I didn’t sign up to become an expert on RSS implementations. I just know a lot of people who can use it, and know even less than I do. So I do what I can.

Today, that meant leading about a couple dozen American Red Cross chapter communicators through an ad-hoc teleconference about the Alert System we put together in Birmingham. Not having a budget for a real Webex, I made a 50-page “slideshow” made up of relevant screen captures. Arg. (I felt like “Mr. Filmstrip,” telling everyone to click “next“.)

I hope I did enough explaining to get them interested, and not so much to scare them out of it. These PR folks are scattered across most of the Western U.S., minus California and Hawaii — and a great deal of land to cover. Any tech tool to push critical information out more quickly can make a big difference.

Anyway — as to the shameless part. As part of my evolution from “media relations guy” to “real PR guy,” I’ve been doing the metric thing. In this case, I’ve been counting the number of downloads from various outlets. For instance, if you download the customized RSS reader from our chapter website, you trigger a counter. If you download it from the Alert Page itself, it triggers another counter. That way, I can keep a log of where the real traffic is, and where to focus the interest. (And I can have a neat little project for my APR certification process, whenever that might be.)

So far, here are some key stats to date:

  • Downloads from chapter website: 303
  • Downloads from direct e-vites: 29
  • Downloads from March newsletter: 8
  • Downloads from April newsletter: 20
  • Downloads from this blog: 91

We didn’t get much in the way of local media on this until after the April e-mail, so we’ll see how much steam this generates going into the May newsletter.