Gini Dietrich

The Ins and Outs of Postmatic

By: Gini Dietrich | February 10, 2016 | 

postmaticBy Gini Dietrich

A few weeks ago, Danny Brown wrote a blog post here titled, “Spin Sucks is Making the Switch to Postmatic.”

Right before that blog post went live, we did, indeed, switch to Postmatic, a new commenting system.

Jason Lemieux, the platform’s founder, was awesome. He pretty much did all of the work while I sat back, ate bon-bons, and directed him.

It was no small job. Spin Sucks has gotten so large, it’s a bit unruly on the back-end. But he managed to figure it all out and make us look like heroes at the same time.

I’ll admit I was a bit panicked to take it live. After all, I couldn’t imagine that people would want more emails in the form of comments in their inboxes, yet here we are.

The comments have increased by about 30 percent.

Postmatic Gives Bloggers More Control

Let’s take a look at Postmatic, what it is, how it works, and what it means to you.

First, it’s a commenting system that, for the blogger, puts you back in control.

With Livefyre (which I loved with all my heart and still have a soft spot for), I didn’t have the contact information for anyone who left a comment. Postmatic changed that.

Now I have all of your emails addresses. Muah hahahaha!

(Just kidding; you know I’ll never abuse that.)

In all seriousness, we do now have you all in our system as users, which means if you want to guest blog for us (hint, hint), we already have your information set up to give you an author account.

If you have any trouble, we can easily help you without your having to create a user account, get a password, wait for it to arrive, change it, and go through all of that rigamorole.

If you want to leave a comment, it’s ridiculously easy to do by just hitting “reply” on the email that arrives in your inbox each morning.

While it gives me more control, it does you, too.

How Does Postmatic Work?

So here is how it works.

You subscribe via email (there is an RSS option, too, but that’s not the purpose of Postmatic).

Every morning, you receive an email that looks like this:

Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 5.34.44 AM

Now you have a few options:

  1. You can click “add it to my inbox” underneath each description and it will come via email.
  2. You can click “read it online” and it will bring you here to read it, and leave a witty comment.
  3. If you do the first option, now you have the opportunity to hit reply to the email with the full blog post in it to leave a comment.

Even if you never actually come to the site, you can participate in the conversation.

And, if you’re getting too many emails because there are so many comments here, one of two things happens: 1) You can tell it to slow the heck down; or 2) It sees you’re not reading as fast as they’re coming and slows it down for you.

How Can I Comment from Email?

Let’s say you’ve gone with the first option and have the blog posts now coming to your inbox.

Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 5.37.06 AMScreen Shot 2016-02-10 at 5.37.15 AM

This is what yesterday’s blog post looked like in your inbox (I cut out all of the copy for show-n-tell purpose).

See that copy at the end, though?

If you want to add a comment, you just hit reply to the email. Your email address will not be shown, and neither will your email signature.

One little reminder, however: If you intend to email one of us, you can no longer do that by hitting reply. You must forward it.

If you hit reply, your email will be in the comment section here.

That said, if you make a mistake, we can easily—and quickly—delete it, so don’t panic.

Help! It’s Too Much!

Now, let’s say you have each blog post coming to your inbox and it’s too much (we do publish twice a day here, after all).

All you have to do is reply and write the word “digest” and it goes back to sending you a recap of the blog posts for the day.

And, of course, if you want to unsubscribe, you do so by hitting reply to the email and typing that word.

Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 5.37.26 AM

From my perspective, I have more control (and can keep private) all of our readers.

From your perspective, you have complete control on how and when you receive blog posts and comments.

It’s a pretty cool tool.

The (Very) Few Cons of Postmatic

That said, there are a few things that make me a little batty:

  • The subscription box at the bottom of each blog post isn’t super pretty.
  • To do a double opt-in subscription page, I had to use OptIn Monster and Mailchimp. Then I have to manually import the new subscribers every morning. It’s not a huge deal—and I know customized subscription is coming—but it is kind of a pain (not one that outweighs the increase in comments, however).
  • There isn’t an author photo or bio on the daily digest. So you don’t know who wrote what unless you go to view it. We’ve been trying to add that information in the description for the time being.
  • You have to remember to add a featured image, if you don’t already use that function for your blog posts (we don’t). If you forget (and you’ll notice that’s happened a couple of times), an image doesn’t show up in the digest email.

I’ve had a few emails from some of you about what you don’t like and some of it I’ve been able to address, while some of it is out of my control.

Change is hard. It’s been hard for me, too. But with a 30 percent increase in comments and the ability to better engage one-on-one with each of you, I’m willing to work it out.

P.S. Does anyone want to place bets on how many comments come from Danny today?

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • “Oh Danny Boy! The comments, the comments are calling you…”
    I know, I know. He’s Scottish, the song is Irish, that’s just what we gets for being Danny. 😀

    • Wait – I get an Irish song for being called Danny? Glad I’m not called Taylor. 🙂

    • Oh Danny boy will never leave my brain!

  • 38 comments from Danny Brown!

  • Thanks for sharing your recap of pros and cons after using postmatic for a few weeks. Danny must have slept in today. I expected him to have the first comment.

    In unrelated matters, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, GINI!!! 🍾🎂🎉💐🐾💕❄️🚴🏻📱

    • I was too busy on Facebook trying to avoid all the birthday wishes for Gini. And now I have to decipher this??? 🙂

      • C’mon Danny, you can decipher anything. 😉

    • LOL!! Thank you!!

  • Hey there miss,

    Nice overview, and great to see the early results of comments increase. Of course, the real test comes as more people get used to the format, and if the comments (and ability to interact away from site) continue, or if people still prefer the native commenting experience.

    I’m sure Jason will pop in and update on the cons (did you see the email about Epoch 2? Woot!), but I just wanted to share a couple of tips.

    1. Sign-up form after post. You can edit this with some CSS trickery, and make it really pretty (I like the simpler approach of Postmatic’s optins, but then I’m more of a minimalist approach). There’s also a great tutorial here for amending the optin design and functionality:

    The beauty with that post above, and how the blogger optimizes the opt-in, is it utilizes exit intent with Postmatic, as well as offering a cool trick for contact pages and subscription forms.

    2. Postmatic is double opt-in by default. When the sub signs up for posts (not comment notifications), you have to reply “Agree” to receive the posts. That’s the double opt-in right there. I know this was something I’d discussed with Jason a while back, primarily because of the Canadian CASL legislation, along with certain EU requirements (this is why there’s wording in the Postmatic dashboard that it may be illegal to subscribe commenters to replies by default).

    On a separate note, there are SEO benefits to have by using (and optimizing) a featured image – so naughty Gini, naughty! 😉

    Looking forward to seeing what others think of Postmatic now that it’s been in use here a while.

    Oh, and Happy Birthday, I guess…. 🙂

    • Thank you! I’m glad you can change your profile photo back to normal now.

  • You must have wanted to hear from Danny a lot on your birthday to write a post about Postmatic. 😉

    Happy birthday!!!!

  • I think I may keep Livefyre a little bit longer. Thanks for the assessment, and Happy Birthday!

  • All I have to say is HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Oh… and I’m considering trying this out on my personal blog just to see if it helps 🙂

  • It’s better, high powered, effective and efficient, kind of like a team that doesn’t have Jay Cutler. 🙂

  • jason_

    Happy Birthday Gini!

  • Thanks, Gini! And happy birthday!

    Glad to have you beta testing Postmatic 2. There are actually solutions to each of the items in your cons list but you’re too difficult to nail down on the phone! I’ll harass you again….

    • Wait – I never get personal phone calls. Sheesh mahoney….

      • Change your name to Taylor and you might get those phone calls.

        • Maybe I can go with Tay-Tay. Eden seems to think that’s effective….

          Either way, hmph.

        • LOL

    • A phone call? On a phone? Gini is an introvert. She uses her phone for texting, email, and facebook.

    • Ha! I KNOW! And I have the Postmatic emails going to a separate folder, which means I sometimes don’t see your email until a few days later. 😐

  • Gini – I really am liking the ease of reading in and commenting from email, even if there are some necessary “tweaks”. I’m curious how many comments you’ve had to delete because of “private” communications being posted? Has the learning curve for all the crazies been pretty similar?

    • This is why PR folks shouldn’t be let loose with technology…. 😉

      • Oh, hush. You aren’t getting any ice cream.

    • Actually, I haven’t had to delete a single comment. I expect it’ll happen, though…that’s why I did the warning.

  • One thing I forgot to link to with my original comment is support for multiple author box plugins with Postmatic 2.0:

    Given the multi-author set-up here, one of the supported plugins might be a good fit for you. 🙂

    • The issue on my end is the back-end of Spin Sucks is, well, not pretty. So adding plugins or fixing the CSS isn’t always doable. The site is budgeted to be redesigned later this year so we can fix it all then.

      • Nothing worse than a back end that isn’t pretty…

  • Scott

    May I ask what widgets you used for your email footer?

    • It’s all part of Postmatic. Everything else comes directly from the blog post.

      • Scott1

        So you don’t use footer widgets in postmatic?

        • It’s up to the individual blogger whether to utilize the footer widgets or not. If you want to customize your footer, there’s some documentation here:

          • Scott1

            Looking at the emails I receive from Spin this is what I see that is different from the footer on my emails. My question is is this a widget or a standard feature of postmatic?

            Reply to this email to add a comment. Your email address will not be shown.
            You’re invited to comment on this post by replying to this email. If you do, it may be published immediately or held for moderation, depending on the comment policy of Spin Sucks.
            » View this post online

            You received this email because you’re subscribed to Spin Sucks. To receive fewer emails, reply with the word ‘digest ‘.
            To unsubscribe reply with the word ‘unsubscribe ‘.

          • Postmatic adds extra widgets to your theme. You can then choose to use them or not, to customize the footer of your email with a more targeted CTA, to go with the post itself.

          • Something else that’s pretty cool – Postmatic allows you to have two different footer widgets, one for Posts and one for Comments.

            So, when a new post goes out, you could have a dedicated CTA about the site, and when a comment reply email goes out, you could have something different altogether again.

      • The cool thing is, with Postmatic (and especially Postmatic 2.0), you can really go to town as to what widgets you utilize, giving you many more features. For example, I use mine primarily to promote my latest book; but if I had ads, or a course to promote, or wanted to simply put an Author Box there (cough, Gini, cough), I could.

        It’s really slick. 🙂

  • I’m glad you did this post – I’ve been curious what your observations were at this point. I am glad comments are up 30% (YAY!!!!!!!). I’m not crazy about the additional email traffic (and yes I know I have a choice to go to “digest mode” or whatever after a certain amount of emails. I also miss “liking” individual comments. It felt right for times when I wanted to “agree” and be visibly “in the blog” without a long explanation. But to come full circle: 30% MORE COMMENTS!

    • LOL to the more comments! I also miss being able to tag people, now that you say that.

      • In fairness, I found the tagging a little haphazard (especially when trying to tag externally on Twitter). Maybe I’m old school, but I far prefer the direct reply to a person of native WP commenting, rather than tag someone from another thread that may or may not have context to the current comment being discussed.