For RSS as For Anything, Sell the Benefits not the Features

One of the main challenges I had to address in writing my guide to business blogging, 7 Step Business Blog, was how to honour my promise to myself and readers that the book would be as jargon-free as possible. For one aspect in particular – the use and importance of syndication/RSS/newsfeeds – it was impossible not to use some jargon and also challenging to translate the jargon into plain English. But a basic understanding of the role of RSS and how to use it is crucial for having an effective business blog. So it was essential that I find a way to explain it so that it made sense to a business person who could well be totally uninterested in how it works, as distinct from what it does and what it can deliver.

Brian Clark on Copyblogger has some interesting observations to make on the subject in his post How to Sell RSS (Or Where the Feed Fanboys Drop the Ball). The post and the extended discussion in the comments should be required reading for anyone who is wondering how to explain RSS to anyone else.

Key takeaway for me is – don’t tell me what it is or does, tell me what it will do to make my life easier, more interesting or enjoyable, or more profitable.

Hold the features, gimme the benefits.

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About Des Walsh

I show business owners and other professionals how to navigate the social media maze and use LinkedIn effectively. I'm an author, speaker, business coach, social media strategist and LinkedIn specialist. Connect with me on LinkedIn, Google Plus and Twitter. And to stay in the loop, get my weekly Social Business Bites.


  1. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the comment, Jim. BBC News have a neat, short summary here. The one page site What is rss? is also good, with links to more info should you need it.

  2. Business Blogs: How to Build A Better Blog says:

    RSS: Benefits for Businesses

    Des Walsh of Thinking Home Business Blog in Australia wrote a great post about how to get a handle on RSS feeds, and how to get others to understand and start using it. While he encourages people to read Brian

  3. Anonymous says:

    Right on, Des. I have to remind my husband of that all the time! “Just tell me how it will change my life and make it better hon : )”

    I also have to do that when helping people getting organized…I really have to sell the benefits before they can be inspired to do things differently. In fact, you inspired me to write a whole blog post about that. : )

  4. Anonymous says:

    IMHO, that last phrase should be a golden rule, as good as written. Business people, especially those with own small businesses, have a lot on their minds and need to take decisions fast. If benefits appear welcome, they will find a way to implement the solution. Don’t bore them with the details unless they ask you to do so.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Des, this was very helpful since I am still feeling my way in the blogging domain and do not yet understand feeds.