Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Make Your Personal Publishing Efforts More Effective: Here's Where To Start!

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This email came in this morning in my inbox. It comes from a guy who has just published an independent book on philosopy and the future of this world:

(Photo Source: Per-├ Bystr├Âm (50) Sollentuna, Stockholm, Sweden
- via Stock Exchange)


I am trying to understand the stuff you do....I was trying to read that Groove article but it was over my head...but I am now reading this mini guide for RSS feeds and websites.

I'm not sure what the RSS feed is, but I am reading where you say that it provides specialized niche information channels, learning and educational purposes, sociocultural, and edumarketing.

Then u say something about the "newsmaster"...which looses me.

Can this be used as an educational forum on the Internet? I mean I was thinking at some point I would like to do online classes or workshops and maybe do live audio or pre recorded audio people can get on their computers in their homes.

I don't have to fly all over the place. I can reach them right from my house to their house. I like that idea.

Also for a small membership fee one could sign up for classes and get them either in a newsletter or through some kind of link from my that what an RSS feed does?

I have been studying my website and I think I am getting enough visits. Well....I could always get more visits, but my main problem is conversions.

I have a newsletter sign in form they can sign up for .... and the book of course.

I need to find a way to convert these visitors into buying the book and signing up for the newsletter....or eventually an educational .....program.

I think I may need a web designer or a PR help me design my site so it turns visitors into buying the book and signing up for newsletter.

Someone told me you have to offer people some kind of urgency today and get.......

or say do this today and get this.....

But I just can't see myself doing that....I'm not selling cars(!!!)....I'm trying to change peoples lives and I realize this is a difficult topic if I want to show myself as who I really am....which is not a used car salesman.

I don't want to force people into buying something....I DON'T NEED THE MONEY.... well.... ehm....

what I mean is....I want to make enough money from the sales of the book to pay for my website and its maintenance and for its effective promotion through Google ads, Blogads and whatever else, which may cost up to several hundred dollars a month.

If the book could pay for the website and its advertising....I would be VERY happy.

so I guess what I am asking is....I need some kind of NEW and unique "gizmo" to offer people or to provide for people on my website that will excite them into staying and being a part of the website community.

I tried a message board....and that was a flop. No one used it. Someone said to try "Polls".

People are busy and they want....what they want...quickly and easily.

I just don't know what to do, I think you are out of my help large corporations link their companies all over the globe.... so I'm a small fry.


I loved the email, and the critical issues it touched upon, as they all are at the core of what I try to help others do here.

While I have indeed worked for many large international organizations, my mission here is more directed at those individuals, within or outside large organizations, who want to make their communications and learning opportunities, with new media technologies, more effective.

So, no-one is a small fry to me, and I actually enjoy more researching and working for the cutting-edge professional, small and medium-sized companies, than having to deal with the elephantiasis of large and slowly moving organisations.

To clear up a few points among those you have kindly raised, gives me the opportunity to bring together topics and issues which may have been largely considered as separate and independent while in fact that deeply relate to each other.

1) RSS: What you need to realize is that RSS is a simplified and standardized information distribution channel that uses RSS newsreaders instead of Web browsers. Differently than browsing and having to go to information destinations, RSS allows you to sign-up (without handing out your email) to any number of Web site or other information sources and receive the information they publish without needing to go back to them. It is a call and retrieve on-demand system where the end user is in full control.

Since creating RSS channels out of a Web site, is fairly easy and it is becoming a standard feature in Web publishing software and personal content management systems, publishers and online entrepreneurs looking to increase their reach and audience loyalty need to seriously look into this additional, very low-cost, distribution channel.

As it is very rare for most people to come back systematically to a Web site, and since it has become increasingly difficult to have people sign-up for newsletters (as they are afraid to be submitted to further quantities of undesired ads, pop-ups and spam), selecting noise-f^ee distribution channels, which respect privacy and provide timeliness, easy distribution and easy integration in present-day online publishing systems has become a critical component of any serious online entrepreneur.

In essence: No RSS, no party.

2) Magic Gizmo: in your email you mention the desire for a "NEW and unique "gizmo" to offer people or to provide for people on my website that will excite them into staying and being a part of the website community."

That magic gizmo is indeed available, but to contrary to many people's belief it requires no extra investment in some fancy new technology, and you need not to add a new Javascript inside your Web pages.

It comes in the form of great, unique, hard-to-find, personally selected content that you offer to your audience on a systematic basis.

That is the ultimate gizmo. And as you have probably heard, the more specialized, focused, well-written, up-to-date and referenced your content is, the more people, interested in the same things, will come back and over again to see what you have got.

RSS, like newsletters did for a long time, fills in the same critical role of creating an umbilical and personal bridge between you, your information and the people that are interested in it. It allows them to copy the URL of your RSS feed into their RSS newsreader (e.g.: and to get your news, raves and rants as soon as you publish them on your site.

3) How to be sellable: By providing a constant flow of uniquely valuable information you can build credibility and visibility which are of the essence to sell anything as personal as "your" philosophy book online. To boost such critical aspects, you need to share and educate your readers on how the information contained in the book is potentially valuable to them, and how the book has helped other people get to where they were headed. Let some of your chapters be free, so that people can get a gist of your writing style and ideas without needing to place an order as an act of faith.

Therefore, if you are really serious about making a living online while publishing content on a specific topic here is my prescription for you:

a) Get a personal CMS/blog or other direct online publishing system and use it. MovableType, TypePad, ExpressionEngine, WordPress, Plone, Drupal are some of the tools I like. They are very cost-effective, and once set-up also quite easy to use.

b) Publish quality content every day. Do not rant about your personal private stuff and do not use this publishing system to gratify yourself. Devote it a topic and follow it.

c) Consider becoming a source of information on a specific topic, by learning how to search, select, filter and aggregate news and commentaries coming from the most disparate sources online. This is what the emerging RSS newsmaster does by utilizing RSS search and filtering tools and other new technologies empowering the wilful and skilled individual to create her own little specialized information powerhouse. The more apt you become at this, the more credibility you will build online relative to the areas in which you can generate such unique information feeds.

c) Increase credibility, attention and reach by also creating mini - guides, tutorials, even small live web events with the many live collaboration and presentation tools available today. Make these f^ee resources, not payable items. First fame, then fortune!

d) Make yourself visible. Submit your RSS news feed to key online directories, information lists and on keep your content easily accessible to all of the major search engines. Submit manually your feed content to the best blog/RSS submission sites.

e) Share you content in ways that others can easily re-use and re-distribute it for you. Consider for example a Creative Commons or license or contributing to a Public Domain clearinghouse for at least a part of your writings.

f) Give it the right time. On the Internet, it takes real-time for people to get to know you, to verify your credibility, and to finally get in love so much with what you do, that thereafter they want to buy anything you publish. Do not underestimate this factor and, given a constant input to points above, you are set for some glorious publishing future on the Internet.

That's where you start.

by Robin Good

Readers' Comments    
2008-10-01 09:05:28


Thanks a lot for share!

2004-04-19 08:54:40


Absolutely wonderful advice, Robin, thank you!

posted by Robin Good on Thursday, April 15 2004, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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