RSS is a hugely powerful business tool which remains still little understood and yet one which can offer enormous benefits to companies which identify and grasp its potential. A rather unsexy acronym for (arguably even less attractive Really Simple Syndication), RSS is a key distribution and “push marketing” tool for your company blog which can instantly (and automatically) spread your message to your target audience.
However, that is not the only way in which an organisation can benefit from the power of RSS – they can also use it as an important information gathering tool which will deliver key information straight to your desktop instantly, keeping you one step (at least!) ahead of your competitors which it come to knowing what is happening in your market.
RSS as a Research Tool
Looking at this element first, all of the benefits you can achieve by giving people access to information you provide can also be used by your business to make sure that you are ahead of the game. So, where can you benefit from this? Well, here are some examples:
• Basic brand management: you need to know what is being said about your company and industry to be able to respond to it. Having access to this sort of information via RSS can save valuable time which can allow you react quickly and decisively;
• Keeping up to date: keep up with your industry news and get this information delivered directly from main industry or news sites to you as soon as its published – your own focused online newspaper!
• Competitor Tracking: no doubt your sales team will also be interested in monitoring and tracking the online activity of your competitors. Using services running through RSS, you can receive updates which will help you to maintain a watching brief on them and their activities;
• Information provision: you can include information on your own site directly from respected sources. Updated automatically, this will give you a “stickier” website and give your readers further reason to make you their first port of call for news on subjects which interest them.
Information distribution using RSS
To start, let’s have a quick run through of some of the elements that RSS can do for the information you publish in your business or blog:
i) Instant Publishing and Automatic distribution:
as you publish new posts and information on your blog, RSS publishes them automatically on sites that have decided to syndicate your content. This allows you to concentrate on the quality of your content and lets your RSS feed distribute it for you to all the places and people who have requested it, automatically and instantly.
ii) Direct guaranteed delivery to subscribers: you can be safe in the knowledge that your subscribers will receive the information that you are providing without worrying whether some overzealous spam filter might have intercepted and binned it.
iii) Higher Profile and Search Engine Ranking: syndicating your content (ie. letting others publish the content that you have written) helps to build up inbound links back to your blog which is great news for the profile of your blog and of course is highly beneficial for your search engine rankings.
iv) Increased accessibility and visibility: you offer easier access to your content and so ensure that it reaches more people who can then follow the information you’re providing. Results: increased visibility for you and a way to improve the accessibility of your content, helping to reinforce your brand and people’s trust in it.
v) More subscribers and so more readers: RSS will certainly help to increase the number of subscribers and hence readers. We want subscribers to feel comfortable, that’s the whole point. They should also not feel worried that by subscribing, they might be opening the door to yet more spam. RSS provides them with the security that this will not happen and so encourages readers to subscribe.
In reality, the options that it offers are wide and appropriate applications will vary according to the requirements your business has as you keep in touch with your clients and readers of your blog. However, here are a number of specific ways in which RSS can be applied within a business context and which will hopefully spark some ideas for your own situation.
• Sales channels communications: sending out messages to sales teams, distribution channels or resellers, keeping them up to date with all of the latest product, market and competitor information instantly.;
• Promoting special events: time critical events are ideally served by RSS. If you have weekly or monthly special offers or last minute availability which you need to communicate out to your customers;
• Conference details: for conferences, seminars and workshops, there are always lots of pieces of information to send out ahead of the event as well as presentation details etc after the event as well;
• Public Relations: automatic updates can also serve as a critical public relations function for the latest news on brands, staff and external content;
• Announcing New Products: the launch phase of new products or services is a critical time, so use all of the tools available to you. RSS can spread the word quickly and help to generate traffic back to your site to find out more;
So, is it worth it?
I hope that from the information that you have seen here, you will be agree that RSS has some really serious benefits that it can offer to businesses and other organisations looking to publish information … and more’s the point who wish to see it reach all of the people who would be interested in it!
Of course, if you are running a Business blog, then all of this functionality is likely to be at your fingertips already and it’s really just a case of how you decide that you want to use it which is key. But, above all, let people know about RSS and how to use it – it will be good for you and good for them as well!