RSS feed without content? Would you send an empty email with only a subject line?

RSS feed without content? Would you send an empty email with only a subject line?

boxAs an avid user of RSS and Google Reader I find feeds without content really irritating. An example is Marketing Week’s feeds that arrive with only a subject line and with nothing else. Marketing Week must be pretty confident that their subjects are attractive enough to incite double action. I say double action, because the user has to first click on the feed subject to open it and then click again to visit the original article on the source site. Imagine sending out emails to your audience with no content at all, but only a subject line!

The MarketingProfs approach is better. The feed includes both the subject line and a short introduction of around 50 words. This approach is definitively worth my first click to open it as I know there is something there to read.

At the other end of the spectrum is “Six Pixels of Separation” where the feed includes the whole article. Is this necessary? It is super convenient as it renders the second click redundant, but it kills any potential visits to the source site. Does this matter? It doesn’t if content distribution is more important than clocking up high traffic stats.

I read all my feeds on my phone so as a mobile user, I tend to prefer the latter approach; clicking to load the source website always takes too long.

If you manage your organisation’s feeds though you ought to opt for the approach in the middle, where you give the user enough to read while you still invite visits to your source website.


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