Posterous seeks to streamline handling of online content

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Call it a melding of social networking and email marketing. Blogging platform Posterous rolled out a new software tool last month that allows users to send Web posts and social messages as email newsletters. Posterous, which has a patent on the software, is partnering with email delivery provider SendGrid to ensure that the messages are not routed into subscribers' spam folders. Posterous developed the software for small businesses, which account for more than 20% of its membership, according to Rich Pearson, VP-marketing and business development. He provided some of the details about the platform's offering for small businesses and b-to-b publishers.

Digital Directions: How does Posterous work and what is its most significant feature?

Rich Pearson: The most significant feature is the ease of posting content to your site. All you need to do is send an email, include your content in the body of that email, attach media to your email and we'll create a post that can update all of your social networks. We can also, and this is new, send that post via email to anyone on your subscriber list. The email has your name on it, people know it's coming from you and you are using the title of your [social] post as your subject line.

Digital Directions: How can the tool help business publishers that rely on email to drive revenue?

Pearson: Our customers know they have to have a website. They believe they have to participate in social networking, and they can see the immediate impact of email marketing. But they don't have enough time for all of those, and to have three different services to handle [all of the work] is confusing and inefficient. So we're able to provide one CMS [content management system] that allows you to have a website, update all your social networks and send your emails to your customers. Streamlining that content-creation process is critical to this product.

Digital Directions: Explain how the “Instant Notification” feature works and how it is integrated into the email platform?

Pearson: As soon as a post is put on your site, customers [who have subscribed] receive an email with the subject of the post, all of the content and, of course, a link back to your site. We've found it's hard for folks to remember to come back to your website, so one of the beauties of this email is making it contextual and getting it into you're your customers' inbox, where people spend most of their day.

Digital Directions: Are you planning to build on the service?

Pearson: Absolutely. First and foremost [starting in June, we'll be] allowing small-business owners to brand their emails, putting their logo on the email and/or the template that matches their website. We'll also provide more robust statistics that tell customers open rates, bounce rates and click-through rates—in order to understand the effectiveness of the emails—and then managing who receives the email and what time of day the email is sent.

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