Mario Sundar

LinkedIn's 2nd PR hire. These are my thoughts on products, public relations, and startups.

OPML 101 for Marketers

Yes! Sharing is good even in the Web 2.0 world. For those of you in the know, probably have heard of this cool new site called Share your OPML. I know, it can be tiresome with one buzzword after another but OPML can actually “marginally” help you and your marketing/PR teams. I’ll tell you how, but before I delve any further, here’s a primer:

What is OPML?: OPML stands for Outline Processor Markup Language and is nothing more than XML code for Outlines. For those of you who are still reading, “an outline is a hierarchical, ordered list of arbitrary elements” which in this case is an ordered list of your RSS feeds. Period. (Source: Wikipedia)

What is “Share your OPML“?: It’s an effort by Dave Winer (check his blog here), to aggregate RSS Subscription lists in OPML so as to splice-and-dice the data in interesting ways. For eg. you can find out top 100 feeds, top podcasts, search for subscriptions like yours, find out who subscribes to your feed, etc…

What is it being used for?: OPML lists give a fairly accurate indication of your tastes and preferences from a RSS point-of-view and how voracious a reader you are. Also an aggregate of OPML lists would give a rough indicator of the popularity of blogs themselves.

What are alternative means of tracking your blogs popularity?: As mentioned in an earlier post of mine, the primary indicator of a blogs popularity are the Technorati 100 rankings run by the premier blog search engine and authority on weblogs – Technorati. Check out a really interesting article by Michael Arrington of Tech Crunch where he outlines the differences between share your OPML and other ranking sites.

What are OPML’s implications for marketers: Nothing earth shattering, but a few cool benefits include – (1) It may help find out if there are marketers who are subscribed to similar blogs as you are subscribed to. (2) If you are trying to educate either your prospect on RSS and on setting up feeds, it may be a good idea to package a bunch of your RSS feeds without your customer having to do that. Basically, it’s a easy way to package and distribute a bunch of useful feeds.

Also, if you are from PR, check out this great post today on PRweek, which described the benefits of OPML from a PR perspective.

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