Zachary Rodgers on the The ClickZ Network had an interesting piece this week on RSS advertising showing signs of life.

This bodes well for the legal industry, not necessarily with each lawyer picking up a enough in ad revenue for an extra pint a week, but in other respects.

First the key points from Rodgers’ article.

  • 34% of global respondents to a March social media survey from Universal McCann said they use RSS feeds, a huge increase from just 15% a year ago.
  • 19% of Americans use RSS feeds. Admittedly less than the RSS-addicted nations, Russia (57%), Brazil (55%) and China (54%).
  • Gawker Media, one of the more successful blog networks, grew its revenue from feed-driven traffic by 300 percent in Q1 2008.
  • Gawker now pulls an average CPM of $4 or $5 for its RSS inventory, only little less than they they get on the blog sites themselves.
  • Some publishers are seeing their page views from RSS nearing the page views of blog and Web sites themselves.
  • Google’s FeedBurner will soon deliver AdSense ads contextual to the subject of the feed in addition to premium CPM ads directly sold onto RSS fee content.

I don’t see lawyers needing to run ads on RSS feeds to keep a roof over their head. Some bloggers need to make money in advertising from their blogs. Such bloggers are akin to magazine publishers – ads keep the lights on.

Lawyers do not have to sell ads on their blogs and RSS feeds. Lawyers make money by blogging in an effective manner. Doing so lawyers enhance their reputation as thought leaders, landing business the lawyers want as a result.

But I see three areas where ads on lawyers RSS feeds hold value.

  • Tasteful, brief ad mentioning that the blog and resulting feed are sponsored by a particular lawyer, law firm, or practice group. Much like an ad you would hear on local NPR radio. Low key for branding purposes.
  • As revenue for a third party syndicating law blog content to to a lawyer’s target audience (clients – current & prospective, bloggers, traditional media – trade & mass). Blogging lawyers will come to understand the tremendous value of such third party publishers aggregating (with editorial review) relevant and timely blog content for delivery of such content to this target audience. Syndicators with significant overhead in people and publishing platforms will need a revenue model. The alternative to ads is charging lawyers.
  • The cost of maintaining a professional turnkey blog solution required by leading lawyers, law professors, and law students could be supplemented by ad revenue.

As traditional publishers are being pressed by declining distribution and ad revenue, we need to look for new opportunities to generate revenue. With increased use of RSS feeds and more cost effective ways to deliver ads on RSS feeds, maybe there’s some opportunities.