Want to save as many RSS subscribers as possible?

Google has decided to shut down Google Reader – the most widely used RSS feeds reader up till now. Many are terming it as an end of an era because the RSS technology took the world of content distribution by storm just a few years ago. The RSS subscriber count used to be something one would flaunt. Blog publishers would proudly display the number of RSS subscribers the blogs enjoyed.

As content distribution rapidly moved on to social networking and social sharing websites and applications, the RSS readers as a dedicated application lost prominence. I don’t even remember when the last time I used Google Reader. I prefer to track my content consumption via Prismatic.

Nonetheless, there are millions of blog readers who use RSS feeds to track their favorite blogs and they will be negatively affected once Google Reader shuts shop. If your readers follow your blog with Google Reader you might lose a big chunk of readership if they fail to migrate their settings (the RSS feeds of the blog they are following) to another feeds management service or an alternative way to follow your blog without obstruction. It must have taken you years of effort to increase your follower count and now suddenly you are on the verge of losing almost all of them. Although you cannot salvage your subscribers 100%, you can take some steps to keep at least some of them with you. Here are a few things you can do:

Educate your blog readers about how they can migrate

Google Reader isn’t the only RSS reader available. Although some people are equating the event to the demise of the RSS technology itself, things are not that bad. There are many browser-based as well as desktop applications that allow you to manage your RSS feed subscriptions. Here are some good RSS readers reviewed by the Forbes publication you can try out. You can find some more reviews on this link.

Prompt them to follow you on Twitter or join your page on Facebook

Very often when you publish your blog post you shared it on your social network and social media profiles like Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus and LinkedIn. There might be many RSS followers who haven’t yet started following you on social media. This is a good time to give them a polite reminder.

Encourage them to subscribe to your e-mail updates

Nothing can beat e-mail updates. Instead of subscribing to your RSS feeds, encourage your blog readers to subscribe to your e-mail updates. Almost all e-mail marketing services allow you to create e-mail campaigns that extract blog posts routinely from your blog and create automatic updates and broadcast them at set intervals. In fact this might be the best alternative to subscribing to your RSS feeds because you directly control the e-mail IDs of your subscribers and no matter what e-mail service they use, they’re always going to be able to access your updates.

Remind your subscribers multiple times

Google is planning on shutting down the reader on July 1, 2013 so you still have lots of time to remind you subscribers multiple times. Do it at least once a week to maximize the impact.


Amrit Hallan