For years now, I've taken a very passive approach to syndicating site content. I pass my feeds through Feedburner and allow it to handle email subscriptions through RSS. Some time ago, I also added Jetpack's email subscriptions to the site (to supplement Jetpack comment subscriptions).

I've also built my own plugin that uses the Mandrill API to handle email subscriptions.

But none of these are really quality solutions because they don't really fit with the site.


The point of syndication is to broadcast across multiple media, ideally reaching a larger total audience. In terms of TV, this happens when new episodes of a show are broadcast on one network, then re-runs are syndicated to another network that services a different demographic. The show itself receives a wider audience, and advertisers embedding their products, ads, and sales pitches have a proven vehicle for their delivery.

I already "broadcast" my publication through Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. It's a passive broadcast, but my audience on each network is aware of when new content goes live. But they can't consume my content on those networks - my broadcast is limited to a hook and a link, not full content.

I also "broadcast" my publication through RSS feeds, allowing readers to subscribe through their own software platforms or, through Feedburner, get an email every day when I push out new content. Unlike the social networks above, I push out the full text of each piece, but they're still delivered just one-way.[ref]Ironically, I often get more comments on my work from email subscribers than I ever do web readers. It's just that email responses become just-to-me comments that the world never sees. Not much in the way of community interaction there.[/ref]

Unlike TV syndication, I don't sell ads on my site. So what's the point of trying to increase my audience in the first place? Why am I wasting time writing about something that won't bring in revenue?

End Game

My overall objective has always been to monetize this site. Right now I'm working to monetize through patrons - feel free to follow the Gratipay widget you see on the right if you want to pitch in. Eventually, I plan to formalize this patron system, allowing sponsors to reap actual benefits from their contribution besides just the warm fuzzy feeling of helping keep this site online.

I also want to help this site evolve to be more than a "just me" effort - a shared publication featuring multiple voices, multiple opinions, and (hopefully) multiple articles each and every day. Part of this richer content set will also be a far richer email/RSS/syndication system.

But before I can solve the problem of interactivity, I need to answer the question of frequency. Articles will go live immediately on this site, but how often should they be pushed out through the various syndication channels available?

In short: if you subscribe via email, how often is reasonable (and in which format would you want) to receive updates from a blog?