Before I continue with the SEO Copywriting 2.0 series, I want to interject a bit of perspective. With all the talk about links, traffic, Digg, social media marketing and the pursuit of search engine rankings, it’s important to remember what matters most for business-oriented bloggers.
The importance of subscriber acquisition is getting its fair share of attention within the social media space, which is good. Darren Rowse recently posted on the value of conduits like Digg and other social media traffic sources to build up your own subscriber-based community over time.
And in the SEO world, Andy Hagens and Michael Gray have touched on the topic as well. They call subscriber attraction and retention a key element in a “defensible traffic” strategy that frees you from the tyranny of search engine algorithm hiccups.
Here’s the thing. People marvel at how well targeted search traffic can convert into sales, but nothing converts better than effective permission-based relationship marketing.
Permission Marketing 1.0
I feel fortunate that I’ve always had a subscriber-first mentality. Starting off online with ezine publishing meant that the only two essentials were great content and someone to read it. You didn’t even need a web presence to have an email publishing business, as long as people knew how to subscribe.
Of course, not having a web presence would be leaving traffic and money on the table, so email publishers took the time to hand publish each issue in a site archive. Over time, the search traffic came, but it was a bonus, not the primary strategy. Blogging provides an easy, integrated way to accomplish the same thing, plus the awesome subscriber-attraction opportunities that social media provides.
Somewhere along the way, people became overly obsessed with search and forgot everything else. Many businesses today would disappear if their rankings tanked. And that’s no way to run a business.
But that’s only half of it. As the bald guy will tell you, there’s something very powerful about a person raising their hand and allowing you to contact them over time. It’s a fantastic way to make sales and build a business.
Of course, the problem with Permission Marketing 1.0 is email. Spammers, phishers, virus writers and abusive marketers have made obtaining email permission harder. And if you get it, you’ve likely earned the privilege of mailing to a throw-away Hotmail account, or having your content blocked by an over-zealous spam filter.
Is RSS the Key to Permission Marketing 2.0?
RSS feeds solve all the problems that spammers and bad marketers created with email, because it puts control back in the hands of the subscriber. The issue is whether or not “normal” people will embrace feeds for content delivery like they did with email.
Is Microsoft’s integration of RSS into the browser and email client enough? That remains to be seen, but how feeds are pitched to Joe and Jane Blow will determine the growth rate of RSS from here.
The primary benefit is not that RSS allows people to aggregate hundreds of information sources. Most people don’t consume information like that (at least not at this stage of the web). Geeks and bloggers do, and that’s the problem. We often explain the benefit that we receive, instead of thinking about how a regular person consumes online information and what their motivations and fears are.
RSS is perfect for content delivery because it empowers subscribers, protects their privacy, and allows for zero-hassle unsubscribing. That’s the story that needs to be told in order for the power of blog marketing to be all it can be in the mainstream.
People need to understand why RSS is better than email for them.
If you want to tell that story to your prospective subscribers, remember that you can use my RSS tutorial on your own blog. You can download the code in a txt file here, and make adjustments to the copy to suit your needs.
P.S. Today is the one-year anniversary of Copyblogger. Thanks to all you subscribers out there for keeping me motivated for an entire year. If you want to send blog birthday gifts, I’ll take an iPhone.