RSS Marketing

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[ 2005-February-23 19:33 ]

Please excuse this post about blogging. I normally refrain from weblog navel gazing, but I can't resist this time. Microsoft's Robert Scoble recently flamed another Microsoft employee for not providing an RSS feed on a marketing site. An analyst for Jupiter Research, Eric Peterson, responded that Scoble doesn't get it (emphasis mine):

Media properties like, entertainment sites like, financial servics sites like Bloomberg, even developer sites like MSDN are all excellent canidates for using RSS in a way that actually contributes something meaningful to the body of available syndicated content. Well written content, deployed and updated frequently -- this should be the low-bar for making the decision to deploy an RSS feed. Most marketing sites (forgive me) fail to satisfy either requirement.

I think that is Scoble's point exactly. It's not about RSS, it's a much more serious problem: marketing sites are completely useless, so why would anyone visit one? As Eric points out, they don't have well written content, and they aren't updated frequently. Maybe that is fine for more traditional, "commodity" products that someone buys once and then forgets about. However, any company that wants to turn a sale into more sales needs to "hook" that customer into coming back. Marketing sites need to rethink their entire strategy. The web is not a print newspaper. As Scoble says frequently, if you want a repeat customer, encourage a personal, two-way dialogue. Those are sites that people want to visit, and those are companies that people want to buy from. Or at least I do.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled, (sometimes) well written, frequently updated, hard core geek content.