Review By Lee Sykes
A Marketers guide to Understanding and Taking Advantage of RSS for Marketers and Publishers
By Rok Hrastnik http://rss.marketingstudies.net/book/t/
I came across this e-book after reading one of Rok's articles. Before I read this e-book I had a basic understanding of RSS feeds. I understood that you could take an RSS feed from another website and use it to display content on your own website. I used RSS feeds to display the latest news related to my topic from sources such as moreover.com and that was as far as I ventured.
I did not subscribe to any RSS feeds for my own personal use, and I did not understand the massive benefits RSS can bring.
Over the past two months I have been reading the 344 page e-book, listening to Rok's mp3 audio interviews with RSS experts, and watching the 73 minute video presentation on RSS. I have slowly been absorbing all of this information and putting into practice the advice that is presented in this material.
What do you get for your money?
Upon payment, you get full access to the members only area of the website, this includes:
- Unleash the marketing Power ebook pdf – 344 pages
- 33 Expert RSS Interviews transcribed into a pdf – 219 pages
- Unleash the marketing Power ebook (The “short” version) pdf – 269 pages
- 73 minute video presentation
- 9 MP3 audio interviews regarding RSS and Marketing (ranging from 30-45mins)
This e-book goes into some serious detail; it walks you through a step by step process to help you fully understand RSS, the benefits and how to use it.
Each section builds on the previous section and helps you to analyze your RSS needs by providing you with a summary and a list of questions to ask yourself before continuing onto the next section. These questions really help you to learn and further explore each topic.
Because this book covers so much information, I will give you an overview of the content from each section and demonstrate what you will learn from that section.
1. Introduction to Internet Content Delivery and RSS (pages 11-37)
Detailed description of the current content delivery methods and how important content delivery is in terms of making or breaking your internet business. It explains the problems with email for delivering your content and then begins an introduction to RSS.
The introduction covers the benefits of using RSS in terms of marketing and the benefits to the end-users.
2. Discover what RSS is and how it works (pages 39-66)
This looks at the various options available for consuming RSS feeds and goes on to provide a list of various client-side RSS aggregators, web based aggregators, server side aggregators, and internet browsers with RSS features. It then demonstrates how to subscribe to an RSS feed using the various types of aggregators.
This is essential information that would take an age to research, having this information in one section allows you to test the various aggregators and put into practice subscribing to various RSS feeds. From this information and practical experience you can learn how end-users are using and subscribing to RSS feeds. – Essential knowledge before creating your own RSS feeds.
3. Understanding the technical aspects (pages 67-83)
This explains XML, what a feed consists of, important things to remember, publishing in full-text, rich media RSS. From this knowledge you gain a better understanding of how RSS works, which helps you to make decisions on the presentation format of your RSS feeds. – ie. Full-text or summaries, making use of images, audio or video.
4. The Marketing and Publishing Basics of RSS (pages 84-107)
This is an introduction to marketing with RSS, looking at the pros and cons, comparisons with email, and key business uses of delivering content to End-users.
From this section you will learn the possibilities available to you and your business through implementing RSS. From the key business uses section, my eyes were opening wider with each line I read, it was inspiring and provided several ideas that previously I would not have even considered.
5. Marketing with RSS (pages 107-276)
We now get into the main information in the book. This is split into six sections.
It begins by presenting extensive examples of practical uses by content types and delivering this content to a mass audience, for instance, providing RSS feeds of news, ezines, downloads etc. and with each of the content types looks at the different delivery methods available.
Each of the content type sections provides live business website examples and descriptions with the pros and cons so that you can view their methods and research what content other companies place in their own RSS feeds.
The book then looks at how to deliver the content to a mass audience, covering the various types of RSS feed, the subscription methods and the technology you would need to implement. Again, there are live business website examples with pros and cons ranging from very simple RSS delivery methods to the most complex, these methods also range in price from free methods to very expensive.
This information must have taken a very long time to put together. Being able to visit an example website really helps in the initial stages of researching how other companies present information via RSS and enables you to take the best elements from each of these websites and put them together for your own RSS feeds.
This information alone is invaluable.
From delivering to a mass audience Rok then discusses delivering to Segmented Target Audiences, again covering practical uses by content type and how to deliver the content.
Again, each of these elements consists of extensive live website examples.
The marketing with RSS Chapter now moves onto:
- Secure Direct One-to-One or One-to-Many Communications
- Providing your own RSS aggregator
- Syndicating your web content to various web media (ie. Other web sites) – covering content, technology, promotion.
- Using RSS and Email together
Once you reach the end of this chapter you can follow the exercise steps that Rok outlines. These steps build on the previous exercises you carried out in the previous chapters. This enables you to carefully examine all of the opportunities provided to you by RSS and allows you to consider how you are going to include RSS in your marketing strategy and plan your RSS feeds.
6. The Basics of creating your RSS feeds (pages 277-288)
This explains the various possibilities available for creating an RSS feed from hand-coding, scraping, to using an advanced content management system.
The great advantage DotNetNuke® portals have here is that they already have the facilities for creating RSS feeds for free. With the information presented in this e-book you are now ready to create your own RSS feed. – You can view a tutorial on how to create an RSS feed in DotNetNuke
7. Promote your RSS feed (pages 289-333)
This covers on-site promotion, subscription mechanisms, promoting the feed within aggregators, and a detailed discussion on external RSS feed promotion.
This is valuable advice, the information on subscription mechanisms and external promotion is of particular use which would take a long time to research.
8. The Basics of RSS Metrics (pages 334-344)
Explains how you can measure and improve your RSS content delivery. It discusses the various options you have available for tracking the readership of your RSS feeds.
To get the most from the book, Rok has created 9 MP3 audio interviews and 33 transcribed interviews with the “RSS minds” and experts in the world today. These interviews are highly informative, full of tips, and confirmed the need to set up RSS feeds on all of my websites.
My attitude to RSS feeds two months later is very different. I have subscribed to several RSS feeds using a web based aggregator – www.pluck.com (Integrates with IE and Firefox). I regularly read any updates that occur in the feeds because the pluck reader informs me of any updates. I no longer have to regularly re-visit any websites to read the latest information, it comes direct to me. If I find the content is not to my liking I delete the feed from my list and I no longer receive the content. I now receive the latest information without fail.
In fact I have found recently that rather than bookmark, I take the RSS feed, I don’t even use bookmarks anymore!
With regards to my websites, I have published RSS feeds which users are picking up and subscribing to, they receive regular updates from the websites, RSS directories are picking up the RSS feeds, websites are publishing articles via RSS feeds and my websites are beginning to receive traffic via the RSS feeds. There is still more work to be done with the RSS feeds, but this is an ongoing process, where I am carrying out a small task each day.
The book has also provided several business inspiring ideas of how you can use RSS feeds, which have been noted down for future use.
The message is clear, don’t hesitate to look into RSS, dive in and have a look around, don’t be afraid of making mistakes. RSS is still in it’s infancy, but you can bet that as soon as Microsoft releases updates to Windows, Outlook, IE; RSS will be commonplace, just as common as book-marking a website in your favourites folder.
When I started this review I wanted to know whether or not the e-book would provide practical advice for DotNetNuke® users, after all RSS functionality is already built into DotNetNuke. Do you need any further information? The answer is yes. The e-book helps you to work through the best practice for your website and what RSS feeds you should be providing.
Once you have read this book, you will become an RSS convert and every task you come across you will be thinking can I incorporate this into an RSS feed?
I would recommend this book even to DotNetNuke Module Developers who are highly knowledgeable in RSS – I’m sure there will be elements in this book that will inspire you to create / upgrade your modules.
- How about a module that provides RSS feeds with full metrics capability – ie. Personalised RSS feed per registered user so that you can create personalised RSS feeds and also have the facility to track exactly how many RSS subscribers you are receiving?
- Or affiliate based modules where you place your products in an RSS feed and the links contain the affiliate id for each subscriber who displays your feed on their website. – You control the content and the user can quickly gain the benefits of affiliate sales.
There are many more uses, but you will have to read the book!
By the time I had reached section 5 of the e-book and listened to the audio interviews I no longer wanted to write this review, I had learnt so much and wanted to keep this detailed information to myself, the book is fantastic value for money, but the audio interviews also offer an extra insight. From each of the interviews I learnt new search engine and marketing techniques and I know for a fact that at present some of these techniques are not well known.
Roks’ book provides all the information you need and much more, the price is extremely good value for money and I can’t recommend it enough.
This is an essential read if you want to stay ahead of your competition and prepare your website for the future popularity of RSS.