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Local organizations have contacted us about integrating their calendars with ours. They have been able to accomplish this with other local news sites. This would allow them to post the event to their calendar and it automatically appears in ours. Since most modern calendaring software supports the iCal format (as does Town News), would it be possible to integrate approved calendars? I understand we can currently import iCal, however making this more automated would be beneficial for both us internally and our community contacts.
We can accept an iCal feed from other sites and feed that into your Calendar. The site hosting the events would need to provide you that feed. Please contact our support team for setup.
We recently launched our website in February, and while it's still relatively simple in design, we're always working on integrating new technology in order to stay ahead of our competition; however, two of the integrations I'm still having problems with are Apple News and Google Play Newsstand.
- Apple News - hasn't been updated in over a year, or forwards to the AMP page.
- Google Play Newsstand - simply returns with a "404" error.
While in theory I could publish an RSS feed (which is another problem in itself) to Apple News, I have heard mixed results of success unless you're publishing in ANF — the format Apple is essentially requiring for any sort of success. When it comes to Newsstand, I simply don't know where to begin on the BLOX end for integration.
Could someone please clarify as to the status of these full integrations. Have they actually been released but not updated in the help guide, still in development, or scrapped entirely?
I'm sorry you were having difficulty with the documentation. This was up there before, but I'm not sure if it was removed, or what. I will alert our documentation team. =)
But, I can give you some updates / instructions to try to help you out in the meantime.
For Google Newsstand, we do indeed have a special feed for that. It is essentially just an RSS feed with an additional altf=google_newsstand parameter. Like this:
As for Apple News, we have been working with some beta customers on a test implementation of this, to try to learn about the format and all the caveats (there are many thus far). We are still planning on doing a native integration this year, but it got shuffled around a few times and we have been delayed. It is still on our roadmap though!
I hope this helps! Thanks!
In another community topic, Craig from Calkins was discussing adding a "Fact Box" on articles to show transparency about how the article was written.
I would actually love to talk to you guys about this more. What can TownNews.com do, as your CMS, to help you establish greater trust with your readers?
We've actually been in discussions with Google on ways to employ Fact Check schema in our articles, using ClaimReview and Fact Check data. I think this would be like a Related Content item, but would have some little fields along with it, such as the claim that was made, the "rating" of the claim (true/false on a scale), and the source that was used to verify/debunk the claim. These would be separate Content items, so you could multiples per article, and could even drag them inline next to the claim being made.
As part of that, I'm also looking at ways for news orgs to be more transparent in reporting...
Some ideas that were being discussed:
- Headline labels to differentiate opinion, satire, commentary, etc. (To avoid confusion that this item may not be news)
- Publication information - date posted, edits, updates, maybe revisions
- Location of reporter
- Sources / citations / references
- Questions from users in response to the article
- Conflicts of interest and other declarations
- Updates (Related Content item)
- Corrections (Related Content item)
And then I like Craig's additions of:
- researched by ___
- edited by ___
- interviews conducted
- fact checked by ___
Maybe there would be a way to differentiate stories that had this information versus other stories? Like, there would be an icon next to the headline... ?
Also, should this be fielded data to help each newsroom remember to write each thing? It could even be like a wizard for the reporter to fill out... Or should it be just a free-form box where you type stuff in?
What do you guys think? Would you use this? Is there even time for this in resource-strapped newsrooms?
At our May 2017 customer webinar, we showed you how the latest changes to BLOX Live e-Editions can help you make your multimedia print replica more lucrative and engaging than ever. We also discussed how you can use BLOX Total CMS to simplify creation and segmentation of your Live e-Edition.
- Boosting revenue with new Live e-Editions ad positions.
- Affordable long-term archiving of your Live e-Editions.
- Painless e-Edition creation with BLOX Total CMS.
Don't know if this is the appropriate means for suggesting an improvement, but here goes. There really needs to be a batch edit option within a collection.
I just pulled in a collection through syndication from the Times-Dispatch that included over 100 images of Dale Earnhardt Jr. Since they were not flagged appropriately, the "Buy now" button was appearing on the majority of images. The images all had varied titles and slugs, so my only recourse in flagging them as AP or contributed was to open each file > select the appropriate flag > save and close.
Easy work, but time consuming and unnecessarily repetitive.
This type of situation happens at least a couple of times per week.
Adding a batch edit function to the collections would be an easy fix.
We use photo collections throughout the site, but often find them being built with images that are set to Do Not Publish in the status. It would be helpful to see the status along with the other Title and Start Time for each item within the collection. Would anyone else find this helpful?
Webinar | Introducing TownNews.com iQ Engage
Looking for an easy way to boost pageviews, time on site and ad revenue while slashing bounce rates? At our April customer webinar, Tim Turner, program manager at TownNews.com, will introduce iQ Engage--our all-new, BLOX CMS-integrated, user engagement engine.
You'll learn how iQ Engage harnesses the power of audience browsing data to present users with content that meets their specific interests--increasing engagement from both drive-by and returning visitors.
Topics will include:
- How behavioral content recommendations can help make your site stickier.
- How to use audience segments to create dynamic experiences that drive user engagement.
- How to get started with iQ Engage!
Our publications recently switched to Flex. With the switch, photos in mugshot no longer appear as small images to the left at the top of the story. Instead, they are really large photos all the way at the bottom, which is not ideal for mugshots. Are there any efforts to change this?
What's new in the Content Exchange
At our March customer webinar, Tim Turner, Content Exchange Program Manager, at TownNews.com, will share lessons learned and best practices to help you get the most from this FREE program. He'll also give a preview for what is coming in 2017.
Topics will include:
- Tools and best practices to help you reap the benefits of the Content Exchange.
- Data insights to show you what content is most- and least-effective in building traffic and audience.
- The latest third-party content partnerships.
- Client success stories to help you understand what content strategies are working for other sites.
That's the easy way. I think another thing that would help this issue would be to add a "Are you sure you want to cancel?" prompt if the "Cancel" is clicked and the asset hasn't been saved in a while.
I know TownNews is proud of its in-browser asset creation, but I think the majority of the reporters here have been burned too many times and just write in a word processor, then copy and paste it in TCMS.
It's important to remember that a customers trust is at it's highest right after they complete a transaction with a company.
Email receipts are the easiest way into an inbox, yet they’re the most underutilized form of email marketing, especially when working with Town News.
Having the ability to further communicate with our already engaged customers opens up opportunities to cross sell, upsell, offer discount codes on future transactions, promote social media accounts, set up a feedback loop to better understand the process/customer experience and offer logical next steps to customers who have completed a transaction, submitted content or posted a review.
Today's companies want to reach and engage more customers with every contact and e-receipts are an easy way to do so.
Revenue resolutions: Easy ways to make more money from your site in 2017
At our January 2017 customer webinar, Christine Masters, director of product management at TownNews.com, will share exciting tips and techniques to help you find ways to make money in the new year. We'll talk about:
- Boosting ad revenue with advanced targeting techniques.
- Tapping the Content Exchange to create sponsored "niche" sections.
- Using SearchBoost to improve the reach of your print-to-online ads.
- . . . and lots more!
Keywords can be a little daunting when you're starting out but have a huge archive. We've never been big on using keywords but it's something I'm trying to change in the new year. Something that would make the job a lot easier would be to set a list of keywords and have BLOX comb through our assets and assign those keywords whenever the exact match is found.
There will undoubtedly be errors in the form of keywords being assigned incorrectly but the benefit of them being auto filled would surely outweigh the errors. And to help maybe you could have certain sections not be affected by the auto filled keywords, for instance obituaries.
And the responsibility to make sure the keywords are specific enough would rest on the individual webmasters. If there's a city official named John Smith, it wouldn't be a good idea to have a keyword of "john smith" auto assigned.
TCMS is a system that prides itself on being automated when it comes to web publishing. And it is for the most part. But TCMS requires a lot of clicks to get an asset to have all the info it needs before publication. There could be an easier way for assigning keywords given the proper pre-planning. I think adding a pre-set list of keywords that would then be auto assigned to assets would be a really big help in this automation.
Anyone else think they would benefit from this?
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