RSS - The Winery Marketers Secret Weapon

I am often asked by Oklahoma winery owners how they can find sites and news articles that mention their wineries and/or websites. My answer is always the same: RSS.

RSS - Your Free Auto-Magic Internet Spy

Experts estimate that only around 5 or 10 percent of Internet users have ever actually tried RSS. So why is RSS becoming such a big deal to winery owners and marketers? Like email newsletters, RSS allows you to promote your winery and winery events through a customer-initiated content feed that the users sign up for and actually want. Unlike, email newsletters, RSS gets around overstuffed e-mail mailboxes, filters and junk mail folders.

RSS newsfeeds protect subscribers who are concerned about spammers getting their email address and they protect winery owners from having their newsletters accidently filtered by well-meaning internet providers.

Keyword Based Search Feeds for Wineries

Keyword-based feeds can save you a lot of time by automatically updating search results and sending them to your RSS feed reader. Once you take the time to set up your keyword-based RSS feeds you will have a powerful and free tool for marketing your winery. A great place to start is setting up a Bloglines account.

Bloglines…What’s That?

Bloglines is the market leader in RSS news feed aggregation and blog search. Many people use the bloglines news reader to set up their own customized online newspaper. I love Bloglines and use it every day to find link partners, wine reviews, event listings, industry news and more.

Some regular Oklahoma Wine News readers have subscribed via our bloglines sign-up link. They get every posting, without having to visit our site or share their email address with us. This means that by submitting your winery events to Oklahoma Wine News, you get exposure that goes far beyond the daily visitors to our site.

There are literally hundreds of competing feed readers available, but most of them are desktop applications, Bloglines is completely web-based. This means it offers less risk of exposing your PC to a security risk and can be accessed from any browser...even when you are away from your PC.

How To Setup Keyword Based Blog Search Feeds using Bloglines

Go to www.bloglines.com, and set up a free account. Bloglines will then send you a Validation E-mail. Your e-mail address will be your login name and you can choose your own password. After registering, sign on to your e-mail account and click the link provided in the Bloglines validation e-mail. Once you have signed up for the free Bloglines account, you can login and create countless keyword search feed in your Bloglines news reader.

Just do a search for the term or terms you want, then click on 'Save this Search'. It will appear in your list of subscriptions and it will be updated whenever Bloglines finds new blog entries that match your query. I have keyword searches setup for terms like: Oklahoma winery, Nuyaka, Oklahoma wines, etc. on both Bloglines and Google Alerts.

What’s a Google Alert?

Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your choice of query or topic. They arrive as e-mails on a subject or subjects of your choosing that is sent to you daily or weekly. Since Google is the road most visitors will take to your website, Google represents a critical marketing channel. Signing up for Google Alerts is simple and I recommend it, along with Bloglines, to all Oklahoma wine marketers as a way to monitor the internet 'Buzz' surrounding their businesses.

To setup Google Alerts for yourself, go to www.Google.com/alerts. Follow the prompts and it is quite easy to setup search feeds for links to your websites URL and mentions of your product name. Experiment with different searches to make sure they work as expected before subscribing.

Google pulls together news articles and new websites that talk about your business or link to your website, but it doesn't yet cover blogs. To watch for your winery being mentioned in the blogosphere you will need some type of RSS Feed aggregator that will generate custom blog search feeds based on keywords. I use Bloglines. To keep things centralized, I have setup my Google Alerts to display in my Bloglines news feed aggregator.

Bloglines Provides More Than Just Search Feeds

There are weblogs on many subjects of interest to Oklahoma wine makers and wine marketers; I add them to my Bloglines reader whenever I find them. A few of my favorites that I would recommend to any Oklahoma winemaker are Tom Wark's Fermentation, Direct Wine Shipping Compliance, The Winery Website Report, Lifehacker, and The REthink Wine Blog.

An easy way to find more interesting and useful news feeds is to use RSS search engines and directories to discover feeds. A couple that I have used are: Feedster and Technorati.

When you are looking at websites you enjoy and want to track, check to see if they have links using the words XML, RSS, RDF, syndicate this site, news feed, sitefeed, atom, etc. If they do, click on the link, then copy and paste the web site address of the feed at the top of your web browser into your newsreader to subscribe. Now new items added to that website result in a handy message sent to your newsreader. You don't have to share your email address with the site owner - your privacy is protected and your inbox won't be inundated with messages that you don't have time to read.

In fact, you can use bloglines in place of your own email address when signing up for email newsletters to automatically redirect them to your newsreader. Bloglines allows you to create an e-mail address that will display e-mail messages in Bloglines as opposed to a regular e-mail program. This e-mail address can be used when signing up for e-mail announcements or in search alerts from Google Alerts or other competing services. This allows you to receive the alerts neatly categorized in your Bloglines account instead of in your e-mail inbox.

If you are an Oklahoma winery marketer looking for every advantage you can get from the internet, RSS is too important to ignore. Bloglines combined with Google Alerts makes a great place to get started.

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