Manage contacts for newsletters from Cronycle

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Cronycle allows you to prepare, format and send curated newsletters to your audience directly from your boards.

Publish
Our newsletter editor

How to add contacts?

We have 4 means of adding contacts for newsletters:

  • Add an email address and name manually (Quick entry)
  • Import a list using a CSV file which you probably exported from another tool
  • Connect to Mailchimp to import your contacts in Mailchimp
  • Connect to Google Contacts to import those contacts
Options to add contacts
Find your contacts and add more in your Account page.

In all cases, you need to make sure you have permissions before sending newsletter emails to your audience. More on this in the last section.

Formatting your CSV of contacts for newsletters

What are CSVs? A CSV is a file format which is a standard for storing structured text. “CSV is the shortened form of comma-separated values, which stores large amounts of tabular data (numbers and text) in plain-text form” (Source Leawo). You can recognize it by its extension: .CSV

“A CSV contact file typically consists of name, address, phone number, e-mail address, and other contact information, and it also supports custom fields, images, and other types of media. When you want to update your customer contacts information in batch, you can open the CSV file to edit, modify or add new contacts to the CSV file, which can then be imported to your phone Address Book.

Leawo

You can open and modify your CSV file in Microsoft Excel or Google Sheet for example. In both cases, you can sort by column – for example sorting alphabetically by name, or sorting by opt-in first. This way you can find those contacts that did not opt in. If that’s the case, you can then either ask them to opt in using the subscribe URL provided by Cronycle (in newsletter set up); or remove these contacts all-together. You should remove those who marked you as spam if you have this data point in the CSV. It is not good for your sending email address reputation to be sending to mailboxes where you are marked as spam.

Both Excel and Google Sheet will also allow you to export as CSV. Before you do that, you need to check that the format is:

  • 1st column: “email” – this is the only compulsory column
  • 2nd column: “first_name” – this is an optional column
  • 3rd column: “last_name” – this is also an optional column
An example of correctly formatted CSV: email column, first name column, last name column
Correctly formatted CSV opened in Google Sheet

Note that the titles must be exactly “email”, “first_name” and “last_name”. Other columns will be ignored. If there is a contact without an email address, it will not be added.

If you get errors, such as names missing or not displayed correctly, it is likely an issue with the way the text is encoded. We use Unicode, a standard method for representing a great variety of characters from many languages across the world. Alas, there are two versions, UTF-7 and UTF-8. We support UTF-8, which is the most common of the two and recommended for security reasons. If your CSV is encoded in UTF-7, accented letters and non latin alphabets will become unreadable by our contact list. To fix this, follow the following instructions:

Workaround #1 for Windows only: you can open your CSV file in Notepad in Windows, do a “Save As” setting the type to “All Files”, use the “.csv” file extension, and then select UTF-8. After doing that, you’ll see the characters which were not recognised by UTF-8. Once you fix those up, try to upload the new file to Cronycle and it should work a lot better.

Workaround #2 using Google Sheet: if you are not using a Windows machine, this is a good and simple alternative. Google Sheet automatically saves new files as UTF-8 when selecting to download as CSV. Read this simple step-by-step how to (promised, it is easy).

Importing contacts from other platforms

We have an integration that lets you import your contacts from Mailchimp or Google Contacts. In both cases, we complete your list in Cronycle with the new contacts from Mailchimp or Google. We do not synchronise the lists, which is for the best as subscribers may unsubscribe from one type of communication but not from another.

GDPR compliance & list clean up

GDPR is the European privacy regulation which requires you to ensure that all your subscribers in Europe have opted in to your email communication (among other things). It is your responsibility to ensure this is done properly for all your contacts for newsletters.

So when you switch from one tool to another, make sure you only export current subscribers who opted in. If that is not possible from your current tool, the exported CSV file should have a field (column when opened in a worksheet) for opt-in. Use it to identify and remove all contacts that have not opted in, save a new file and import in Cronycle. If you import from Mailchimp, you will be able to select the right list, just make sure your list is ready before connecting. Google is not as good at this, so thread carefully here!

Subscribe form URL
In your board, click on Newsletter, then on newsletter setup and Promote to get the URL to share to potential subscribers

Take this opportunity to do a spring clean and remove subscribers who marked you as spam (it happens…). This way, you will have a nice, clean and compliant subscriber list. Do a spring clean on a regular basis (hint: not only in the spring!), as it improves your and all Cronycle users’s email reputation.

After you have sent newsletter issues, you can check metrics by clicking on the publishing settings > Newsletter > Past Issues.

Analytics for newsletter past issues

Case study on how collective curation informs strategic decisions

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Content curation is powerful for several endeavours – particularly to make better informed strategic decisions. Other objectives include visibility and education.

Decision making is hard!

We all know that taking decisions is hard: there are always uncertainties. Decisions cannot be purely rational or based on information because they are about projecting into a future. And that future hasn’t happened yet. This means that information can never be exhaustive. As a result, we need judgement, creativity and concertation when making decisions.

Collaborate on content

However, making decisions without information would be a disaster. Both judgement and creativity need food for thought. In teams, arguing for or against a decision requires arguments. Decent projections require a good understanding of what is happening around, and further afield. So, any way we look at it, good decision making processes require good information.

Content curation for decision making

In a fast-changing world, good information comes from regular monitoring of news, both of strong and weak signals. Markets disruptions can come from new entrants, from other countries, or from social evolutions. Technologies permanently evolve and affect all areas of work and life. Regulations evolve. Our world is in a constant state of flux.

Fortunately, competitive companies understand that. Now, we have a new case study explaining how such a company, a major food industry player in Canada, is using Cronycle to make better informed strategic decisions. Collective curation helps them build a global and shared perspective over external evolutions, empowers the different organizational units and, ultimately, builds synergies and collaboration.

While collective content curation increases a company’s competitive advantage, it also helps individual contributors remain up-to-date with what’s happening in the world, outside their corporation. This outward facing curiosity and awareness keeps individuals and teams agile.

Other key use cases

Beyond decision making, the other two main purposes of content curation we see from our customers are:

Visibility

This communications-oriented content curation aims to improve SEO (getting through the search engines algorithms) and thought leadership (bringing valuable content to people). It serves a variety of goals, such as brand awareness and image, attracting customers or recruits, etc. Indeed, many of our customers use Cronycle for this reason, in particular when using our WordPress plugin and sharing from Cronycle to social media.

Education

We also have customers, such as Taylor & Francis (case study here), who specialize in professional content curation for knowledge capturing and publishing. Others use it for more traditional educational purpose, with educators sharing course references with pupils (and vice versa). In both cases, the collaboration on our platform makes it particularly adapted to this kind of purpose.

While this list is not exhaustive, these three goals (decision making, visibility and education) are key reasons that bring people to the exciting world of content curation. Learn more about what Cronycle does here.

WordPress plugin update – great to boost your SEO

Reading Time: 2 minutes

If you are seeking visibility in search results, you are most likely engaged in Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Our WordPress plugin boosts your SEO with curated content, and we just updated it.

Our Cronycle Content plugin enables you to get the content you curate in your Cronycle boards onto your website, either as a news banner or as blog posts. Did you know that this latter option – board to posts – counts for SEO? You can even set up your tags in Cronycle and carry them across to WordPress automatically! Learn more on this by reading our tutorial.

Content from your board is sent to our WordPress plugin, ready to edit and publish as posts

Now, with Cronycle, you can build your reputation on social media, for SEO, and directly into your audience’s mail box (using newsletters) – all in one place! You can also publish internally via Slack or our own Curated Feeds.

Back to our WordPress plugin. We updated it recently to fix a few issues, mainly performance. You will notice a great improvement in terms of loading speed when collecting content from your board into WordPress. We also improved a few points here and there, to make it easier for you and more robust. So, if you are using the plugin, make sure you have the latest version.

You can try Cronycle and our WordPress plugin to boost your SEO, by creating a free account – no credit card required:

Start using Cronycle for free

3 ways to share curated content to social media, from Cronycle

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Cronycle is a one-stop shop for all your content discovery, organization and publishing. This means that you can share curated content to social media – whether from your feeds, or your boards. Content can be posted to Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook and the likes.

We’ve just added a new tutorial describing three ways to share your best content to Social Media. It covers three options:

  • Share each individual pieces of content (manual)
  • Publish your board to social media via Buffer (recommended)
  • Publish your board to social media via RSS (universal)

Read how each one works here!

Ever more collaboration on content from your boards

Reading Time: 2 minutes

We recently did some updates to how you can do collaboration on content from your Cronycle boards.

A new tutorial

For one, we wrote a complete tutorial on board collaboration, including invites, actions on the boards, and publishing. If you are new to Cronycle, you probably find everything you need here.

Board contributor rights

If you are already familiar with Cronycle, here is a bit of explanation of what changed. Board contributors can now do everything the board owner can do, except:

  • Delete the board
  • Publish to Slack and Buffer (because they require personal authentication to those services).

This means that all board contributors can delete and modify content, change board name and description, publish to the other four alternatives (newsletters, RSS, WordPress and Curated Feed).

Board ownership transfer

Another addition to collaboration on content from your boards is board ownership transfer. You will find it in the board settings panel (click on the cog wheel to open it). Expand the information section: by the name of the board owner, there is now a button to transfer ownership.

Transfer board ownership from the settings panel

Note that the transfer can only be done towards another board contributor. So remember to add the relevant contributor before, by clicking on the people icon, just left of the cog wheel.

And also copying across boards

We also did a few updates related to how content is copied across boards. This is very useful in teams who do collaboration on content from their boards: the same content or story arc can be relevant to several collaborators.

First, know that you can copy content across from one board to another. To do that, click on the … at the top of the board tile, and select Copy to Other Board. You will then be directed to select the board to add this content to. Note that the original content stays on the original board.

We changed two things in relation to this feature:

  • we allow the same article to be in several story arcs (ie groups) when some have been copied across
  • we let you decide whether or not to copy the tags and summary to the new board

Don’t hesitate to provide feedback on how boards work (or don’t) for you from our contact form!

Our WordPress Plugin

Reading Time: 1 minute

We recently did a total update of our plugin in WordPress. If you still have the old one, we recommend you read this detailed post and update it in WordPress. If you are new to this, please read on…

The Cronycle Content Plugin enables you to create news feeds on your website, using the content you curate on your Cronycle boards. Curated content includes articles, videos, Twitter conversations and Story Arcs (grouped content), with or without your commentary.

Our plugin has two features:

Board Content as Banner – Provide functionalities to generate a newsfeed banner on your website with certain Cronycle board content. It applies your default font.

Board Content as Draft post – Provide functionalities to fetch Cronycle board content and insert into the WordPress as draft post which can be edited and published to your website.

Create a free Cronycle account today to try it out, and follow our dedicated WordPress plugin guide.

Start using Cronycle for free

Newsletters made simple, by Cronycle

Reading Time: 2 minutes

In an age of exponential content production and social sharing, finding relevant content can feel like painstaking work. Among the options available for your audience to navigate information, curation has grown and is now standing out. Most people trust a few hand-picked curators to do at least some of the work for them. If you are reading this post, you are probably a curator (or a curator-to-be). And that’s what Cronycle can help you achieve, alone or with your team.

In this post, we’ll look at newsletters.

Newsletters are powerful tools to raise awareness of your brand and expertise. But until recently, connecting a myriad of tools to select, create and distribute issues made it a time consuming task many of you could not afford. And any change with one tool made this card castle crumble.

But this has changed, Cronycle made it simple – mostly because we integrate discovery, curation, organization and publishing in our integrated workflow.

Choose Topics of interest from over 50k Topics (and many more sources) and create feeds

Filter feeds with keywords to only get what is potentially relevant within the feeds

Pin content from the feed onto boards, or clip to your board from anywhere on the web using our Content Clipper extensions

Collaborate with your team to enrich the best content on your boards

Drag & drop the best articles within custom sections into our newsletter templates

Import & manage your newsletter distribution list, then send or schedule your issues.

Use the same board content to publish to your WordPress website, social media (via Buffer), RSS, Cronycle Curated feed, or to Slack.

Give it a try! You can sign up for free and you will get 28 days free pro trial to curate, assemble and send newsletters.

Publish content from your Cronycle boards onto your website

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The Cronycle Content Plugin enables you to create news feeds on your website, using the content you curate on your Cronycle boards. It publishes to WordPress your curated content, includes articles, videos, Twitter conversations and Story Arcs (grouped content), with or without your commentary.

Plugin has two features:

  • Board Content as Banner – Provide functionalities to generate a newsfeed banner on your website with certain Cronycle board content.
  • Board Content as Draft post – Provide functionalities to fetch Cronycle board content and insert into the WordPress as draft post which can be edited and published to your website.

Installation


  • Download, install, and activate Cronycle Content plugin from WordPress plugin store. You need a version of PHP of v7.2.8 or higher. If you have a free account on WordPress.com, you need to upgrade to business in order to install plugins, or transfer to WordPress.org. See how to do that here.
  • Login to your Cronycle account. Create board and pin content to it.
  • Then, click on Publish near the top of that board.
  • Switch on Publish to WordPress.
  • It will ask you to connect and generate a token. Copy the token.
  • Now, in WordPress, go to Settings / Cronycle Content, paste the token in the input field and press Save Token to connect the account.
  • Now you will be able to see your board content in WordPress (continue reading “How to Use?” below).
  • Back in Cronycle, on the Board Publish panel, you can adjust the type(s) of content you want to go through to WordPress, per board.
  • If you want to copy your token again, go to your profile page, in the Integrations section.
  • To send the content from several boards, you will need to switch on WordPress for each board, in its publishing settings.
  • When disconnecting, we recommend disconnecting from the WordPress Plugin Settings page.

How to use?


Board Content as a newsfeed banner 

This enables you to include a newsfeed banner on your website, with content from one of your boards. To do so, you can generate a shortcode from the banner shortcode generation options under the Banner tab in the plugin settings. Make sure you have switched on Publish to WordPress for the corresponding board in Cronycle.

Copy the shortcode and paste it into your page content.

You can also use menu options in the Classic editor block to generate and embed shortcode on to your page content.

Here are few examples of generated banners on our website. The banner is responsive, adapting to small screen sizes.

Board Content as Draft post

This feature allows you to pick board items and add them as draft blog posts. In WordPress admin dashboard, you can find your Cronycle board(s) content as draft posts under the ‘Cronycle Content’ menu option. From there you can edit and/or publish any type of board content as a regular WordPress post. You can retrieve content from all the boards you have switched on in Cronycle, in the boards publishing settings.

From the draft post tab in the plugin settings page, you can assign default categories for the content from each board, and turn on & off the transfer of tags used on your boards.

Note that the content from your Cronycle boards is imported only once to the WordPress plugin. If you modify the content on your boards (e.g. add an article to a Story Arc, or edit a summary), the modifications will not appear in WordPress. This is why we recommend using “editor approved” to filter content ready to publish. It lets you collect and refine your content on your board in Cronycle before sending to the WordPress plugin (or other publishing methods). To use it, you need:

  • A Pro or Enterprise account
  • To tick the Editor Approved box when the content is ready
  • To use editor approved as a filter in the publishing settings.

Troubleshooting

I get error messages on the WordPress login page

Although rare, it happens that there is an error following an update and interplay with other plugins. The solution is to:

  • Deactivate the Cronycle Plugin
  • Uninstall the Cronycle Plugin
  • Reinstall the Cronycle Plugin
  • Reconnect the plugin with the token provided in your Cronycle account
  • Set up again your preferences in Settings (default categories, tags, and / or banner shortcode)

The rise of citizen journalist isn’t all bad news for mass media

Reading Time: 3 minutesI discussed Yochai Benkler’s The Wealth of Networks a few weeks back – a seminal text which predicts (amongst other things) the weakening of mass media in the face of a growing ‘prosumer’ movement. If some of Benkler’s other prophecies have not come true (most pointedly the death of intellectual property), the change of media from a one-way street to a two-way discussion most certainly has.

Benkler, however, didn’t predict that support for the mass media would collapse so profoundly. Just under a third of Americans surveyed last year in a Gallup poll had even a fair amount of trust in the mass media, compared to 40% a year before. That disbelief is much more pronounced amongst Republicans (at 14% trust down from 32% in 2015), but even Democrats had slumped to 51% – the lowest on record. The last great drop in trust was in 2004, presumably a result of the Invasion of Iraq.

That lack of trust in legacy media has paved the way for a desire for authenticity, as embodied by citizen media. The sneering of the mass media establishment for those without the mantle of ‘professional journalist’ has lost much of its bite over the years, not least because the ‘amateur’ journalist have often proven quite capable. Consider the most notable example from 2004, when Little Green Footballs and other blogs were able to score one over Dan Rather, regarding George W. Bush’s military record.

As social networks have evolved, some of the most important work comes from formal teams rather than individual bloggers. Few sites embody this better than Bellingcat, which was started by British blogger Elliot Higgins in 2012 and which “uses open source and social media investigation to investigate a variety of subjects.” Like those involved in Rathergate nearly a decade previously, Higgins work investigating the Syrian civil war started as a personal project. Today, a team of analysts affiliated with the Atlantic Council cover a wide range of conflicts, supported by crowdfunding. That citizen journalists can complete investigative work – which is so often expensive, slow, and uncertain – means it can serve as a helpful adjutant to the pre-existing infrastructure of mass media investigations.

The citizen journalist might lack the name or the funding which the mass media offers, but they also avoid the clunky bureaucracy, red tape, and any ideological agenda imposed from atop.  All of this translates into a greater appreciation of authenticity, in which being a bit rough around the edges, or not being an expert in a field,  is seen as an advantage. Think of it as the vox pop, but this time it’s the common person asking the questions.

And yet to place too much faith in authenticity can lessen an interest in verification. As the idea of journalism and political activism has become mixed up, that idea of authenticity has also helped to empower an industry of fake news, who can hawk lies and half-truths on the basis that they are saying what the mainstream media will not. Mike Cernovich, the former men’s rights activist and conspiracy theorist turned Breitbart correspondent, hosts a Patreon for his ‘high impact journalism’, peddling alt right canards including white genocide in South Africa and covert media support Hillary Clinton. Cernovich makes heavy use of Periscope, which offers the same sort of ‘unmediated’ experience as Trump’s tweets.

Even further to the fringe, Alex Jones of InfoWars has perfected aggrieved authenticity as a marketing gimmick. Jones’ violent outbursts against liberals, satanists, and assorted nasties are notorious (including one scene in which he rips his t-shirt off on camera), but they perform a kind of rawness which is rarely found in the mass media. Screaming about demonic possession or challenging random members of the public to fight is so far out of the realms of normal, mass media behaviour that it bolsters Jones’ claim to be unfettered.

It would be unfair to say that the media establishment is not immune to failures or deliberate deceptions by reporters or editors. Checks and balances don’t always work, and to ignore criticisms by the public is arrogant at best, business suicide at worst. So it is encouraging to see when citizen journalism and the mass media work in tandem. At the Washington Post, David Farenthold’s reporting of Trump’s donations relied heavily on working with a broad audience via social media. The idea of sending a reporter around the country looking for a painting would raise an editor’s eyebrow, though probably not their wallets. Instead, Farenthold was able to mobilise a massive group of individuals who previously could only have been involved with journalism through the letters page of a paper or magazine.

A more permanent hybrid currently in the works is WikiTribune, founded by Jimmy Wales of the Wikipedia foundation. “Articles are authored, fact-checked, and verified by professional journalists and community members working side by side as equals,” it claims. If WikiTribune works, it could be the missing link between authenticity and verification we need. Only time will tell, but even if such a high minded example does not play out, we can expect to see a fruitful partnership between the mass media and citizen journalists in years to come – one of the few antidotes to false news and misinformation.