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! 

Contest Now Open: Win IT Help Migrating to Feedblitz

By now everyone knows I’m on a Feedblitz migration kick. My post this week launched a barrage of migrations from Feedburner to Feedblitz, many blog posts about it and even more thinking about how and when and why to do it.

I’ve already been in touch with Phil Hollows, CEO of Feedblitz , to invite him to do a Q&A with me – heck, we may even do a video or podcast? Should I get that crazy with him? I’ll try to address the many troubles readers are concerned with; including me!

Put that aside…here’s the really exciting thing this morning!

Contest Open Now

I got an email from Rebecca Caroe of Creative Agency  Secrets. She works directly with Phil Hollows of Feedblitz. As is my duty to do the due diligence, I asked Phil for a vouch. He confirmed that Rebecca is legit, and here’s what’s so cool about that…

Three lucky members of the Soulati-‘TUDE! Community have a chance to win a free tech consulting project to help them migrate their blog(s) from Feedburner to Feedblitz. Rebecca wins because she can fine tune her service offering; you win because you don’t  need to experience the headache I did to migrate my blogs to Feedblitz (and still tweaking). So, just in case you don’t get it; Rebecca’s team is going to do your entire migration for you; you need do NOTHING (except the two little thingies below).

Two little caveats when you’re chosen to become the winner:

  • Feedblitz offers a free, 30-day trial; a credit card is required to register up front although it won’t be charged for 30 days.
  • Logins and passwords need to be shared for both Feedburner and Feedblitz with Rebecca’s team to get the migration complete.

How to Win

I’m going to make this real easy for us all.

  1. In comments below, add your “Count me in,” and you’ll officially be entered in the contest.
  2. By Friday 5 p.m. EDT, the contest closes; no more entries.
  3. I’ll write all the names in an email to my Mom and ask her to pick 3 names off the list. She’ll have no clue because she doesn’t read this blog.
  4. I’ll announce the winners in comments over the weekend.
  5. I’ll connect winners with Rebecca on Monday and step out of the way!

Easy Peezie, Lemon Squeezie…I always try to say that when the opportunity is ripe! Heh.

Let the games begin! Remember, contest closes at 5 p.m. EDT Friday this week!



Little Bloggers Rule

I’m pointing a finger at Phil Hollows, the CEO of Feedblitz, with whom I’ve become so very acquainted over these last 10 days since I decided to migrate from Feedburner to Feedblitz.

I wrote a blog post on my experience (link above), and Phil wrote a case study including me alongside my good friends Danny Brown and Jay Baer. No one would argue these two are short of A-listers (because all the A-listers fully deny they’re anything at all related to such a moniker).

What Phil said in his case study about my blog is that I am a “little known blogger.” (He said after that he should have said, “little known to him.”) No worries, Phil!  I happen to know that my blog post  about Feedblitz has influenced no less than six migrations to your Feedblitz service and about four blog posts (that I’m aware of).

Now, mind you, I was not influenced by Danny Brown’s post to migrate to Feedblitz. I had seen it, but the email marketing campaign Feedblitz sent to me worked.

And, I do agree with you, Phil…in some regard…I’m a little blogger, but not little-known, at least in social media circles.

Not So Good Little Blogger Facts

  • This blog has few to no subscribers. Subscribers are NOT one of my metrics for blogging success. (Well, OK, that’s really lame; I ‘m gonna work on that!)
  • There is no newsletter. Not for lack of interest; it’s for lack of time.
  • The RSS feed I had was really just for my daily blog post, and I never knew how to use it. (Now, Feedblitz can share all my content from two blogs, comments elsewhere, tweets, Facebook posts, and more.)

 Awesome Little Blogger Facts

  • #RockHot community with comments that are so in-depth and insightful they can become blog posts on their own.
  • Readers who lurk, like and tweet about what they see.
  • Positive commentary everywhere that shows my content sings (based on what people tell me).
  • Passion about my topics, profession, teachings, sharing, engaging, and so much more.
  • More than 2.5 years blogging and a year blogging on another blog.
  • Contribution to the future of blogging that no one can deny.
  • Consistent growth with tweaks and tech that help nurture newbie bloggers (because there is always someone newer).
  • Mentorship of little bloggers and encouragement to stay the course.

So, Phil, and everyone else who regards subscribers as the best metric (especially when you make money off subscribers, I get that), it’s not always about the analytics. Although, Shelly Kramer would call me stupid for not putting that on top of the heap.

  • Bloggers have goals.
  • Stick to yours.
  • Publish genuine, authoritative and authentic content consistently.

One day we all will be that not-A-Lister blogger who got a start somewhere.

8 Tips To Migrate From Feedburner to Feedblitz

Credit: Feedblitz.com

There’s one thing that’s dead for sure — Feedburner, without a doubt. One day this week, Feedburner stopped sending my blog to Triberr and anywhere else. My blog was dead, too, because no subscribers or RSS feeds were getting my material.

Why? Because Google  bought Feedburner for $100 million in 2007 and shut it down.

As a blogger concerned with the front end and nice words you see on these pages, I didn’t pay attention to the hubbub surrounding Feedburner…until I was forced to pay attention.

I am proud to say that all by my lonesome I migrated Feedburner to Feedblitz with one simple ebook that appeared miraculously in my email box and I downloaded immediately — The Feedburner Migration Guide. 

If you follow this book, page by page with its excellent screen shots and simple, plain English instructions, you will be able to do this in about four to five hours. Now, mind you, this blog has no traction when it comes to a database, subscribers or even an RSS feed. In fact, I’m not even sure what I’d put in an RSS feed beyond my blog posts or how that gets populated.

If your blog has hundreds of well-earned subscribers, you’re probably going to want to ensure  you interact with Feedblitz tech support, and they are very helpful. I emailed a question to a general email box, and they got back to me after fixing my mistake and even looking at my blog.

Here are a few tips to make your migration smoother:

1. Uncover your log in and password to Feedburner; this is the first thing you’ll need.

2. Do not delete the feed from Feedburner unless you’re done setting up Feedblitz first.

3. Use the ebook and nothing else to guide you and follow the steps. I can’t say I understood everything in it; I just extrapolated the sections that I knew pertained to my use of RSS, and it worked. The screen shots are wonderful.

4. Don’t forget to go into your widgets and click on RSS. Change the feed source url to Feedblitz.

5. Download the Feedblitz plug in and activate it AFTER you delete the Feedburner plug in.

6. Write a quick test post and see if it appears on sites where your posts are republished, like Triberr and Social Media Today and Alltop, for example.

7. Go to someone’s blog like Joshua Wilner or Craig McBreen who have CommentLuv and see if your test post is picked up.

8. Don’t forget to add your new Feedblitz source feed url to all the sites/settings where you re-publish your blog — see 6 above.

If you have any questions, don’t ask me by any stretch! Use the book and the fabulous support desk at Feedblitz.

Here’s one more disclaimer, I have no idea how to use 1/4 of the solutions and options Feedblitz offers, but people have to learn somehow, right? I can’t tell you whether this is the best option for your blog, but Danny Brown just went there and if he migrated all of his subscribers, well you can, too.