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Marketing With Blogs and RSS - The Hot New Tools of 2005

In case you haven't heard, the net is buzzing with talk of blogging and RSS. Once the province strictly of people who got a kick out of publishing online diaries, and later of political and social commentarists, blogs and RSS are being adopted by the internet marketing community.

This is the hot new trend for 2005. The word "blog" was actually selected as the word of the year for 2004, and 2005 promises to be the year of the blog.

So what is all the fuss about? Well, especially with the increasing restrictions on email marketing, including ISP blocking of mail amounting to estimates of 40% of all email never getting delivered, marketers began to look for new avenues to get their message out. Enter blogs and RSS.

Delivered straight to a user's desktop, the content of an RSS feed is unfiltered by anyone. Users can subscribe and unsubscribe anonymously, with the click of a mouse, and have no fear that their personal information will be shared. RSS is "pull" technology, meaning that the user asks for it, in contrast to email, which is often unasked for, and thus is often "push" technology.

Blogs, which are usually publicized by way of an RSS feed, among other venues, are the current darlings for the search engine spiders. Search engines love blogs, because they are full of content, are frequently changing, are devoid of "flash", graphics, and other distractions, and are full of outgoing links.

If you know anything about search engine optimization, you know that those are the characteristics that should you strive for when optimizing a conventional page for the search engines. The pages in a blog are that way by their very nature, and thus attract the search engine spiders.

Why do marketers love blogs? Numerous reasons.

They are simple to create and maintain. They afford the opportunity to publish links to other sites, and to the interior pages of other sites. Their popularity with human visitors makes them natural targets for traffic. Their constantly changing content attracts the search engine spiders, which then follow the links that they find, and index the pages of other websites.

Many savvy internet marketing experts have suggested that the best way to capture an audience of potential customers is to provide them free information, either through a "content site" that does little direct selling, or through publication of an informative email newsletter that gives free information and at most employs a "soft sell" when endorsing products.

A blog is the perfect blend of the two. It has often been suggested that the best way to start an online business is with a free newsletter, which allows you to develop your "list". While a blog doesn't develop your "list" in quite the same way, it does afford you the opportunity to develop a loyal following among your readers, which accomplishes much the same purpose as having a "list".

Whether you announce or endorse a product through an email list or a blog, you are announcing it to people who want to hear what you have to say. Your blog readers are probably more eager, in many cases, than are readers of your mass emails.

I could go on and on about the merits of blogs. If you are promoting any product or service online, you owe it to yourself to check out what can be done with blogs and RSS.

John Barbour, Ph.D. is the author of a new blogging guide which teaches people how to promote any product or service online using blogs and RSS.

John also maintains several internet marketing educational websites, and manages a new directory for blogs related to internet marketing. Visit the emarketing blog directory and find an interesting blog, or submit your own for inclusion.


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