Special Report Web Marketing New, Usable Web Marketing Ap
CS: You make a lot of your content and products available via RSS. Why?
Sara Winge: At O'Reilly, we say our core mission is spreading the knowledge of alpha geeks — people just like us. People who are ahead of the curve, doing things that boggle the minds of ordinary citizens right now, until mass adoption happens a few years down the road. Some of these things, like blogs and RSS, might not be used by your typical home improvement catalog, but the principle behind what we do is universal. We're really trying to meet people where they are. By putting everything we have into RSS, our customers can have it the way they want it.
Noren: That's really the most important message. Increasingly, people don't have time to go to separate Web pages that companies spend massive amounts of money and time to dress up and optimize. You have to meet your customers where they are. And RSS is a very effective and lightweight process of doing that.
Winge: It represents a real shift from thinking, "I'll do things on my Web page so people will come back." In reality, they may not come back. People don't have the time to check back frequently. The way that people consume information is changing.
CS: What advice would you offer to catalogers who are thinking about using blogs?
Winge: An important principle of blogs is that each piece of information you write needs to stand on its own. It needs to be compelling in a short and snappy way. One of the ways to do that is having a voice that your customers relate to and like. One of the things we did early was give people access to the information behind the scenes or the experts who create that information.