What do savvy marketers have to say about RSS? What are their top tips?
We set to find that out end of 2004 to collect the best possible insights on RSS marketing from top marketers and RSS developers and leaders, for Unleash the Marketing & Publishing Power of RSS.
Let’s get started …
1. How can RSS be fully integrated in our marketing and communications mix
Answered by Robin Good, MasterNewMedia.org
“From what I can see RSS is an effective marketing channel in that it allows easy and extended distribution of your core news and information channels to the widest possible audience with very low costs, maximum compatibility with a great number of media devices and with the added ability for the customer to take on this information and reuse it to hir (his + her) benefit.
That allows customers to further become marketers and promoters of your own products and services. If we openly allow the content of public RSS feeds to be freely subscribed, syndicated, re-aggregated and republished we will only find that new and greater value can be extracted every time someone goes about doing this.
So it is important not to keep RSS newsfeeds under locks.
RSS is one of the purest viral marketing channels. Its virality being spelled clearly in its acronym: Really Simple Syndication.
Yes, you need to make these three words make sense to you in order to leverage the maximum out of this content format.
Allow syndication. Don’t limit it.
Let others take your RSS feed and do things with it. Encourage them to do so. Have them use it to republish your news (among others) on their home page. Help them achieve that. Write and explain with short stories or simple tutorials how easy it is to search, filter and aggregate content from different RSS feeds and to create dedicated niche newsfeeds on most any topic you can think of. Explain openly that if you do create such dedicated newschannels they can be as easily republished as news Web site, which can carry contextual ads (Google AdSense) from day one. Very sustainable if not altogether profitable.
Look for example at the work being done by Waypath with their Blender experiment and see other useful and complementary uses of RSS that can be economically profitable.”
And another great tip from Robin: “Create as many RSS newsfeeds for your content as are the topic/themes that you cover. Do not pack all of your content under one generic RSS channel.”
2. What’s really going to drive readers/customers to adopt RSS? Buyers of what products and services are most likely to adopt RSS?
Answered by Bill French, MyST Technology Partners
“I don’t think anyone wants to adopt RSS; rather they want timely information in a controlled and organized way such that it helps them do their jobs better, or manage their personal information diet. This is precisely the reason we adopted (for the most part) SMTP – but none of us considered “adopting SMTP”. Email applications and the benefits of a store-and-forward architecture with reasonable assurance of delivery drove us into the realm of SMTP. And the driving force that seems to be causing early adopters to use RSS feeds has more to do with the volume of information and news that we find ourselves awash in each day.
There’s no question; everyone will eventually adopt RSS (or similar formats) but we’ll know that has happened when no one refers to it as RSS. ;-)”
3. How would you compare RSS and e-mail as content delivery tools?
Answered by Tom Hespos, Underscore Marketing
“RSS is all about consumer control. How many times have you thought about subscribing to an e-mail newsletter but thought, “Nah, they’ll probably sell my e-mail address to spammers” and didn’t subscribe? With RSS, consumers can unsubscribe from feeds at any time, so the risk of getting unwanted content or spam is virtually nil.
I think consumers have been waiting for something like this for quite some time. The added control will make them more likely to want to aggregate content from publishers they read regularly. As a marketing guy, I think it’s appropriate to mention that moving to rss syndication is not without its risks. Content publishers know that it’s somewhat cumbersome to unsubscribe from an e-mail newsletter, so they’ve taken certain chances with their e-mail newsletters that they won’t be able to take with RSS – they carry standalone sponsor messages, load up their HTML newsletters with animated ads, maybe take a risk with some of the stories they write.
Since the “unsubscribe” button is right there for feed subscribers, publishers might not get a second chance if they screw up. With RSS, there’s no broadcasting a “Please come back” message to people who unsubscribe. If you lose someone, you lose them until they decide to come back. So I’m sure publishers will need to handle RSS with kid gloves until they get a sense of what their subscribers will like and what will make them run for the door.”