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.
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.