We’re heading to Lake Huron to plan what’s next

Hey Everyone! Jason here.

Sorry it’s been so quiet on this blog. The Postmatic Team has had quite a summer.

After the launch of Postmatic 2, Dylan took a much needed month off to hide out in the woods, hunt for grubs, and run up and down mountains. It’s all true except for the grubs. He’s vegan, after all.

Elissa also took a needed break to head to Japan for a whirlwind tour of paper studios and conveyor belt sushi.

Following Dylan’s return in August my life became thoroughly derailed when my wife Denise and I moved our farm and family an hour south to Hartland, Vermont and began our next adventure: running a Bed & Breakfast. The move was difficult on our little ones but now school has started, most of our renovations are done, and things are settling to a new normal. Pro tip: moving stinks, especially when your roots run deep in the community you are leaving. Opening a Bed & Breakfast in a 230 year old house possibly makes up for it, though.

It’s time to take a good look at what comes next for Postmatic. Dylan and I will be spending the rest of the week staying with his family in Bay City, Michigan to take a look at how far we’ve come, and what we should do next. Postmatic has passed the viability test as a bootstraped startup. People love the products and technology. Our customer base is sustainable and happy. There are always lessons to learn from and the one staring us in the face is this: to take this thing to the next level we have to simplify. Maybe a full engagement platform is too much for the average WordPress site. Perhaps we should grow a few arms and release simpler standalone plugins. We’ll be looking at that and more in the coming days and weeks.

Expect to hear more from us soon, including the release of Epoch 2 later this month. I truly hope I find time to wrap up it up soon. It’s so close and so cool.

Keep in touch!
Jason

Take everything we know

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.

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