I've never been a fan of the old "pull my finger" prank. I'm not above bathroom humor in general, but even as a kid I wasn't interested in actively participating in someone else's less-than-pleasant bodily functions.
Some people feel the same way about blogs: "Eww," they think. "Don't make me come pull content from your blog every time you post something new."
As Seth Godin explains, rss transforms blog content from pull to push. When you subscribe to this blog via rss, you no longer have to come pull my finger for every post. Instead, it gets pushed straight to your rss reader.
The next question for marketers? (And that's always the case with a good post from Seth: He observes and explains a phenomenon and leaves it to you to interpret how it affects your world.) Do your customers want to pull information, or do they prefer to have it pushed at them?
Right now, I think a lot of readers are comfortable with having e-newsletters pushed into their inboxes, but they're still not accustomed to having blog content pushed at them via rss. Here are my top five methods for encouraging a switch (please feel free to let me know how I'm doing):
- Provide information readers can use. I try to do that here with posts from expert contributors and links to external sites with relevant advice.
- Make posts interesting. See reference to pulling fingers above. Actually, it's not just about personal stories and silly pop-culture references. It's about writing with a conversational tone and not falling into marketspeak. I encourage you to call me on it if you catch me throwing around too much jargon or gobbleygook in my blog posts.
- Post frequently. This can be hard during the busiest phases of magazine production, but I do attempt to post at least a few times a week.
- Make it easy to subscribe. I've tried to do that with the subscriber buttons in the right-hand column and by linking a few times to the best little rss tutorial ever, but I feel like I could be doing more. Any advice?
- Subscribe to and read feeds myself. I've been using Bloglines since 2004, so I'm definitely a dedicated puller. I recently started using Google Reader as well, and I'm still testing out all the features in an effort to determine which I like better. This doesn't have a direct affect on subscriptions to the sascom voices blog, but it does make me familiar with the technology if anyone were to ask how to do it.
But pulling is still okay with me. It's great, actually, because readers who come here to pull content, make comments and push it at their friends the old-fashioned way (via e-mail) are still actively participating in the conversation. So, push or pull. I'm happy either way. How about you?