Posted: 9:50 a.m. Thursday, April 25, 2013
By Christina DesMarais
Flashissue is a slick tool that makes curating and emailing content a snap.
If email newsletters are part of your marketing strategy, you need to get to know Flashissue.
The tool combines content curation with email marketing in a simple interface that has great functionality even at the free level. But the best part is how quickly it works. You can sign in using Facebook or your Google account and in less than five minutes have a newsletter emailed out to readers.
How It Works
Imagine this scenario: You own a specialty food shop and you keep a blog chock full of articles about gourmet trends, recipes, etc. Flashissue can connect with your site, fill up its content gallery with your stories, and let you drag and drop previews of posts right into its editing tool. You see the first couple of sentences of a story, a thumbnail image and a link back to the original full post.
So let's say the focus of your newsletter is on Shiitake mushrooms. Not only does Flashissue let you scroll down a list of all the posts on your blog and grab relevant summaries of each one, you can also search the Internet for things like "Shiitake mushroom health benefits" and pull content from other sources.
Once you've populated Flashissue's editor with enough story summaries, you can also change headline and article descriptions. Why would you want to do that?
Pretend you used Flashissue to search the Web for "why you shouldn't eat raw mushrooms" and found a great story that discusses the reason, but its title and description don't communicate the point you want to highlight. So instead of a title such as "Ask the Doctor: Mushrooms as Superfood," you could get right to the point and label the story "Why You Should Never Eat Raw Mushrooms" and change the description to something about the fact that cooking removes the carcinogen agaritine from fungi.
Flashissue also offers a Google Chrome browser extension that lets you capture stories for your newsletter as you bump into them while traversing the Web.
After giving your newsletter a title and introduction you can upload a banner and decide how you want to deliver it. The free version of Flashissue lets you send out your newsletter via Gmail, Flashissue, or social networks including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ as well as hundreds of other platforms.
A premium account, which currently ranges from $19 to $49 a month, lets you take advantage of Flashissue's integration with MailChimp and Constant Contact, lose Flashissue's branding, and get a host of other additional features. However, it's worth noting that the platform only went live in December and its five-person team is still experimenting with what features and price levels make the most sense.
In about a month, Flashissue will release a tweaked version. The idea is to nix the two most expensive tiers and roll out a more robust Gmail integration, one that lets you never have to leave Gmail to do things like create curated content, build mailing lists, and get analytics on what recipients did with your newsletters.
Flashissue CEO Phil Hill, an Atlanta-based serial entrepreneur, says in the last few months the largest percentage of users have been those glomming onto the free "export to Gmail" feature. He says the majority of Flashissue users don't already use something like MailChimp or Constant Contact but just want to reach the people in their Google address book with a professional looking newsletter.
"It is not their intention to send out a newsletter to thousands of recipients. They want to send out a professional-looking newsletter to 10, 50, or 200 people to grow their business," he says.