What is RSS and how do I use it to market my book?

Typesetter

As part of a book marketing workshop I’m conducting later this year I’ve got a bunch of items to share with you all. Many of them are minor pieces of a larger framework that integrates into each other. This week, I want to show you how to push your blog to expand your reach to a larger base via RSS.

An RSS feed is “Really Simple Syndication, a standardized system for the distribution of content from an online publisher to Internet users.” Because it is standardized, there are many places around the internet that you can use this, so it can be a handy marketing tool to know about. I’ll teach you two ways that it can be immediately useful to authors.

RSS is a type of web feed which allows users and applications to access updates to online content in a standardized, computer-readable format. These feeds can, for example, allow a user to keep track of many different websites in a single news aggregator. Wikipedia

Here’s a pretty good explanation of the benefits of RSS in general.

The reason this is great is that you can use it to automate your presence across a few blog platforms. I use WordPress.com, a very popular blog platform, but there are many out there to choose from. By no means am I a wordpress OR rss guru, so please don’t comment for help on the technical side of things. You may need to send those questions to a tech/helpline since each platform may be different, but I can at least get you started. When I publish a blog on my wordpress.com site, because of RSS, it automatically copies the blog content to my Amazon Author Central page and my Goodreads page.

Automation is important. Additionally, via similar methods, my Goodreads reviews are pulled into my page’s sidebar to beef up my content on my blog via widgets (think of them as tiny apps that work within your wordpress page.) My blog also automatically pushes to my Twitter and my Twitter automatically pushes it to my Facebook. This is important because people may only follow you on one platform and this allows you to increase your presence on the net without needing to copy and paste one post to each and every site where your readers congregate.
[to automate your blog posting to social media in wordpress, go to your settings, click Sharing, and then under the Publicize feature, connect whatever accounts are relevant for you. *note Facebook no longer allows this feature* I’ve not discovered a work-around. Apparently the Zuck screamed something about “take that Russia… for the Lizard People!” and then disabled the feature entirely.]

To setup your RSS, you need the proper link. For my blog, for example, it is simply https://authorchristopherdschmitz.wordpress.com/rss for many it might be the website address followed by /feed (or /rss)
If you have a blog, go to your Amazon Author Central Account and click to edit your Author Page. You can set a link for your “blog feed.” This is where I put that RSS link I use above. Every 24 hours it pushes my new content to my Author Central Page so readers clicking my name on Amazon will see that I am an active and engage writer putting out regular content; some of them may choose to interact by visiting my webpage, blog, or signing up for my newsletter.

Under your Author Dashboard in Goodreads, you can scroll down to your blog section. Edit the page and where it asks “Already have a blog?” it will allow you to add a link for an external blog fee. Similar to the above, it will sync up with your rss feed. Mine is listed as https://authorchristopherdschmitz.wordpress.com/feed/ showing that either of the formats works from wordpress. (By the way, Goodreads is more socially active and updates much quicker than author central. If you aren’t using this, you should be. Not everything in marketing points to immediate sales, and this is one way to engage a reader base.)

 

 

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