Why I’m Quitting RSS

Back when I started in the digital marketing space in 2009, RSS feeds were all the rage. Before that, I started blogging around 2003/2004 and when RSS became popular it was hands down the best way to spread your content online. I remember focusing so hard on that RSS subscribers number because that was the way you built an audience and could get your content to them. Remember, this was before Twitter even existed and when Facebook was still in its very nascent stages (I still can’t believe I have been on Facebook for almost 12 years as of this year).

RSS was fantastic back in the day, but I believe that its utility has finally run out. With the death of Google Reader and the rise of social networks across the world as well as the growth of messaging apps like Slack, people now receive the content that they want to read via other channels than an automated email that’s not formatted well and feels like it doesn’t belong there.

So, as of today I’ve killed the RSS feed on this site and here’s what I’m replacing it with.

Specific Email Campaigns

Over the last few years I have learned a lot about email marketing. Specifically, I have learned that email marketing is really hard to do right but when it’s done right you can grow your business by leaps and bounds. The SEO in me thinks that most of the content that I write should be available without being logged in, though the businessman in me is starting to rethink that. I did launch a Free Transactional Email Marketing Course in March 2016, which is my first foray into creating things that are opt-in as opposed to findable in other ways.

All this said, I’ve also started doing more email marketing to the email lists I’ve been able to build over the years (if you’re coming to this article from an email I sent, then you’re already there. If you’re not signed up, then you can at the bottom of this post). As I’ve been building Credo fulltime, I’ve been doing a lot more marketing of myself again by being a guest on podcasts, writing guest posts again, engaging on forums like Inbound.org, and a lot more. Often, the things I am talking about and participating in are very interesting to all of you reading this blog. I’ve started sending one-off emails when I do something like the BelowTheFold podcast on personal branding or participate in Inbound.org’s Digital Agency AMA.

Moving forward, I’m starting to send dedicated original emails to my email list announcing new posts and sharing some stories and the background to “why” I wrote the post as well. Often I’ve found that those stories are more interesting to people than the actual post, or at least those stories help to give context and people get more value from these posts.

Sending dedicated emails for new posts is more work, to be sure, but I think the tradeoff is worth it for better engagement and to provide more value to those of you who have entrusted me with your email address!

Scheduled Social Media

Some people bristle at the thought of semi-automated or scheduled social media, and rightfully so. It’s hard to do right. However, I believe that it can be done well and I’ve seen it done well. Social media is also the place where most people discover content that is interesting to them, and also where they share it. So, it’s important to have a presence there.

This is partially why I have invested a lot of time in growing my Twitter account and am now working to grow my professional Facebook page. Lots of sites receive a lot of traffic from Facebook and other social media channels, and being a marketer I want to figure out how they are doing it and also do it for myself and my business (and clients when I have them). Part of this is also figuring out how to do automation and scheduling well so that I am consistently sharing useful content as well as engaging in real time (a mix of both is needed).

I use Buffer for sharing content across my social media profiles, but there are a few other ways I am trying to automate social media in smart ways:

  1. Automatically tweeting and posting new blog posts to social media profiles as they go live.
  2. Using IFTTT to automatically add an article I have favorited on Pocket to my Buffer queues.
  3. Sharing articles I’ve read on Pocket to my Pocket Recommended List (you can follow me there too!)
  4. Scheduling, via Buffer, posts to be reposted on social media two more times after the original share.

I’m sure I will find more ways to do some smart automation while also staying very engaged on social media channels.

Paid Social Budget

Finally, I’ve been experimenting with paid social media for a bit now. I’ve done some retargeting on Facebook for Credo traffic and been experimenting with promoting posts to specific groups of people that I have cookied after a visit to my sites. This is proving to be effective in driving business results and so it is something I plan to do more often.

I’ve learned a lot over the last few years from Larry Kim and Marty Weintraub around how to do this in very smart (and sneaky) ways, so I’m trying to learn from the best and see what the results are. So far, they’re great. You can put super low amounts of money into promotion and see some great results from it, so it’s a no-brainer for me. I look forward to experimenting with this a lot more!

Occasional Cross-Posting of Content

Occasionally when a post gets popular or was popular in the past, I cross-post it somewhere else, such as Medium (my profile here). Now, some of you SEOs out there are probably screaming “THAT’S DUPLICATE CONTENT”, which is kind of true but, meh. There’s an audience on Medium that isn’t here, so that tiny risk is worth it to get in front of that audience. Also, do we really think that the search engines can’t figure out the original source of the content based off the headers and dates on the page, and thus rank the correct one? I make sure to link back to the original from the cross-posted article, so I feel just fine about this. It’s all about economies of scale.

tl;DR – cross post but do it in smart ways, and audience matters more.

Are you still using RSS, or have you killed it as well? I’d love to learn what other ways you are now using to promote content across the different inbound and paid marketing channels! Leave a comment and share some wisdom!


7 thoughts on “Why I’m Quitting RSS

  1. I don’t quite understand why you’re going as far as switching off the RSS feed. It is probably automatically created and takes no work. And it may have benefits you don’t see beyond the subscriber count.

    e.g. I use feedly to aggregate articles from bloggers (like you), news websites, forums, social channels and whatever I’m interested in that provides a feed. I even use aggregators that provide an rss feed of the articles they find via thinks like authoritative tweets.

    All the stuff I am interested in is easy to scan through and read if it catches my eye.

    That is the main single place I go every day to keep up with what’s being said. Then I check all the different social channels, if I have time. And email subscriptions tend to be on the bottom of my list (yours was the first I’d read and reacted to in a long time).

    Several good authors have missed out in being on my reading list because they don’t provide a feed. Google Groups lost my participation for a long time, partly because I could not follow new posts the way I want, via a feed.

    Switching off the feed in my mind means closing a channel that requires no effort, and may benefit you.

  2. I think a lot of people who still use RSS still do prefer full length RSS. There’s just so few left.
    RSS feeds for years, pulling in all the content and republishing it in the hope of ranking in the search engines with that content

      1. I shall switch over. I enjoy your posts. I’ve ruthlessly culled my email subscriptions over the past few months so you shouldn’t get lost in my inbox. Nudge appreciated 🙂

  3. I ditched most of my RSS feeds when I found somebody using mine to scrape and republish my content on a very spammy site. I know I’m still not safe but I don’t want to make it a easy as possible for content thieves.

    The death of Google Reader is when I stopped using other’s RSS feeds at all.

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