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Advice for big brands: if you’re going to blog, please include an RSS feed

I can’t believe it’s happened again. This time around, the culprit is General Mills.

There I was, reading an article in the New York Times about how General Mills has made “Gluten Free” a big part of its business. I try to be as health-conscious as possible (after all, you have nothing, without your health) so I figured I’d take a closer look at this www.glutenfreely.com portal that General Mills is putting its name behind. Sure enough, the site has a fairly in-depth blog section, which makes me happy, because subscribing to a blog is often the first step for me in terms of engaging/transacting with a brand.

But there’s just one problem, I can’t seem to find any sort of RSS/XML feed.

Sure, I can “Like” them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter. I can also subscribe for emails or even sign up to become a member of the site. All great things to be sure.

But guess what? I don’t want to do any of those things (not right now, anyway). Instead, I’m one of the millions of web users that prefers to subscribe to blogs post via RSS readers like Google Reader. And right now, I’m starting to think that glutenfreely.com (and General Mills) isn’t worth engaging with in a significant way.

Side Note: Some of you may have heard that RSS is dead. Newsflash: It isn’t.

See here’s the thing. I’m fully aware of the power of social networks like Facebook and Twitter. I also understand the value of getting someone to sign up for an email newsletter. However – and this is important to note – as an avid blog reader (e.g. I subscribe to dozens of blogs across a wide variety of topics) I know for a fact that many, if not most, of my fellow blog fanatics prefer RSS over all other forms of syndication. And when you don’t even bother to offer this fundamental form of blog syndication, it turns me (and my fellow blog fans) off in a big way.

Almost like you don’t get it (e.g. you don’t get the blog reading crowd).

And that more or less defeats the purpose of creating a blog in the first place.

Don’t get me wrong. I give General Mills props for catering to health-conscious consumers of its products, and I also give their marketing department props for helping push for a blog presence to support this health-conscious facet of their business. Unfortunately, years of enterprise agency experience have taught me that General Mills is not alone in alienating the RSS crowd.

Therefore, I felt compelled to write this post. Think of it as a bit of friendly advice.

If you’re a corporate entity that venturing into blogging waters for the first time – or even if you already have a blog up and running – please make sure to include an RSS/XML feed. It will make the blog reading crowd happy.

And that equals incremental ROI for your business.



Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Miguel

    For me personally, my RSS has become SO overridden by having just too many great blogs that I wanted to follow. So what I do is that for just the very best (that’s you Hugo) I like to subscribe by email. I’m always in my email so this works better for me. I just can’t bring myself to cut out any of the blogs in my RSS so I keep it there for “when I have time” to go through lots of content. But again, this is just preference.

    I do agree with you though. Why not just offer RSS. Even if just 5% of your visitors might use it, just offer it. It’s super easy to setup.

    • Anonymous

      No doubt, Miguel. Different strokes for different folks, which is all the more reason to make sure that you offer all of those strokes (particularly when one of those strokes, RSS, is a known favorite of the avid blog reader).

      Thanks for chiming in!

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