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Marketers use of RSS and syndication on the rise

A panel this morning at SXSW on ‘Using RSS for Marketing‘ covered where marketers are in the adoption of RSS, the reasons marketers should use RSS, and what marketers are doing wrong in their use of RSS.

Sean Ammirati, of mSpoke reporting for Read/WriteWeb from SXSW, and my source for this post, had these panel highlights:

  • User adoption of RSS is continuing to grow.
  • Inclusion of an RSS reader in Internet Explorer 7 has helped increase adoption.
  • A 500% growth in the automotive vertical in 2006 is evidence of RSS growth spreading outside of the technology and early-adopter crowd.
  • It’s all about subscribing to content as most people don’t actually know they are consuming RSS content.
  • Companies like Pheedo, which serves in ads in RSS feeds, has stopped talking about RSS in pitches to advertisers and now just talks about ‘content distribution’ or ‘syndication’.

And the reasons marketers should syndicate content from Sean:

  • An easy and faster way to deliver information to their customers and other audience members.
  • Marketers are becoming more like publishers and RSS is a great way for marketers to participate in publishing industry.
  • It is a very easy way to optimize your content for search results, because if your feed is optimized then the content is crawled and archived efficiently for search results.

And what are marketers doing wrong in their use of RSS?

  • Being too stingy with their content, with most wanting to restrict RSS feeds to partial text, even though research finds the difference clicking back to the website/blog syndicating the content is not statistically significant between full and partial text.
  • Not including your company’s name in posts and potentially even as part of the title (like the AP feeds). You’ll need to be careful with this one so your RSS feeds are not seen as bold faced marketing.
  • Not making sure your content is easy to subscribe to. When targeting lower-tech audiences include a video or page description, explaining exactly how to subscribe to your content.
  • Not tracking stats on feeds and overlooking the importance of including basic analytics.

Sean had similar findings on the use of RSS in a ‘RSS Next and Best Practices‘ report he did the Newspaper Association of America.

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