RSS might seem like ancient history, but think about the ways in which you collect your information. Very few people will regularly browse through a large collection of blogs or websites to see all of the updates that have become available. Sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Google reader make this unnecessary.
With the recent unleashing of Google+ things are about to get a lot more competitive, too. It was easy to see the value in belonging to so many different sites, but with Google+ tying everything together that most web users area already using, competition is definitely heating up. For instance, you can expect to see RSS feeds that are of interest to you pulled right into your Google+ account.
But, wait a second! Whatever happened to RSS feeds as one of the best ways to market your blog? It used to be that readers demanded access to a feed on every single site and every single blogger was talking about how to set yours up. Well think of RSS feeds sort of like Netflix: everyone is using it, but we’re so used to it that we’ve stopped talking about it.
RSS Feeds 101
So, what if you’re not using RSS feeds or focusing on them properly in your blog? What can you do to get started or to do things better? First of all, don’t use the built in feeds that are provided with your content management system.
They can’t be tracked properly and won’t give you the opportunity to claim the clout that you deserve. It’s more important for you to use a tool like Feed Burner, where you can easily track the number of subscribers. This will give you the ability to properly push to your RSS feed.
How Do You Get People to Sign Up?
One of the best things to do with your RSS feed is use it as a way to promote content early. If you are frequently ahead of schedule with your blog posts, you can push things to your RSS feed before they go live on your site. As people see these posts and interact with them, you can make last minute changes to improve your content.
You can also offer them a free report or e-book. There are many articles out there to teach you how to quickly put together a killer e-book or report, so if you aren’t experienced with this you should go look it up right away. Offering the e-book to those who sign up to your RSS feed is a great enticement that should help increase your numbers drastically.
Making Money with Your RSS Feed
You can also use your feed as a way to improve your ability to sell products. For instance, if you are selling click bank products, you can release special posts just to your feed community discussing these products. You can make your community feel special by telling them that they are the only ones you are sharing this information with.
There are also many programs that will enable you to advertise in your feed. The good news is that this feed is generally separate from your main content, meaning you can experiment with different advertisers without violating any of your agreements. Be extra cautious to check the fine print, though.
What RSS Feeds Can’t Do
RSS feeds are only good for getting those who are already interested in your content to continue following you. The RSS feed alone can’t bring you more users. It wasn’t designed this way.
RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. This means that it allows people to integrate your content into their routine. Whether it is a single person bringing it into their RSS reader of choice or another publisher taking your content and publishing it on their site, that’s what it does.
Having an RSS feed won’t bring you more viewers. It’s not like Twitter or Facebook where people interested can share your content or let others know that they like it. It just doesn’t work that way.
But if you already have a group of people coming to your site on a regular basis, then it may provide you an additional alternative to keep people in the group. If you notice you have a large amount of people who come to your site every month, but they don’t regularly join your community, then this might be a part of the solution.
Reconciling your Blog and your RSS Feed
One of the things most people will have trouble with is making sure that they have a good idea of how many people exist on their blog independently from their RSS feed. This can be very difficult to keep track of. The important thing is to go back and check your historical data.
If you could see before your RSS feed that you had, let’s say 100 new visitors per day, and that each month your total number of visitors was increasing by about 30, this would show you how quickly your blog is increasing: one new regular visitor per day.
If you started an RSS feed and saw that you were gaining about 2 new subscribers per day, this would give you some information to work with. Reconciling these numbers is pretty much impossible, though. The best that can happen is getting a rough idea of how many people join the RSS feed but don’t return to the site.
Using survey tools you can publish a survey on your RSS feed and publish another on your site. Ask people to vote as to whether they subscribe to one, the other, or both. Then you can actually reconcile these numbers.
Regardless of your choice to use an RSS feed or to ignore it entirely, you should consider it a viable means to capture audience attention. Many people are still using RSS feeds as a way to keep themselves focused on content without having to visit websites on a regular basis, and that’s what counts.