RSS Subscription: Why People Use Your RSS Feed
I’m of two minds when it comes to having RSS subscribers. On the one hand, having that number up there is great social proof and it attracts that many more followers. On the other hand, that number up there doesn’t necessarily mean all those people are reading my blog. And if they’re not reading it in their feed reader or email, chances are they’re not visiting my blog, either. So, how do you get subscribers to read your blog’s RSS feed?
Create scarcity: Most feed service providers have a fee involved once you hit a certain number of subscribers. When you think about it, you’re paying to send out emails and feeds that nobody is reading. Write a blog post and let your readers know that you’re limiting subscriptions to a specific number and anyone who doesn’t open or read at least once a week is going to be deleted to make room for someone who really wants access to your feed.
Give them exclusive content: In exchange for their subscription, offer them exclusive content that non-subscribers won’t have access to. You can do this with password-protected blog posts or by attaching pdf files. You can also use a WordPress plug in that allows you to add exclusive content to your feed footer.
Use catchy titles: If they’re subscribing to your feed they’re probably subscribing to others and there are only so many hours in the day to read blogs. Make your titles attention-grabbing so you stand out from all those other feeds they’re reading. Just make sure you deliver what the title promises, especially if you want them to keep reading in the future.
Blog about it: Put an exclusive link in your feed footer and send your readers to a specific blog post where they can enter a contest or get a free download. Wait a week and then blog about that special contest or download you just offered your feed subscribers. You can bet the people who didn’t see it will start reading your RSS feed now that they know they missed something important.
Post regularly: Posting regularly is important to keep those subscribers reading. Slack off for a week or two and they’ll forget all about you. When you do pop up on their reader again they’ll be racking their brain trying to remember who you are and they’ll probably just delete the feed.
Watch your frequency: On several projects I use FeedBlitz and you can set it to blast your feed as often as you like. I have mine set to go out once a day, in the evening, which is fine, since I only post once a day. If you post three or four times a day you might be tempted to have yours go out every time you post. But most readers don’t like having multiple blasts coming in throughout the day. If you’re clogging up their inbox they might be tempted to clear up the mess by deleting your feed.
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