Favorite Feature #17: Let Readers Follow Topics on Your Site (Channels!)

It shouldn’t be so hard for your readers to stay notified of the stuff they care most about. Also it shouldn’t be so hard for YOU to get your stories to the readers who care about them.

Search and social are good ways for people to find you, but how about having a way to PUSH stories to the right readers without annoying them or invading their privacy?

Contextly makes that possible with Channels.

Channels lets readers subscribe to follow topics on your site and get notified when you publish more about that topic.

So if you post a Daily Deal or a new post about Knitting, readers that subscribed to those topics will get an email letting them now about the new story.

And, what’s even better: you and your editorial team don’t have to do *anything* differently. There’s literally zero extra editorial work. Just write and tag your stories as usual, and we’ll do the rest of it.

Here’a an example email notification from Cult of Mac to readers that subscribe to its How-To channel:

Contextly Channel Email Example

A couple things to note here:

  1. The email looks like it comes from your site, but we send it for you
  2. Your logo is up there
  3. We notify the reader about new posts about the topic AND fill out the email with other suggestions from your site

Channels are now included in your base Contextly fee. Yup, no extra charges.

To get readers to sign-up, you can either use our inline form (see example below) or a subscription button that shows up in relevant posts on your site.

Email Subscription Sign-Up Form on Mobile

This is an example of the Contextly Channel subscription sign-up form on mobile.

We use your Categories and Tags to categorize posts, and you have control over which ones readers can subscribe to. Additionally, you have lots of easy-to-use controls on what the sign-up prompt looks like, where it is placed and what the notifications look like.

We’ll send you separate reports on how the Channels are doing, including which ones are popular, how many folks signed up, how many notifications we sent out, and how many we think were opened (an imprecise measurement, because not all email clients let us know when an email is opened).

As for privacy, we don’t spam or otherwise annoy these readers. We only email these folks to tell them about your new stories. If they want fewer notifications, they can choose that via a link at the bottom of the notification email, just above the unsubscribe link.

We hope you love building a direct distribution channel to your most loyal readers.

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