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Join us for a 7 day crash course on overhauling your comments and engagement using Postmatic

The Postmatic family of plugins has grown to include 5 unique applications spanning a huge variety of technologies. They all related to the same thing: engagement. But it is admittedly overwhelming.

We now make plugins to handle blog subscriptions, newsletters, comment notifications, web commenting, social commenting, decentralized moderation, and of course email commenting. Add them all together and you have something special.

While we are always available to walk you through overhauling engagement on your WordPress site, we have now created a free 7 day courseReimagining Blog Conversations with Postmatic. 

Seven days to overhaul conversations on your site. Here’s the outline:

  • Day 1: Plugins for laying a solid engagement foundation
  • Day 2: Installing and configuring Postmatic
  • Day 3: Forming a content delivery strategy and developing a template=
  • Day 4: Building your list and jumpstarting your community
  • Day 5: Sending posts with Postmatic
  • Day 6: Sending awesome digests & newsletters with Postmatic
  • Day 7: Keep the conversation going

To subscribe, simply comment on this post or head over here. We hope you enjoy it!

Our Top Tips for Encouraging Blog Comments and Engagement in WordPress

You have an awesome blog, right?

Of course you do.

And you have awesome readers, right?

Of course you do.

How are your comments?

Hrm…

We’ve been watching and participating in conversations on hundreds of blogs since launching Postmatic. We have seen some sites with hundreds of comments per post. And others with crickets. Even on great posts. We admit we haven’t cracked the code yet as to what makes for good commenting material. Sometimes it’s the content. Sometimes it’s the audience. Most of the time it seems to be about timing.

The fact is that it takes work to get the ball rolling with blog comments. There are things you can do to help create an environment where people will not only feel encouraged to comment, but compelled to comment.

Here is what we have learned so far.

Our Top Tip: Content Matters

If you want to get people talking you have to give them something to talk about.

We used to get discouraged by watching early adopters like Tom McFarlin seeing little to no gain in numbers of comments after installing Postmatic. But then we’d see someone like Danny Brown using our products to get a 210% increase in commenting. And we’d scratch our heads.

The reason Danny gets hundreds of comments per post and Tom only a few has to do with what they are blogging about. At the end of the day you have to be writing about something conversational rather than instructional if you want to generate comments.

Tom writes fantastic WordPress tips and tutorials. They are straightforward and the comments section gets used by his readers to ask clarifying questions or share alternative products/techniques. Danny writes about life, parenting, and the little stories that happen around us every day. His comment area quickly fills with anecdotes, banter, and a volley of differing opinions.

WordPress Tavern illustrates this point perfectly. It is a tech-news site that occasionally publishes an opinion piece or behind-the-scenes story. Day-to-day they get about 5 or 6 comments on each post. But once or twice a week they’ll publish a piece that dives into the political nuances of the WordPress ecosystem and it will generate hundreds of comments. Content matters.

End Your Blog Post With a Personal Question

Asking for feedback shows your readers that you value their opinions and care about what they think. And by directly asking for comments, you are opening a welcoming door to conversation. Your question can be as simple as “What do you think?” Make the question open-ended so people give you meaningful responses, instead of just answering with a yes or no.

Use Previous Comments as Inspiration for Future Blog Posts

Blog comments can sometimes be better than the original blog post. Why not extend the conversation by using these comments as fodder for new posts? In doing so, you reward commenters for participating on your blog by highlighting them – they’ll see that you value them and their opinions.

Be Controversial

People are passionate creatures and boy, do they have opinions. A great way to get folks to comment is to write about a provocative topic – one that stimulates a gut response and can’t be ignored. Be careful not to cross the line into offensive territory with your content – you don’t want to damage your brand. If you’re concerned about keeping the discussion respectful, make sure that you have a published comment policy and enforce it as needed.

Make People Think

You wouldn’t be writing blog posts unless you had something good to say, right? Well, how about offering something that really gets people thinking? Talk about something fresh and new or revive discussion on a subject that hasn’t been addressed for a while. When you put your stamp on a topic, you gain credibility as an authority.

Reply, Reply, Reply

Don’t leave your readers hanging – if they’re awesome enough to comment on your blog, respond to them! Answer all questions and say thank you. It doesn’t sound like much, but doing so demonstrates that you appreciate your readers’ participation. To not do so gives a clear message: I don’t care. And don’t forget – with the ability to reply via email, Postmatic makes this super easy to do, and it’s smart enough to send your short note of thanks only to the person you are responding to.

Customize the Text Above Your Comment Box

You’ve got a juicy piece of real estate where you can invite people to chime in – the spot above the comment box. Why settle for “Leave a Reply”? Make your pitch for participation by changing the text to “What do you think?” or “Have anything to add?” If you aren’t sure how to do this on your site you can do it easily with Epoch.

Make It Easy

Don’t force readers to jump through hoops to leave a comment – keep it as simple as possible. Requiring that people log in creates a barrier and takes some of the spontaneity away from the commenting experience. You really don’t need more than someone’s name and email address in order to accept a comment.

For bonus points, implement Postmatic Social Commenting – it lets readers comment using their social profiles.

Listicle Love

And number 9 on our list of ways to get people to comment on your blog…

You may hate ’em, but listicles are big right now. They offer easily digestible nuggets of wisdom to those with full-length blog post commitment issues. Why not invite your readers to add to your listicle? They’re a natural for drawing readers into the conversation.

So Now You Know What We Think. What Do You Think? 

Do you have a great way of getting folks to comment on your blog? Let us know all about it in the comments below.

See what we did there?

Meet the team behind Postmatic

With our big launch behind us we are finally finding time to build out the finer details of our marketing and website.

We’ve gotten a lot of questions about who we are, how big our team is, and what other products we make. Last week we wrapped up an About Postmatic page with team bios, a community snapshot, and overview of all our technologies.

If you’ve had questions about who does what here at Postmatic HQ – now you can find out.

Postmatic 2 redefines WordPress comments and blog subscriptions

We launched Postmatic 1 year ago. It has proved that people still love email and that blog engagement is more important than ever. Since then we have since been listening, learning and refining. Most importantly we have been completely rethinking conversations in WordPress and honing our tools for publishers of all sizes.

now

Let’s look at the big features and ideas

Digests for frequent publishers

We’ve grown our content delivery service to be a perfect fit for publications that are publishing even dozens of times a day. Postmatic Digests lets you configure daily, weekly, or monthly automatic newsletters of new site content. Include featured images, top comments, widgets, and more. Offbeat Bride has been using digests for a few months now and had this to say:

I’d been using MailChimp for my RSS newsletter for years, and due to its design limitations with RSS content, it was starting to feel like a costly embarrassment. Right out of the box, Postmatic’s digests look clean and modern — I could never get my MailChimp RSS newsletters looking anything more than barely cobbled together.

Redefining comment notifications with Comment Intelligence

We began by asking the question should we really be sending all comments? The answer was an obvious no. So we had to decide what makes a good comment? If we could come up with a system for automatically identifying only the best comments in a conversation we could hold back anything that wasn’t adding value or moving the dialogue forward. So we did. And we call it Comment Intelligence. Say goodbye to nice post, dude.

Comment Intelligence is good for limiting email, but it can also help you bring the conversation above the fold for better engagement. Check it out over on Danny Brown.

Scaling email commenting to 1,000 comments per post

Postmatic will automatically throttle comment notifications depending on how active a post is. When appropriate, new comments are emailed immediately. Otherwise they are saved up for a daily recap. Now we’re a perfect fit even for active communities like Elegant Themes.

Smart templates which adapt to your theme

Wrap your posts, digests, or comments in a template that automatically adapts to match the colors and typography of your theme as well as the content within. Our digest templates even adjust their layout depending on number of posts and what sort of images are available. Have a look.

Send perfect post content… or something else entirely

Postmatic Precheck analyzes your post content before you hit publish. If there is any content which may not hold up well in email, we’ll let you know. You can then fine tune the emailed version before it gets mailed. Or, make the emailed version completely different than the web. It’s up to you. A handy addition for the page-builder lovers out there.

Integration with 500+ other apps

You can now send Postmatic subscribers to 500+ other applications and services. Things like MailChimp, Google Sheets, Infusionsoft, Salesforce and Drip.

Our Zapier integration uses Webhooks to send subscribe and unsubscribe notifications to the application of your choice.

Less email, more smarts

If there was one theme to define Postmatic 2 it would be less is more. Postmatic 1 proved two-way email was possible in WordPress. We have listened to every pain point, revised every feature, and rethought what it means to make conversations happen on your site. We hope you love Postmatic 2 as much as we do.

Postmatic team member signatures

 

 

 

Sneak Peek at Postmatic 2: Digests

This will be the final post in the series previewing features and technologies coming in Postmatic 2.

The final big reveal is Postmatic Digests

Digests let you send a periodic summaries of all posts published during a set time period. An example would be a weekly digest of all your content.

It’s been done before, but never like this:

digest

Email marketing solutions like MailChimp or AWeber have had digest functionality for a few years now. They work by scraping your RSS feed, parsing it, and spitting the results out in a relatively bland template. A friend and early beta tester of Postmatic 2 put it this way:

I’d been using Mailchimp for my RSS newsletter for years, and due to its design limitations with RSS content, it was starting to feel like a costly embarrassment. Right out of the box, Postmatic’s RSS digests look clean and modern — I could never get my MailChimp RSS newsletters looking anything more than barely cobbled together.

Ariel Meadow Stallings | Offbeat Empire

Postmatic has an advantage: we are native to WordPress. That means we have access to your full posts, images, author bio info, comments, and the general pulse of your community.

How it works

Setting it up

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You start by giving your digest a name. That’s pretty simple. Just below the name box is a wysiwyg area which lets you enter any content you want.

Screen Shot 2016-05-11 at 3.26.08 PM

You can even use it to make your digest be quite a bit like a newsletter. If you have your digest scheduled for Sunday night, log in on Saturday to write a quick recap of the week. It supports shortcodes and widgets as well. Add a video, and RSS feed, or anything you want.

Choose from 5 amazing layouts

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We are very proud to say that our automated digests are hands-down the best looking solution available to publishers. We build templates which are responsive not only when viewed on a variety of devices, but which also automatically adapt to your weekly content. No featured image on a post? No problem. Only two posts this week? We’ve got it covered.

The templates also of course adopt typography and colors from your active theme. Add in widgets in both the header and footer, and the sky’s the limit.

It’s the little details

Each template pulls in different kinds of information from your WordPress database. Some are more suited for news sites which may have a variety of authors and heavily use categories. Others are geared toward chatty communities. One feature they all share which we are particularly proud of is the comment context feature:

Screen Shot 2016-05-11 at 3.34.54 PM

For each post which has comments we display not just the number of comments, but also highlight important community members involved in the conversation. This does a lot for getting more people engaged in the comments.

Add to my inbox. Awesome.

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This is a special feature for those of us who live in our inbox. If enabled, each post within a digest will have a special little link that says Add to my inbox. Clicking that will package up the entire post along with all comments and mail them to the subscriber instantly. They can then read through the whole post and reply to each comment they’d like to. It’s a great way to read through a digest, pick the stories you like, and have them all queued up for reading later. During our beta tests I’ve quite fallen in love with it.

Choose a subject line. Keep it simple. Or make it smart.

Next you choose a subject line. There are two options:

Screen Shot 2016-05-11 at 3.26.40 PM

  1. Name and date (Acme Daily Digest | May 11, 2016)
  2. Smart subjects based on post activity (How to Catch a Roadrunner + 3 more posts from Acme Daily Digest)

The smart subjects are particularly cool. They are automatically generated based on which post from the digest period has seen the most traction and popularity.

Set a schedule and off you go

Finally, you choose a schedule. First you decide how many days should go by between digests being mailed out. A daily digest would be 1. A weekly digest would be 7.

When the digest is mailed Postmatic will grab all of the posts that have happened in the last X days and package them up for mailing.

The last step is to choose when to start sending your first digest. There is a nifty calendar picker. Set it and you’re done.

Screen Shot 2016-05-11 at 3.26.50 PM

A video

I put together a video demonstration a few weeks back for a beta tester. It’s not production quality but still worth sharing. Have a look if you want to see how things actually work. You can see the video here.

A pile of gratitude

I’ll say it again. I love the team here at Postmatic. So many thanks to both Ankur and Dylan for making this happen. Digests was the #1 feature request for Postmatic 2. They both worked tirelessly to make it happen. It was a huge amount of work but very much worth it. We hope you love it.