t been adopted by the masses. Most customers still prefer to get their updates and promotions via an email newsletter.

Thanks to MailChimp’s RSS to Email service, modern day bloggers and old-fashioned email lovers can meet in the middle. The service automatically sends out an email campaign when you update your blog content. And while RSS to email is not a new concept (we discussed such a service in Really Hot Mail), MailChimp gives your more control over the design and delivery of your campaign:

  • Style your email template so that it mirrors the look and feel of your web site. Or, just use the templates they have on hand. Either way, MailChimp pulls your RSS content and repackages it in a nice, neat email format.
  • Take advantage of MailChimp’s advanced merge tagging system, which lets you target customers by geography and tailor the content they receive – a handy feature if you want to integrate advertising or promotions for a specific area.
  • Manage your subscriptions and track who opens your email and clicks on links. You can even integrate Google Analytics!

MailChimp charges based on the size of your mailing list. Bottom line, if you’re a business who utilizes a blog to communicate with your customers- and you factor in the convenience of the platform, the design controls, and the value you get with the tracking and analytics – MailChimp might be a good investment, especially if it means that you can stop going through the regular hassle of creating a standalone HTML newsletter.

A great benefit of MailChimp's RSS to email service is the ability to integrate social bookmarking tools with your email newsletter. You can include links to Digg, Facebook, and over 20 other social media sites. And, thanks to the Google Analytics tie-in, you can track your campaign as it's shared beyond your mailing list.

In the recent Presidential campaign, one candidate figured out how to unlock the secret of how to get literally millions of people to donate relatively small amounts on a regular basis. Most companies are really trying to do essentially the same thing. The winning campaign sent a DAILY email to potential donors. How long has it been since you emailed your customers?


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Raising the bar Create a branded community toolbar with Conduit

Posted by tom klein August 12, 2008 at 11:57 am

Often the key to loyalty is just reminding people that you’re still there. Don’t forget me.

One way to keep your audience coming back is to provide them with a community toolbar from Conduit. Toolbars may seem like unchartered brand territory, but if you think about it, they’re a perfect vehicle for keeping your content front and center. With a Conduit toolbar, you can syndicate blog articles, website updates, and community conversations, as well as, customize your toolbar with your logo and hand-picked gadgets and applications that launch directly from your browser. Check out the feed growth! toolbar we created to keep you up-to-date on all of the fishy goodness.

Conduit community toolbars are free and can be created in a matter of minutes. Simply submit your URL, then walk through the step-by-step process to add your logo and desired accoutrements from the library. Conduit earns revenue by taking a piece of Google’s ad revenue pie (ads appear on results page, not your toolbar), so they can offer these features to you at no cost:

  • Google Search
  • RSS Readers
  • Media Players
  • Podcasts
  • News Tickers
  • Community Conversations (Chat and community messages)
  • Buttons for Gadgets and Applications
  • Links Menu
  • Pop-up Blocker and Cookie Cleanup Tool

Think of Conduit as a natural extension of your website. For your toolbar subscribers, it’s a great way to see content as it’s updated, learn about breaking news and events, and keep tabs on community activity and chatter. Your branded toolbar can even be used to launch promotions or special features on your site.

Conduit users can track their toolbar's success with a free analytics and reporting package. Track toolbar adoption and daily activity, such as installs, active users, and usage rates from your Conduit account.

Conduit provides you with the tools for launching and marketing your community toolbar, including a fully-hosted download site (which of course, can be customized with you logo and message) and banners ads that you can place on your site or others.


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R-S-S-P-E-C-T Monitor RSS feed performance and popularity with AideRSS

Posted by tom klein August 4, 2008 at 9:34 am

You can easily track the performance of your website or blog through a number of web analytics tools. But, for the crowd that receives your content through an RSS feed, it’s a bit of a guessing game.

That’s where AideRSS comes into play. AideRSS helps filter and rank feeds based on user preferences and settings. It was developed for the overwhelmed RSS reader, who pulls content from numerous news sources and blogs but doesn’t have time to weed through it all. The standout feature of this product is the PostRank scoring system, which ranks articles on their relevance and reaction in the blogosphere. It’s the engine that drives AideRSS and also a great tool for measuring readership levels and general buzz factor.

To get started, enter your site’s feed URL in the AideRSS search bar. We use and have covered Feedburner RSS system, so our URL appears like this: Immediately, we see the PostRank for individual articles and the number of conversations taking place through feed growth! comments, Digg, and The site also breaks down your entire content library and assigns the Top 20, then the “Best”, “Great”, and “Good Posts”.

AideRSS is a free and easy tool for gauging your site’s RSS feed performance. You may not know your RSS audience, but at least their reading habits aren’t such a mystery anymore.

Prefer to see the big picture? The BlogTrends Line monitors a feed's performance over time, enabling users to track the consistency and quality of their RSS content.

PostRank is merely a tool in the AideRSS arsenal for helping organize your personal RSS feeds. By re-purposing PostRank, we are able to monitor the popularity and conversations of a particular feed. With thousands of web applications and services coming out each year, the key is seeing beyond a tool's intended use and making it really work for you.


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  Moe's Tavern Create a mobile version of your website with Mofuse

Posted by tom klein July 16, 2008 at 8:17 am

Although the iPhone lets you surf the web with a regular browser, despite the hype, most of the world is not on a smartphone. It’s still a good idea to make your site mobile-friendly.

A service called Mofuse (short for mobile fusion) will create a mobile version of your website or blog in a matter of seconds. Technically, it’s an RSS feed with mobile-friendly packaging, but all your readers will notice is the fact that they can browse your site from their hand-held device. To get started, enter your url or RSS feed into the Mofuse mobilizer (found on their homepage). The system will generate a custom .mobi url (check out on your phone) and prompts you to create an account. Your new mobile site launches immediately and through your account administration panel, you can customize the design of your site, add your logo, or switch your mobile site to your own domain.

Mofuse already counts feed growth favorites!, ReadWriteWeb and Mashable, as users. The company recently discarded their old subscription-based business model to focus on developing a mobile advertising network, which they hope to release later this year. This means you get the Mofuse mobile platform for free, including site analytics and customer support.

It's not uncommon for readers to jump from their computer to their mobile and back again throughout the day. Mofuse has a built-in feature that lets you bookmark the full HTML url of an article, so you can continue reading after you put your hand-held down.

Marketers have been heralding the "Year of Mobile" for awhile now. Mofuse developers are hedging their bets (and their revenue) on mobile advertising to support their service. It doesn't really matter what year it is, there are some smart, low cost ideas like this one to get the ball rolling.


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Bot-dom feeder Track content across multiply mediums with FaveBot

Posted by tom klein May 12, 2008 at 2:38 pm

One of the biggest challenges of maintaining a blog (or newsletter) is keeping your content fresh. It requires meticulous monitoring of the Internet and other resources to find the one idea worth sharing. And the energy to repeat the process every day (week, month). No need to stress. With a little artificial intelligence, you can just delegate the work.

Favebot, which is short for “favorite robot” is a content aggregation tool and very easy to use. Sign-up for a free account and create a “Tracking List” by entering keywords in the topic field. Choose any and all types of content you are interested in. Favebot will track local events, new music/dvds/books, news articles, blog posts, and media (photos, podcasts, and videos). With daily searches and multiple updates on blog and news content, Favebot can be relied upon to deliver fresh content.

You can browse search results in your personal “Discoveries” tab or subscribe to updates via RSS feed or an RSS-to-email service. Its an easy way to stay up to date without an army of interns.

FaveBot can feed your blog or facebook/myspace page directly or be integrated with several widgets (widgetbox, spring widgets) for a simple content solution. You can just cut yourself out as a middleman and serve up your RSS feed.

When it comes to improving your organic search results, it’s survival of the recent. The Google search bot tends to favor sites that have a lot of content that’s frequently updated (assuming that it’s on a topic that’s relevant to your business).


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