Content Consumption Lessons From A Naked, Dead Dignitary

Content Consumption Lessons From Winston ChurchillThis post is about growing your subscriber base and making the world a better place at the same time. I promise. But I’m going to start off in a weird place and bring you around to it.

Bare (spelling intentional) with me.

Did you know that Winston Churchill slept naked? If you have an active imagination, I suggest keeping the covers on him.

Did you know that he started off his day by reading newspapers for two hours in his bed? Don’t worry. By now, he’s had a bath and is wearing a blue velvet dressing gown. Feel free to remove the covers.

You can pull both of those tidbits out at the next office party, but only one is relevant to this post. Five gold stars if you guess which is which.

I think the world would be a better place if there were more Churchills in it. I’m referring to his active, prioritized content consumption, not his sleeping habits. Hope you’re reading this, Dad.

As content creators, we want people to be able to consume our content efficiently and regularly. I’ve noticed a lot of big brands and inbound marketing firms are pushing email subscriptions hard. But is that the best thing for the subscriber? Most inboxes are out of control and we’re just adding to that craziness when we presume that our content needs to be there right next to the urgent email from the boss.

Did you know that Churchill handled correspondence AFTER he poured through the newspapers? Yep. After his two hours with the papers, he started replying to mail.

He had separation between content consumption and correspondence. He put content consumption first and that’s not a bad idea. We’re not doing our readers any favors by mixing the two. They’ll eventually get tired of it.

On Inefficiency & Inbox Pit Bulls

“But social media is volatile and tricky, so email is the best option, right?”

This is how it usually goes for me: I tend to get excited about a site and I subscribe by email. I read the first few emails, then lose interest or they misfire with something that doesn’t interest me. I bail.

I guard my inbox like a pit bull. I am a ruthless unsubscriber, an accomplished opt-out-er.

Facebook jerks companies around and Twitter may be the most inefficient tool ever hatched from the bespeckled shell of the human mind. See what I did with Twitter’s bird and the shell analogy? Didn’t want that to fly by without you noticing. Winston would be so proud he’d have goose bumps all over his (thankfully) velvet-robed body.

So, we’re stuck, aren’t we? Not quite.

I happen to know these regrettably unforgettable facts about Churchill because of Feedly, an elegant RSS reader. When Google Reader went down a couple of years ago, I switched to Feedly to subscribe to marketing blogs, Johnson City news, lifestyle & worldview sites, Georgia Bulldogs news, and more. The Churchill trivia was included in a post on The Art Of Manliness which is in my lifestyle section on Feedly. Check out The Churchill School Of Adulthood – Lesson 2: Establish A Daily Routine.

I add to my Feedly feed and edit it regularly. It is now my favorite place on the web. It’s a thing of beauty. It really is a pleasing presentation with useful controls. My morning routine includes a few minutes with Feedly as soon as I get to the office.

Giving RSS CPR

So how do you go about promoting RSS subscriptions through a site like Feedly?

You provide it as an option right beside email and social media subscriptions. Create a Landing Page which explains a little about Feedly with a link to the site, add a Call To Action to your sidebar with a link to the landing page, and you’re in business.

And you can go a step further. We recently posted an infographic featuring writing style stats from some great marketing bloggers. In the post, we created a downloadable OPML file that included subscriptions to those bloggers and our blog, and suggested that readers upload it to Feedly.

People won’t use Feedly if they don’t get a good base of subscriptions to look through, right from the start. By creating a subscription file which includes ours and lots of other blogs, we get folks off on the right foot.

Let’s be honest. Email is intrusive and social media is inefficient. Feedly is a better option for long-term content consumption. Let’s get folks who already use Feedly to subscribe to us, and get new folks hooked on it. Your fans will love you for the content you create and for getting them hooked on a great tool. The world will be a better place.

If Churchill were still alive (and clothed, you’re welcome), he would add one more word to his famous quote.

“Never, never, never give up Feedly.”


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About the Author

Eric is a red head which means he has a clinically-proven low pain tolerance, is photophobic (eye discomfort in bright light), and has a temper (likely due to the aforementioned maladies). But he NEVER uses that as an excuse for being a wimp or acting like a grouch. In fact, he never brings it up.

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