Q&A With FeedBlitz CEO Phil Hollows

I didn’t know what a merry ride of inspiration this last week and more would be when all of a sudden Feedburner stopped distribution of my blog. It was something I didn’t monitor, didn’t care about, and didn’t want to learn; until it was broken. Then it was forced attention; the kind I love to hate.

Miraculously, a direct email campaign arrived in my box from FeedBlitz, “How To Migrate From Feedburner to FeedBlitz” with an ebook. That was all it took; didn’t care that I had to pay after a 30-day free trial (most things cost something) and didn’t care to do my research for something better. The timing was right and FeedBlitz has a reputable brand.

On my merry-go-round that is still circling, I had the pleasure of getting acquainted with Phil Hollows, the very accessible CEO of FeedBlitz who manages support questions, to my surprise.

A series of posts here, here and here last week launched the Feedblitz series on about 10 blogs with many more conversations about the whole RSS thing. It’s still a confusion for me, but it’s because I’m stomping my feet and trying not to pay attention.

Phil was nice enough to play along with me and answer a few questions for bloggers that don’t know why they need RSS, don’t know why FeedBlitz is so special, and generally are on the fence about migrating from free and dead Google Feedburner to something robust with email marketing and publishing.

Thanks, Phil for taking time from your Sunday to share some thoughts:

Soulati-‘TUDE! — What is RSS?

FeedBlitz — RSS is a standard format for producing a machine-readable form of your blog. (Jayme: what does machine-readable mean? That the blog can be read on all devices, desktops, tablets, notebooks and laptops, etc.?)

Soulati-‘TUDE! — Why do bloggers need RSS?

FeedBlitz — RSS is the glue that ties your site to other services and platforms, like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Every service or plugin that takes your posts and makes them appear somewhere else is using RSS to make that happen.

Soulati-‘TUDE!Should every blogger have an RSS feed?  Why?

FeedBlitz — Every blogger already has an RSS feed! All blogging systems produce an RSS feed by default. It’s actually work to disable. And yes, you should publicize it, so that visitors who don’t want to subscribe vie email can add your site to their RSS readers (such as Google Reader) and have your content pushed to them automatically.

Soulati-‘TUDE! — Do you cater to the largest bloggers or do you also realize that small bloggers grow to become big girls and boys?

FeedBlitz –– Every blogger starts with zero subscribers!  We at FeedBlitz welcome people who are just starting out – and we also serve the RSS feeds for some of the best known bloggers around, such as @Copyblogger with hundreds of thousands of subscribers.

Soulati-‘TUDE! — What are your differentiators over other options on the market today?

FeedBlitz – You need to track RSS statistics so you can monetize your blog better. FeedBlitz is the only RSS service offering both RSS feed statistics and email / social media subscription options.

Unlike the only other service with both options, Google’s FeedbBurner offering, which is currently failing to deliver any metrics and is completely unsupported, FeedBlitz is fully supported, continually under development, and has much greater flexibility in terms of RSS and email management.

Soulati-‘TUDE! — Your service charges based on subscribers; Feedburner didn’t. Tell us about cost per subscriber and whether a large blogger with many subscribers might be forking over a lot of cash for the privilege of using Feedblitz.

FeedBlitz — FeedBlitz charges for email subscribers; RSS readers come along for the ride at no extra cost to our paying customers.  FeedBlitz is price competitive with other premium email subscribers, but offers RSS serving and metrics and much more flexibility for blog email subscriptions than anyone.

A full list of features compared to Feedburner is here http://kb.feedblitz.com/article/AA-00444. As I write, FeedBurner hasn’t produced any metrics for anyone for over four days straight, and is completely unsupported. If you depend on your blog to generate business, and you depend on your subscription service to get your word out, the benefits of a small monthly fee (and working with a partner that respects you and your audience) compared to the current cost of free is surely obvious. If your blog is valuable to you, surely its subscribers should be served by a vendor that values them. (Jayme ponders: EXCELLENT point!)

Soulati-‘TUDE! — Why are you managing support questions yourself? You’re the CEO!  Is that like sweat equity? Or does it also give you the pulse of your customers?

FeedBlitz — I like the Craig Newmark (Craig’s List) approach – get on the front lines, see what’s what. We’re all hands on deck as FeedBurner has imploded. Finally, my being here makes everything real. I care about our clients and their communities and how we make a difference. Standing up and supporting them is a key differentiator. I’m happy to do it!

Soulati-‘TUDE!– What are the top three reasons a blogger should migrate to your service? i.e. what sets you apart?

FeedBlitz — Support, greater flexibility to reach your subscribers and superior branding.

Soulati-‘TUDE! — Tell me your impression of mid-tier and smaller bloggers — someone in my community suggested your marketing campaign is not tailored to all sizes of bloggers…obviously the largest blogger brings you the most money, but…

FeedBlitz — We’re tailoring our messaging right now to people who feel frustrated with and abandoned by FeedBurner. Everyone using FeedBurner faces the same challenges, no matter how large or small their site is. Size, in this case, really doesn’t matter. We want everyone using FeedBurner who wants a better, supported replacement to feel welcome here.

Soulati-‘TUDE! How many subscribers does your blog have? 

FeedBlitz — FeedBlitz News has about 30,000 subscribers, mostly via email.

Soulati-‘TUDE! Do you think subscribers are the de facto metric when it comes to blogging, or how do you measure blogging success? 

FeedBlitz –– Engagement is the winning metric; it indicates quality. I’d take 1,000 committed subscribers over a list with 100,000 people in it but nobody reading what we’re saying any day.

This has been a Soulati Media On the Street with Phil Hollows, CEO, of FeedBlitz. Bring on the questions for Phil, Peeps!