225 – Send amazing curated newsletters with Curated

Interview with Ashley Guttuso and Nathan Wrigley

Today we learn about a SaaS platform called Curated and how it can save you a lot of time creating a newsletter.

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If you’ve followed the WP Builds podcast for any length of time, you’ll know that I’m often mentioning the fact that we have a newsletter. I usually do this in the podcast audio, right at the start.

Having a newsletter is one of the best ways that you can communicate with an audience. In fact, I’d go as far as to say, that it’s the best. There’s no third-party platform involved. You are communicating with people who have signed up, and therefore really want to get your content. They can opt out when they like, they can ignore it if they like just be clicking delete in their email client. Plus, they can share it with their friends outside of any wall that Facebook, Twitter (et al.) might create as barriers.

I like newsletters, as you might have guessed.

What I don’t like is how time consuming they are to create!

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The WP Builds newsletter comes in two forms:

The former of those is a traditional newsletter. It goes with a WordPress post and is pretty easy to create. However, the ‘This Week in WordPress’ (TWiW) newsletter is different; it’s a curated newsletter.

‘What does curated mean?’ I hear you say. Good that you asked! A curated newsletter is one in which the content is not really your own. You find content created by other people and you collect it up and deliver it. You are taking the time to make a little digest of something and then sending it out to people who are interested.

In our case, the subject matter is clearly going to be WordPress. So, I go out each week and I read a whole load of WordPress news pieces and other articles. I decide which ones I like… and then the problems start.

Now that I’ve got about 15-20 articles that I think are worthy of being in the newsletter, I now have to create it.

So that means that I have to find the titles, URLs and so on for all those pieces of content. Well, that’s pretty easy, but do that 156 weeks in a row, as I have, and it adds up to a boatload of time. It really does.

Open article, read it, decide if it’s worth curating into the newsletter, somehow file that away for the dedicated newsletter creation session later in the week. When that session arrives, reopen all the links that you’ve stored (in Google Drive, Evernote, Pocket, and a bunch of other places), copy the titles, paste them in the newsletter, copy the URL, paste it into the newsletter. You get the idea. It-takes-ages!

So when I heard that there was a Saas service I could use to make life more simple, you can imagine that I jumped on it.

Enter Curated.

Curated makes life so much simpler. You sign up for their service. Create categories for your newsletter, style it with your logo and brand colours, and it’s ready to go.

But here’s the magic! Curated have a Chrome extension (perhaps other browsers too, I don’t recall) which you can use to make all the boring tasks I mentioned earlier go away.

So I’m browsing the web and I find something worthy. I click on the Curated Chrome extension; up comes a pop-up which automatically brings across the page title, URL and any text from that page which I had highlighted before clicking the button. All I need to do is to decide which of the categories I want to give it and click ‘save’.

It all goes into a ‘pending’ feed for my next edition.

When I’m ready to publish the next newsletter, I just head over to the Curated website and decide which of the articles I’d saved should go in the next edition.

Honestly, this saves me hours each week. I’m not fibbing. It really does.

Curated will take on the burden of deliverability too. Just like MailChimp, Active Campaign and others, then make sure that the list is kept up to date. People can subscribe from the newsletter page and unsubscribe from the emails to.

There’s a few little extras thrown in too, such as:

  • the ability to publish on an automatic schedule
  • you sell advertising slots in the newsletter and deploy them as well
  • there’s some basic reporting in terms of open rates, etc.

I’m very happy with Curated and how it’s saved me a lot of time each week. So, if you’re in the market for a newsletter solution, check out Curated.

Don’t forget to post a comment below, or head over to the WP Builds Facebook group, or let us know how you feel on Twitter. Oh, and sign up in the box in this post to get the newsletter I’ve been droning on about!

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Transcript (if available)

These transcripts are created using software, so apologies if there are errors in them.

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Nathan Wrigley: [00:00:00] Welcome to the WP Buildss podcast, bringing you the latest news from the WordPress community welcome your hosts David Waumsley, and Nathan Wrigley.
Hello there and welcome to the WP Builds podcast. Once again, this is episode number 225 entitled send amazing curated newsletters with curated. It was published on Thursday, the 15th of April 20, 21, my name's Nathan Wrigley, and a few bits and pieces. Before we begin a few bits of housekeeping. Like we normally do head over to WP Builds.com.
And over there, you will find all of the content that we produce. Go to the subscribe page, that's forward slash subscribe, and you'll be able to keep in touch with us over on Twitter. Join our Facebook group and sign up to our newsletters. We've also got a deals page that I mentioned each week. It's a bit like black Friday, but every day of the week, you can find [email protected] forward slash deals, go and search there.
If you're in the market for something this week related to WordPress could be plugins themes hosting, and there's lots of coupon codes on that page. Another one to mention is the page builder, summit and LaRue. And I are running the page builder summit. You can find it at page builder, summit.com. What else did you expect?
We're running it during may, but we've opened our registration page. And that page really is intended to just allow you to. Sign up and we will let you know when there's some more details. So that's page builder summit.com. Last year's event was really popular. This year's event is looking to be really good as well.
I'd appreciate it. If you want to help spread the word about that, the best way is probably just to share the URL page, build a summit.com in whatever way fit, but please go and sign up so that we can alert you when the registration opens properly. Page builder, summit.com. And the last one, WP Builds.com forward slash advertise.
If you have a product or service in the WordPress space, you may want to put it in front of a WordPress specific audience, and we can help you with that a bit like we've done with these two companies, the WP Bill's podcast is brought to you today by Cloudways. Cloudways is a managed cloud hosting platform that ensures simplicity, performance and security.
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Shall we? So today's podcast strays out of our normal WordPress related content. Because today we're talking about a SaaS app called curated. I'm joined by Ashley from the curated team. And we talk about exactly what it does. And essentially it allows you to send out newsletters. If you head over to the WP Builds.com website and you find our newsletter, you can find that in the news archive, if you go to the top menu, then you'll see what it looks like.
It allows you to just wander around the internet during the course of your week or month or whatever it may be and use their Chrome extension too. Tag things as being something that you would like to pop into a newsletter and then you log into the SaaS platform and then finally make your mind up.
And you'd look at the list of things that you've decided to curate. And you say, yes, I would like that one. And no, I would not like that one. And you decide on which categories they should go in and so on. And then it sends it all out and it keeps you updated about. Clicks and all of that good stuff. It's a really handy platform.
Before I was using curated. I was using all sorts of different cobbled together solutions and this just made so much sense to me when I saw it. So I got on board. I'm using it. If you get to the WP Builds weekly WordPress newsletter from the this weekend show, then you'll know what it looks like.
Categorized curated news, fabulous platform. Have a listen to what Ashley says. I hope that you enjoy it. Hello there. Welcome to the WP Builds podcast. You've reached the interview section today. I am joined by Ashley. Gattuso. Hi there, Ashley.
Ashley Guttuso: [00:04:50] Hi, thanks for having me. You're
Nathan Wrigley: [00:04:52] very welcome. We're going a little bit often message.
Usually the WP Builds podcast talks about WordPress and not much else, but I thought this was going to be a really interesting episode, largely because it's a tool that I adopted. Oh, I'm going to say about probably about three months ago now. I've actually put down a whole bunch of WordPress things that I do.
Configured and cobbled together in favor of something called curated. Now, curated. I probably won't do justice if I explain what it does. So I'm going to hand over to Ashley and ask us ask her to say, what is it? What is curated?
Ashley Guttuso: [00:05:27] Sure. Sure. It's a tough one to do an elevator pitch for, because it does so much.
So I'm going to try to fit this into two sentences. Curated is an email building and sending tool that lets users collect links through multiple ways. There's a Chrome extension. There's a way to feed in some products that you use for curation. As well as secretly emailing yourself a link that you stumble across.
So it's a way to gather and collect content and then to import it into your newsletter template and send that. And while you send it, you simultaneously publish a web version with searchable archives of what you've put in that newsletter. So it brings the workflow from discovery of something you want to share.
To sharing it into one
Nathan Wrigley: [00:06:26] tool. Yeah. And it does it sublimely well, I'd have to say the reason that I started looking at solutions like curated was simply because, like I said, I had configured a way to do this on my own through WordPress. But I was getting very weary of the backwards and forwards the tuning.
And fro-ing of finding the content, copying a link, storing it somewhere because I don't know, I might've discovered it on my phone or something like that. And I couldn't really make use of it. So I would save it into Evernote. And then from Evernote, I would, have to go and open the page again and copy and paste the links.
And what curator does is it makes all of that happen, really trivial. And we're going to the features a little bit later, but the. The reason that I like it so much is because it takes far less time to do something that I was already doing. So it was perfect for me. I have a newsletter which goes out about WordPress news and every week I was producing exactly the kind of content that curated was designed to.
To cure, cure, rate more, more speedily. So it was literally perfect. It was like a match made in heaven. I swear there couldn't have been a better customer at the right time than me. I was, I discovered your tool and it was like, okay just tell me what to do to buy it. And that's where we're at.
So what's the URL. How do we find curated? It's
Ashley Guttuso: [00:07:45] curated.co.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:07:48] Okay, so curated.co. And if you go over there, you'll be able to see all of the, the usual advertising materials and what have you, but let me explain my workflow and I'd be curious to know if I'm making any missteps, because this is the way it works for me.
I basically look around the internet and read WordPress news every week. Now I have a Chrome extension, which has the little curated logo. And when I find something that I feel is shareable, that I feel that people in this community would like to look at, I click the button and then it brings up a pop-up.
So a new window which sits on top of, and that's important. It's not like taking up the whole focus. It occupies like a small portion of the screen. And. Inside of that, a bunch of fields, one of them is the title field, and it pre-populates the title of the piece of content that you've just curated. It takes the link.
So sometimes I have to scrub out like UTM parameters before I click the button because I've gone through some kind of, I dunno I've gone through somebody's affiliate link or something, and I want to remove that, but assuming that I've done that it puts that in, it will also. Take anything that I've highlighted off the page.
So if there's a, an opening paragraph, which I think just sums that article up beautifully, I can highlight that. And that also comes in for the ride. And then additionally, I get to categorize my newsletter and I've selected about eight or nine categories. And at that point, and I can say, okay, in the next issue, Please just shove it into the community category or the plugins category or whatever it might be.
And then finally, the PAs, the resistance you can with some third party tool, like our use an app called cloud app. I take a little screenshot, little grab of a part of the page that I think, maybe they've got some thumbnail art or something like that. And then I just stick that in and then I press a button.
Now that took about 50 times longer for me to explain how to do it than it actually takes to do it because it literally takes four seconds previously. I reckon it took me at least a minute and a half to do what honestly takes me about four seconds and curated. Then after that, when that's all finished and you're ready to publish your article, you go to the curated website and you simply say, I want that one to be in that one.
That one. And then you don't, you can set it all up so that it shed you world. You don't have to think about it. You can obviously write additional content if you like. So it's an absolutely fabulous tool. How long have you been around doing this?
Ashley Guttuso: [00:10:21] Curated was I feel like it was started in 2011, so it's around the nine or 10 year old product.
I did an interview with the founder. Dave of iOS dev weekly recently, and we recorded that. So it's over on YouTube and it was really interesting the way it came about because he decided he wanted to launch a newsletter about iOS development. And then he realized through the process that he wanted a better tool set to.
To support his workflow. So he really built it to work for the newsletter creator as he was in the mind of needing something to do that himself.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:11:09] So eight or nine years. Yeah. What's the sort of angle of why people want to curate a newsletter? I feel that our audience is going to be a bit like we can just publish stuff on the internet.
We're all good with WordPress. Why not just publish posts on the internet? What's the significant difference between having something that goes out to email, as opposed to just putting stuff on a webpage.
Ashley Guttuso: [00:11:32] Good question. So I was discussing this with someone the other day, and they asked me about the fact that I support having your newsletter content on your domain and have that be a searchable archives of content.
Reason number one is I would love if someone went to my site every day. You would love if someone visited your WordPress site every day or signed up to your RSS read because they wanted to know. What you had posted recently, right? But in this day and age with marketing, a lot of stuff is gated.
There are these eBooks and there's good content. That's gated with the intention of getting your email, to trap you into a nurture sequence of some sort or a way to to be marketed more, to, to be sold something. And the premise of having that out in the public, where someone can go and browse the entire archives of what you've published, but if they have the option to subscribe, changes the meaning of that opt-in right.
Because now that email address is being given to say, I want to know when you've posted something new, I want to be notified. And so it changes that dynamic. Now, remind me the question again, because I know I had a part to trying to remember.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:13:01] Yeah. So it was w what's the benefit, of having something go into people's email inboxes, as opposed to just putting something out on the internet and relying less on Google and search results and all of that.
Ashley Guttuso: [00:13:14] Sure. Okay. For me a, the newsletter is intended to build trust and deepen a relationship between the creator and the consumer. And newsletter serves as a frequent touch point. However often that's being sent weekly, monthly fortnightly, whatever cadence feels right. With you, and it actually builds trust in a serving sort of way because your content marketing is all about serve, make deposits, do so much for your reader, that when it's time to sell them something or remind them that you sell something, like whatever your stance on hard selling or soft selling is that you have already earned the right.
To promote. Yeah. So to, to be in someone's inbox is an intimate place to be because they have now decided to invite you into that space. So you can either wreck your relationship with them or mature it by what you, the way you respect their inbox. Because we all have emails that we delete before we even open them.
And then we all have emails that we see the subject line or the sender and we smile. So curated is intended to support an email newsletter that creates that moment. That smile when it's seen in your inbox. And I will add to that, that there is there's a power to curating beyond what you are creating yourself, because when you do that, you have been said like, Hey, your needs are important to me.
And I might not have the bandwidth to create five new posts per week. About something that's important to you in your industry or will help you. But I do have the bandwidth to follow certain keywords and to pick out the very best of what it is that you should know to help you in your business. Yeah.
Ashley, if you're in a service business, because now you are, you're using the ability to connect them to something helpful that all you had to do was build that little bridge. Instead of, writing this long SEO article that is intended to be discovered as now you've just gotten them straight to the helpful information.
So a good balance of original and curated content can take you into a weekly cadence. Versus a monthly
Nathan Wrigley: [00:16:03] it's. It's quite interesting because over on WP Builds, we produce podcasts episodes, basically it's audio. And and I can curate those in the same simple way into the newsletter as I can. And the other piece of content that I find, I think we should probably try and clear something up at the, at this point, because it may be that people are thinking this is just MailChimp, isn't it?
Can't I just use MailChimp to do a lot of this kind of stuff. And of course it's really not the focus here is on you. Finding content as well as supplementing it with your own content. But the I'm guessing the UVP here is we just make it so much more simple to find stuff out on the internet and drag it in.
Actually that's not true. You don't make it easier to find content. You just make it easier to drag the content that you've already found into the newsletter and just take care of all of that, as opposed to MailChimp, where you would have to go back to the whole copy and paste exercise.
Ashley Guttuso: [00:16:57] Right now we do make it easy to connect something.
If you use something like pocket or anything that has a Zapier or even an integrated interface, because our API allows you to hook into, once you have like in pocket, if I marked something as favorite, then it can zap into curated as a collected item. So there are certain connections you can make like that.
If you are a big time user of a tool that follows certain websites for you or certain keywords for you.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:17:37] Actually. Yeah, that's really helpful because I have I have the required bits and pieces. There's Zapier and what have you. And I'm suspecting that it would be possible for me, in my case, there's still a, there's still an issue.
If I discover something on, on my mobile phone, when I'm out, sitting outside and what have you. And I think that'd be good currently. I've got no way of doing it, but if I was to link that to Zapier and then tag it. In a certain way, then I could have that automatically go it. That's great. Good to know.
Good tip.
Ashley Guttuso: [00:18:06] I have a mobile phone trick for you. So if you are reading an article that, you want to put in your upcoming newsletter or in your collected items, you know how you on an iPhone, I don't speak Android. So on
Nathan Wrigley: [00:18:23] my iPhone translates into Android for you. Okay.
Ashley Guttuso: [00:18:26] At the bottom, square with an arrow in it.
That means share. Yep. Somehow, right? Yep. And then you pick, I use Gmail and then you add in the, to field the name of your newsletter, because you have saved that as a contact, right? Every curated publication. So you can have multiple publications under one account. Every publication has a secret email address.
That you can use to send something to collected items. So I just pick, so it's maybe as few steps as the Chrome extension. Yeah. Because it's share the name and then I can choose if I want to to copy and paste and copy, which would take it a little bit longer, but I can also. I can also add the tag word for whatever category.
I want it to be filed under the loose, just loosely in the email, and then it will go there. So it'll be waiting
Nathan Wrigley: [00:19:31] for me. This is perfect. So we've basically got the exact same thing going on the Android side, where we have a slightly different icon. We've got those three dots, but you click share.
I could, in my case, I could use Gmail again and follow those exact same set of rules and yeah, it's probably not quite as fluid for me as using the Chrome extension, but it. It sounds great. The amount of times that I've just had to troll through my browsing history, it's actually amazing how quickly you can fill up your browsing history to discover the thing that I was looking at, because I knew I wanted to include it.
And that is that's a nice little trick. Yeah. I like that. The So that you can, but you can also do this kind of stuff with like you said, Zapier and whatever apps connect is Zapier, you could, in some way I could tag something or put it in a folder in Evernote and it would then get socked out of Evernote up to curated.
That's also possible, right?
Ashley Guttuso: [00:20:24] Yes. Yes. You just have to go in and test 'em because our API is open to it's like a. If this happens in app a that triggers the link to be collected into curated, like that's the action you want to pick. Yeah. It's great for people who want like a two step process sometimes.
Like they want say I set up Google alerts, right? I like Google alerts and the The feeds that those give me and being able to go through, but there's a lot of junk when you're saying give me all the key words for the word. Give me all the hits for newsletter in the last week.
And so I need a filtration process because I don't want all of that waiting for me and curated. I want it, I want to send the best to curate it, cause I don't want 5,000 links waiting for me and collected items. It's wonderful if you like, everyone has their way of working best.
So to me, it's nice to keep it to go through the junk and get it deleted and then have the good things. Put into curated, but we may be changing that UI in the future. Like maybe a way, so it's a interesting concept. I'd love to study how most people like that workflow to work, because we want to, we want people to be able to stay where they are and incorporate it into their.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:21:54] Yeah. I've got some ideas for you about that, but we'll leave those until after the podcast is over, actually just on that point, I'll drop the URL so that if you haven't seen my version of it, then you can see what curated actually looks like on the front end. And you just go to news.
WP Builds.com. So that's news dot WP Builds.com. And obviously you can work out from that, that you've got the op opportunity to have a sort of custom domain. Now one of the things I also really liked is that you took care. Essentially there's. There's the curated way of this looking. You have customization options.
Like you can change the way certain colors, the background colors, and what have you. And you can put little icons so that the different categories look slightly different and so on. But you've just taken all of that pain away. When you go to a curated website, assuming you've got a couple of photos lying around, which represent your brand, you're off to the races straightaway.
And I really enjoyed the fact that it. It honestly took me about 20 minutes to set up. It was just a question of which background image is the most appropriate dimensions and you were off. So that side of things was really good. A couple of things that I would mention as well. It looks great when it's delivered to the inbox.
The version that you see on the screen in the browser, it looks fabulous, but you can be sure that the version that you see, excuse me, inside your email client will also look for fabulous, but I don't really study this too much. Do you go out of your way to making sure it does just look nice in Gmail and whatever email do you do that work?
Do you make sure you're keeping up to date with all that?
Ashley Guttuso: [00:23:30] I do and I would advise that to anyone using any email client, you mentioned earlier that this is not MailChimp and you're right, because that's what our founders started his newsletter on. And he built his own template and used it in MailChimp and it, he ran into trouble.
So when he built curated he built what we talk about as a rock card template. Or rock solid, and part of that is in that it's completely customizable, but within a framework that he built, that is very hard to break. And you will notice when you do highlight text and it pulls it into the Chrome extension or wherever.
The formatting is taken out. And part of the reason that is if you've been doing email for any amount of time, you'll notice that some clients, particularly Gmail like to do this thing called clipping. And that means that the entirety of your email is not showing. Especially bottom of it.
Yeah. Yeah. And the bottom, it is where your unsubscribe usually lives. And so a lot of people will get clipped and then when someone wants to unsubscribe and they can't figure it out because we're not all Gmail, geniuses and know, Oh, I've got to click those three dots and this, they will just go Mark it as spam.
And then it's hurting the sender. Because of that. So he went to great efforts with the formatting to make sure that there's not so much excess code in there that you might get with them, like a drag and drop builder that has code in there that you might not even be using. It's just, it lives there because it needs to be in case you do use it.
And it delivers well and it looks. Really could in a lot of clients, occasionally I will have someone tell me, Hey, this looked funky and outlook. And then we figure out that it was because they forwarded it from another account to an outlook. So we try to stay on top of that because that's one thing that we.
We know our users want as for their emails to look really good in any display. And it looks very similar to the way it does on your web version. Yeah. In most
Nathan Wrigley: [00:25:57] email clients. Yeah, probably the best way to describe it is it looks like a full width layout with just a bunch of rows. And the customization really is background colors, fonts, font.
I can't even remember if font colors was an option, but I've. Scott with what looks like probably black. And then you can alter the way that the icons for the different sections and whatnot look, but it's like a really readable, I'm guessing it's something like about 800 pixels wide, a column just going dead center with the background colors, going full width.
And then as you change to different categories, that background column might change. And I've tried to do that. I've messed it up. Cause I went with two different variants. I went with a gray and a. And a white and then a gray and a white. And if I miss a category out, I end up doubling up. So it's always white.
So that's a mistake that I've got to fix at some point I should vary them ever so slightly, but you'll notice if you go to news dot WP Builds.com everything's taken care of. So like the whole sign up process on the top of every single newsletter, should somebody stray upon it and not be subscribed already and not have received it through the email?
You've got a subscribed form. And all of that's just taken care of it. It's wonderful. But also you might notice on our if you scroll down, I don't know, probably about a fifth of the way through, you'll notice there's advertising as well, because we like to put advertising materials into our newsletters.
We've got a one at the moment for a plugin. And it takes care of all of that as well. And that was a really big headache for me on the WordPress side, because I had to do it all manually. Whereas there's a, I didn't have to configure any of this along the, along with the advert comes a button saying sponsor this week in WordPress.
And then if somebody does that, then they can find the next issue that's available for sponsorship and they can just book it. It's brilliant.
Ashley Guttuso: [00:27:54] Thank you. I love that feature. I love that. When it was built to support whatever type of newsletter you wanted to have, whether you wanted to add sponsorship opportunities or not.
And the sponsorship I will say right now, because I. I use the tool. I'm very meadow with it, right? I'm doing a newsletter about newsletters for newsletter creators. And the only sponsorship in that newsletter is about four fifths of the way down. When I give a little curated news plug, because I'm trying to remind my users what's new and curated and anyone who is Considering our product, or just subscribed to the newsletter because they're interested in creating newsletters of our tool set and our features.
And so it's very subtle, but if you are publishing a newsletter and you're thinking of taking on advertising, the, my background is in magazine journalism, and there was a time period when. It was very popular for advertisers to come in and do something that was called advertorial. And that is sponsorships that read like editorial content, but are very clearly labeled as an ad.
And those actually performed quite well because they went to the efforts to make the content the same as the editorial content. It served the same purpose as what the reader opened, that magazine form. And I read something the other day that was interesting is that no one reads ads, people read content and some of it happens to be ads.
Yeah. And so the way that curated. Sponsorship section was built to support sponsorships was in these editorial type sponsorships that is in the flow of the newsletter is clearly identified as a sponsorship, but is useful information to the target audience of both the writer and the sponsor.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:30:06] Yeah. It just works really well.
We've taken the approach that we're going to just put one. In, and it actually marries up with something that goes in the podcast as well. So not only does it have a place in this in this newsletter, but it also goes on the main website and it goes in the audio content. In fact, it will be surrounding what we're saying right now.
So there's a little bit of extra work going on there, but yeah, it's just a really. A really nice slick way of doing it. And again, just like all these other things it just created a load of space in my week that I didn't need to dedicate to this kind of stuff. It just automates all of that and it works really well.
There's a, there's an archive. There's an option to look at the latest issue it's got all of the bits and pieces that you'd want really, in essence it's got. The news that our delivery side, plus a working functional web presence as well. But it very much is about curating content.
Now this is one thing that I never really have tried to do with it, but I'm curious what your thoughts are. You mentioned a bit ago that you think is a good idea to do a blend of your own writing plus. The plus the curated side of things. I don't really do that. I just write one little paragraph at the beginning saying roughly, what's coming up and then we're into the links bit because that's what this newsletter has always been about and always will be about.
But what's the writing experience like, because I'm not really that familiar with Mark down. And I have to confess that I've made quite a lot of mistakes, putting the wrong kind of bracket around links when I've been doing it. Yeah. Got them the wrong way round. And so the link just doesn't work.
Tell us about how you actually write your own content or you're better off writing it somewhere else and copying and pasting it in, or are you okay writing inside of curated?
Ashley Guttuso: [00:31:49] I have a long interim usually because that's. That's my little way of like building rapport and having a narrative beginning.
So I usually like to tell a little story and because that is longer, I tend to use like the Google docs for that. And. And refine that. Cause it's just a longer form intro. Granted, I don't get clipped so yay for, being able to go along and not get clipped. But when I do that part, I usually paste it in, when I am curating links and writing my commentary about those links.
I typically do it in the template itself. Like I'm very much a grab it when I see it. And maybe grab a paragraph or two that I know will inspire my commentary when I'm on the go. And then later when I am sitting down to put out tomorrow's issue, I will revisit that content that I grabbed and quite possibly go back to the article.
But I tend to over curate. And so if I have, I don't know, seven or eight categories, I'm just guessing I might have five contenders for each category that I know I want to get down to one or two per category. So that's my like refinement process is putting them into the builder, using the drag.
Like up and down to prioritize what I think is the best content. Yep. And then I will use like closely related stories that I feel like, Oh, this one's more important. And that one is like just an extra, I will just tuck it into the longer piece as a related I will delete it as a a big link and make it just nest.
Within the longer piece. And I usually either like to bring in a quote or give a little context as to why I think this is worth reading. And I think that is going to vary per creator and per target recipient because you learn what amount of context your reader wants. And then you test based on that.
And one thing that I can tell you you were talking earlier about categories and if you didn't have one appear in an issue, then you might end up with a background. Not alternating the way you had intended. And I think that as a content marketer and a former editor, I have a true appreciation for the way this was built with those categories, because it delivers category specific data.
That then you can tell based on the popularity of your categories, because we tell you these are your most popular categories and these are the most popular links within those categories over different periods of time. Then you can start to see what your audience is engaging with the most.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:35:09] Yeah. This is a whole nother side of the experience that I haven't really checked into yet, just because I'm waiting for that.
Data to fill itself out. So that's all going to be fresh to me when I go, but that's fascinating. There's all the analytics built in as well. Super.
Ashley Guttuso: [00:35:25] Yeah. So I would say, it's, if your audience is going to be good with a quick, like Metta in journalism, we used to call that like a nut graph, which is basically the S the thesis of what this article will be about.
If that's the context you need to provide for them to decide to click or not to click. Great. If you're trying to build a little more personality and give a here's why I think this is important for you to read or say with a sometimes if I include a video or a podcast, I'm might say, give a timestamp of when it gets really good.
Because that's the kernel of goodness that I'm trying to promote because not everybody has like time to go watch my one hour video about but they might be very interested in particular in the conversation we had about a certain topic. So it shows your reader that you have taken the time to validate why the content is being sent to them.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:36:36] Yeah. Yeah. Just great platform. I'm just from a sort of slightly selfish point of view, I'm very keen to know if there is a sort of public facing roadmap or indeed anything that isn't on a roadmap that you know is coming because now that I've just looked and I've put 12 issues out.
So that's one a week. So I'm three months into my journey and I'm keen to know what's coming down the pipe in the days, weeks and months to come.
Ashley Guttuso: [00:37:02] Sure. Sure. So Kaitlin is our CTM and she has been the lead developer for curator curated for a few years. And we have been. Creating she and Calvin working together, a public facing roadmap that should go live within the next few weeks.
So it might even be live by the time this airs. And if so, I will send you that link, but the big things on the horizon, we just made some changes. And as in development, you. You say our goal is this, and then you backstep to figure out the things you've got to do to achieve that goal.
And so we figured out that if our next big launches are paid newsletters, where there'll be like a Stripe integration, and if you want to create a paywall, then then you can launch a paid newsletter. And to back that up, you would then need to be able to have private newsletters. Subscribe, but it's still behind the paywall kind of thing.
Yeah. And to back that up, we needed to create this ability and I'm excited about how this is going to serve agencies. So what we just did is changed up like user permissions. Because previously, if you had access to multiple publications you might have to log into different accounts, but now all of the publications, you as a person with a curated profile or account you have different.
Permissions on different publications, right? So you might be the owner of the admin or just a contributor because we want curated to be a team tool that a team of 12 writers could be collecting links to the same account and then taking there. Role as editor of this Monday's issue or this section of this newsletter.
So what we did is made it a lot friendlier to agencies, because you can have as many publications under one account as you want to, but you don't want your clients from business, a seeing content. From business B. Right and so that's all working Moodley right now. So anyone can come in and build an account and then add contributors to specific publications under that account.
And it all works smoothly. So that has been like the reverse engineering of getting to paid. And then beyond paid, we are taking sponsorships and expanding what you can do within that from end-to-end. So right now it serves if someone wants to reach out because they go to the sponsorship page of your newsletter, which we allow you to automatically create based on some information you feed into it.
They can now go beyond requesting the open spot to. Or they will be able to, I shouldn't say can that's a big project. But they'll be able to request the spot, get it confirmed, put their send you their creative. Yep. And go back and forth in a workflow of approvals. Yeah. Approve the ad content and pay.
All within the system. So we're really excited about that because we think that's missing.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:40:36] I think that's really great because at the moment I said that you could organize it all it at the moment. It's more of a, an introductory services and it, it tells you that somebody is interested and then you take it from there. And you have to go in and assign a particular ad that you've created to a particular issue as they're called. Each newsletter is called an issue. And it's considerably quicker already than what I was previously doing, but I can see that if it could have been taken care of.
By you. And all I had to do was just examine that it actually was in fitting with what I was trying to, the message I was trying to put out. So in my case, it would be, all these people in WordPress, are they doing something that I'm interested in having as a sponsor and then just click a button and it goes in that's great.
That's really good. You The permissions model brings up a question, which has never really occurred to me because I just do it all myself. But do you well, and also because our audience, there's a lot of people who are constantly trying to figure out additional ways to make revenue from their website, building agents.
Let's see. Do you have a lot of people doing this as a career for other people? If do people curate other people's newsletters as a job?
Ashley Guttuso: [00:41:46] They do as part of maybe an agency, like a marketing agency or specifically a content marketing agency. So even when I was freelance because I used to work, I used to do social media and yeah.
Newsletters for a couple of different clients. Yeah. This would have been a dream because I could have had every. Instead of signing into all of their different accounts. I could have had them all under one curated accounts and shared access to their publications or vice versa, had them set up the publication and put me on it as the contributor.
But larger agencies are starting to adopt this and we are coming up with more ways to support that. And I'm not even talking larger agencies as in how many million dollar businesses they serve, just people who have a lot of clients. And so because our pricing is based on list size.
If you are serving a client, then you have one account that you have multiple clients, those publications can all be under your account. And we've thought of it as a potential incubator because if they grow so big, which let's talk about that's a good problem. If you say, Hey you've got 2000 subscribers limit under my curated account.
Then when you grow past that, we need to get you your own or whatever. That's a good, that's a good issue to have a client because you've grown them beyond yours, but you can. Just as if you were managing marketing automation for multiple clients and you had your master HubSpot account and put them under that, like your markup is whatever your markup is, right.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:43:36] Yeah, it's a really nice model in the WordPress space. We constantly looking for ways to supplement the income. So often it's maintaining people's websites. It might be doing some SEO work or marketing work, or figuring out how to get leads through a lead capture funnel or something like that.
That's the kind of work that tends to be out there. But this is just a really new one and genuinely haven't occur to me until about four minutes ago. Yeah. That this could be an ancillary service that you could provide, why not? W you've got your business where we'll just throw us the dollar amount each month and we'll just take care of your newsletter.
Here's the platform we'll do it. We'll even give you the magic email so that you can put stuff into the queue. Should you wish to? Yeah, it's a really nice angle. I think that's something that probably a lot of our readers will be interested in listening to.
Ashley Guttuso: [00:44:24] Yes. I used to do that for multiple magazines.
And it was a fun gig because you kinda got to go sleuthing the internet.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:44:32] Yeah. And it goes back to your point a minute ago about all the permissions model, if in the future, when curate curated has addressed those things and made it so that you can, the permissions
Ashley Guttuso: [00:44:41] are already, they're all set and good to go.
So we went through that. And now we are very close to launching private and then some smaller things that we have done that are coming close to fruition are I should mention we launched an affiliate program, but then another smaller thing is we added a like an auto image grab that we're testing for the Chrome extension that will.
We'll grab the image that the site creator category as the social share image of the site. So that will speed up the image process for those of those users who like to have the images in there. And then we also have down the road some more like. Many, like we are not a marketing automation platform, but we have some segmentation and workflows and things like that would basically roll into, we are going to add the ability to send just an email.
To that list of subscribers. Oh,
Nathan Wrigley: [00:45:53] okay. Yeah.
Ashley Guttuso: [00:45:56] Yeah. Sequence of emails. So like those things are coming, they will, if you're choosing a marketing automation platform, they will supplement your newsletter in that way, but it is very much a newsletter first platform. And we have some ideas in the works for.
Larger marketing teams who were on some of those platforms, that would be a different pricing model altogether, but would allow it to be sinked with their software. So if you created the newsletter in curated, but you're using Marquetto. Then our intention is to make it easy to send it through Marchetto so that you're like, cause some people are doing like lead scoring and more complicated, like how many CTS has this person clicked, et cetera.
And so that is how it will roll in one day in, into that need. So we're testing a lot of Directions to take. And we're very excited because we get a lot of feedback from our users about what they would like to see. And then we like. Hold that up to our vision for the product and figure out which of those things align with our ultimate goal, which is to be the premier newsletter tool.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:47:23] It's it's a great goal. I have to say in terms of the support, I've not had a need to call out to support because anything's gone wrong. I've only had to call it out because I was confused by the way things worked. And I think you mentioned Caitlin, is that. The lady's name? She was right back to me, I D I didn't have to wait a day.
The support was great. Everything got straightened out. And I think even in a couple of cases, she, a couple of things got amended, just so that it would work for me, which was really nice.
Ashley Guttuso: [00:47:48] That's the great thing. When you have a developer watching the support, because the developer can just fix it. We have also recently created a role and that is a customer success manager.
And Seth, I don't know if you have engaged with him. But he is now taking on success in an intentional way, which I think if you run a company, especially a SAS company and you're listening to this, or if you are the victim of SAS companies not doing this, you'll find it refreshing. But our. Our vision for the company is also that everything is driven.
Every decision we make is driven by customer success. So in other words, what about project X? Supports the success of our customers.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:48:42] That's nice. Yeah. It's nice to hear the pricing which obviously would be crucial to know you can [email protected] forward slash pricing. Obviously it's subject to change caveat emptor, but at the moment, it's it's on a.
Zero to 500 subscribers is one price. Then you go from 500 to two and a half thousand, and then it jumps in blocks, which incrementally get bigger and bigger. And so obviously your subscriber count is going to factor into that. I've got to say I'm very pleased with my investment in it. It's worked flawlessly.
I haven't had one single thing which didn't behave as it ought to. Props and Bravo, I'm really pleased with the way it's working. Just before we go. I'd like to say thank you. First of all, for coming on the WP Buildss podcast. If anybody wants to get in touch with you or curated, what's the best way of doing that.
Ashley Guttuso: [00:49:34] Okay. So the site has a little question Mark button, somewhere on it, and that's, I'm going to take you to a form, but that form is going to send information to [email protected]. Okay. So that's how you can directly ask a question there I am Ashley Gattuso. I am on LinkedIn and very active there.
So if you want some newsletter strategy talk or anything along those lines, go check out my profile and my posts. Because I, in addition to opt-in weekly.com, which is my curated newsletter about newsletters in both of those places, I do talk a lot about newsletter, strategy and marketing. So if those are topics you want to follow.
Maybe that you want to curate go head over there and engage with me connect and just introduce yourself. Let me know you heard this and I will be excited to, answer your questions or to get you pointed in the right direction with newsletter strategy.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:50:40] Okay. Thank you very much. curator.co is the UL URL.
One more time, Ashley. Thank you for joining us on the podcast today. Thank
Ashley Guttuso: [00:50:49] you for having me.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:50:50] I hope that you enjoyed that. Very nice to chat to Ashley, all about curated and what it can do. As I said, I'm using it for the WP Builds this week in WordPress newsletter, which goes out every Tuesday. It allows me to simply create that newsletter content with the minimum of fuss.
And I really liked the way that the newsletters are output. They obviously take the heavy hitting of the deliverability and all of that, which is another thing that you. Just don't have to worry about. So if you've got any comments about that, if there was something in there that you thought was interesting, please go to WP bills.com and find the episode number it's number two, two, five, and leave a comment there or join our Facebook group WP Buildss.com forward slash Facebook and leave the link there.
I'm also trying to make more use of Twitter. So if you want to go to. At WP Builds and give your comments over there. You should be able to find something related to post two to five. But anyway, I'd be interested to see if I can start to use Twitter a bit more because I'm a bit of a novice about it. The WP build's podcast was brought to you today by Cloudways.
Cloudways is a managed cloud hosting platform that ensures simplicity, performance and security. It offers cloud service from five different cloud providers that you can manage through its intuitive platform. Some of the features include 24 seven support free migrations and dedicated firewalls. You can check it all out at Cloudways dot com. And a B split test. Do you want to set up your AB split tests in record time? Like in a couple of minutes, use your existing pages and test anything against anything else? Buttons, images, headers, rows, anything. And the best part is that it works with element or Beaver builder and the WordPress block editor.
You can check it out and get a free [email protected]. Okay. That's all we've got for you this week. I will, of course be back next Thursday. You're doing a podcast episode, but this time I will be chatting through one of the letters, a to Zed of WordPress with my good friend, David Wamsley. Don't forget to join me and Paul Lacey, the co-host of this week in WordPress, we do that.
Every single Monday, 2:00 PM. UK time [email protected] forward slash live. And then I released that with the curated newsletter on Tuesday at 7:00 AM. If you haven't subscribed to that, go to WP Builds.com forward slash subscribe and do I hope you have a good week. Stay safe. I'll fight in some cheesy music and say, bye-bye for now.

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Nathan Wrigley
Nathan Wrigley

Nathan writes posts and creates audio about WordPress on WP Builds and WP Tavern. He can also be found in the WP Builds Facebook group, and on Mastodon at wpbuilds.social. Feel free to donate to WP Builds to keep the lights on as well!

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