Bookspan Enters Blogosphere, Adds RSS Feeds

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Bookspan has launched its first blog -- for its conservative book club American Compass -- and is making its content available via RSS feeds.


The company started with American Compass because "in the conservative space, blogs are very well accepted and very popular," said Christian Busch, assistant director of e-mail marketing/business development at Bookspan, Garden City, NY. The blog, at www.compasspointsblog.com, began last month.


Bookspan looks to start blogs and RSS feeds for at least two other book clubs, he said.


"We've seen from our e-mail business that our open rates for e-mails are declining slightly, and more and more people are getting swamped with too much e-mail," Busch said. "So we are looking at RSS as a future alternative channel to e-mail."


Really Simple Syndication has grown in popularity as a way for bloggers to deliver content via "feeds." Marketers use it to communicate with consumers about news, research updates, customer forums, podcasts and promotions. Bookspan, a partnership of Bertelsmann AG and Time Warner Inc. and the parent company for more than 35 book clubs, sells books directly to members through the mail and on the Web.


Bookspan is offering two RSS feeds: One provides the blog content, and the other includes special offers related to joining the book club and has no blog associated with it. Though Bookspan began rolling out the special-offers RSS feed last week, Busch said, the signups are equally distributed between the blog and the special-offers RSS feeds.


Bookspan has done little to market the blog and RSS feeds, but traffic is already increasing.


"We have put some links on our book club Web site and mentioned it to a few people, but we haven't really pushed it," Busch said, noting that a spike occurred because two well-known conservative blogs mentioned a posting on Bookspan's blog. "We are very curious to see whether the blog is actually going to start creating more traffic by itself or whether we have to do more marketing for it."


Bookspan was going to develop the blog in-house but decided to use software from SimpleFeed, Palo Alto, CA, "because it could offer us the blog plus the RSS capabilities," he said. "Especially important to us was the tracking capabilities for the RSS feed."


Melissa Campanelli covers postal news, CRM and database marketing for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters


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