Some of the benefits of RSS are immediately obvious. Having people subscribe to your site in order to receive regular updates is a great way to stay on their mind. But syndication offers less obvious benefits, including possible search engine visibility. There are also ways to use RSS that you may not be aware of. Here’s how to make the most of your feed.
Using RSS to Attract Links
Whenever somebody subscribes to your site, whether it is via RSS or a social networking profile, it means that they will be regularly exposed to your content. The benefit of this is that they will be more likely to come back to your site.
A less obvious benefit is the fact that many bloggers and site owners use RSS feeds to keep track of what is happening in their industry. If you’ve had some experience linkbaiting, your ears should immediately perk up when you hear this.
For the uninitiated, here’s exactly why this is so important. Bloggers who want to stay relevant will comment on the latest posts of interest in their niche. If other bloggers are subscribed to your RSS feed, and you continuously offer information that can’t be found elsewhere on the web, the likelihood that bloggers will link to you skyrockets.
One key to success that most sites don’t explicitly mention is the need to write for not just a reading audience, but a blogging audience. Pay close attention to the top blogs in your industry, and the types of posts that they link to. Those are the kinds of posts you should be writing. While it’s important to have appeal to anybody interested in your niche, the material should be especially targeted toward other bloggers.
The previous section mentioned that many bloggers use RSS feeds to stay current in their field. There’s a good reason for this. Be sure to set up your own RSS feed so that you always know what’s happening in your industry. It’s important that you speak the same language as your target market, and this is one of the best ways to do it.
Optimize Your Social Media Presence
You can use a tool like dlvr.it or twitterfeed to link your RSS and social media networks together. Instead of needing to manually send out submissions to a bunch of different networks, you can bundle them all together and send them out at the same time.
You can also mine your inbound RSS feed for articles that are worth sharing with your social networks. Not everything you share needs to be your own content. It’s okay to send traffic too somebody else. As long as you are offering a perceived value to your audience by sharing the material, they will become more loyal.
Take advantage of aggregation by modifying the RSS content module. You can include a “read more” link at the end of every description. In this way, if your RSS feed gets scraped by an aggregator and posted automatically, it will include a link back to your site. The SEO benefits of this are obvious, and if it’s a popular aggregator it should also send some traffic your way.
Additionally, there are RSS directories that allow you to syndicate your feed on their site, which can send even more links your way. It may be a good idea to find the Alexa rank of these directories and focus on the ones with the most traffic.
Call to Action
One of the pieces of the puzzle that many people seem to forget about is just to ask. You don’t need a heavy-handed call to action; in fact it’s probably best to avoid one. Simply asking your readers to subscribe, politely but not pleadingly, is often all it takes.
Think of it as a reminder more than anything else. Most people use the internet in “default mode.” They are passively consuming information. Even if they enjoy it, they won’t typically think of subscribing or sharing the material unless they are asked. Just include something like this:
“I’ll be writing several more articles on this subject in the coming weeks so be sure to subscribe to my RSS feed if you haven’t already.”
Include the link to your feed in the call to action, and place the call to action somewhere in the actual content of the article. Don’t place an automated message at the end of each article. Tailor it to fit the article and place it somewhere after the very beginning and before the very end.
Never make it sound “salesy.”