RSS is an alien concept to many marketers, so RSS strategy is pretty much off the radar for the vast majority. The trouble is, there are mixed messages being sent out by the experts, so it is hard to know where to start.

It is just like usability. Jakob Nielsen believes in a rules-based approach. Jared Spool does not. So who do you trust?

There is no single rule of thumb for RSS. What works for your company might not work for mine, and vice versa… it depends on your aims and your audience.

Firstly, you need to figure out what kind of company you are. A publisher, for example, has different goals to a travel company. But even then, there are differences between publishers and publishers.

One of the big issues with RSS is deciding whether to provide subscribers with a full-text feed, or limiting feeds to partial-text (and thus ‘forcing’ subscribers to click through to the website to read more). Full-text… partial-text… which is it to be?

But wait a minute. There’s a third option: no-text. This is the default setting for scared-ass marketers that don’t want another online-related acronym in their world. Word to the wise: avoid this option.

So here’s the advice. Partial-text is better than no-text. If you aren’t yet embracing the joys of RSS then now is the time, lest your competitors implement an RSS strategy before you do. And yes, there is a competitive advantage to be had.

Does this mean full-text is better than partial-text? The common mantra among marketing experts like Steve Rubel is yes, you must have a full-text feed. But hey, I disagree.

And tomorrow I’ll explain why...

Chris Lake

Published 12 June, 2006 by Chris Lake

Chris Lake is CEO at EmpiricalProof, and former Director of Content at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter, Google+ or connect via Linkedin.

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