By Sharon Housley
RSS streamlines communication between publishers and readers. Since RSS has had a popularity surge, webmasters have been experimenting and using RSS feeds to deliver content in new and innovative ways. Typically, RSS feeds contain news headlines and content summaries. The content summaries contain just enough information without overwhelming the reader with superfluous details. If the reader is interested and wants additional information they can click on the item in the feed, accessing the website which contains additional details. RSS readers aggregate multiple feeds, making it easy for individuals to quickly scan information contained within each feed. Feeds are generally themed, allowing users to opt-in to feeds that are of interest.
The big benefit to RSS is that individuals opt-in to content of interest, totally controlling the flow of information that they receive. If the quality of the content in the feed declines, users simply remove the feed from their RSS reader and they will not receive any additional updates from that source. The RSS reader acts as an aggregator, allowing users to view and scan multiple content streams in a timely fashion.
RSS is a great supplemental communication method that does not burden the publisher with maintaining lists or following strict privacy guidelines. RSS feeds are compiled according to the user's choices, removing any burden that is placed on publishers of email newsletters. Publishers no longer need to be concerned with spam, privacy policies, and age guidelines.
Publishers using RSS as a communication vehicle are able to create keyword-rich, themed content, establishing trust, reputation, and ongoing communication with current and prospective customers.
What Kind of Information Can be Delivered in RSS Feeds?
Many blogs are catalogued in an RSS feed, with each blog entry summarized as a feed item. This makes it easy for visitors to scan blog posts for items of interest.
Articles are often placed into feeds to alert readers when new articles and content are available. The feed entry is typically an article summary or introduction. Readers can then ascertain if the article is of interest and read further.
Many forums now have add-ons that allow participants to receive forum posts via RSS. The RSS feeds often will show the latest discussion topics; if users are interested they simply click to enter the forum to participate in the discussion. As the topic is updated they will see new entries in the RSS feed.
Schools, clubs and organizations will often use feeds to communicate meeting times, places and events that might be occurring. The RSS feeds are often used to publicize events, notify the community of schedule changes or meeting agendas.
Discounts / Specials Feed
Retail and online stores have begun using RSS feeds to deliver their latest specials and discounted offers. Some online retailers have taken this a step further, allowing users to create their own feeds based on keywords or phrases.
For example, this service will generate a URL than can be entered into a news reader. The feed is updated each time an item is added to Amazon that meets the specified criteria or keywords - Amazon Search Feed - http://www.oxus.net/amazon/
Ego / News Monitoring
Companies or individuals interested in receiving headline news based on a specific brand or keyword can use RSS feeds to monitor news sources.
For example, users can use the following tool to create a feed that will allow them to receive filtered news from Google News. They will only receive items related to a specific keyword or phrase they setup - http://www.justinpfister.com/gnewsfeed.php
Industry-Specific RSS Feed Uses Include:
Technical professionals in specific industries have also developed RSS feeds as way to market, promote or communicate within their specific industries. In many cases, this has expanded their reach and increased communication with current and prospective customers and clients.
RSS feeds can be used by realtors to communicate the time and location for open houses, announce new property listings or promote decreased mortgage rates. Content feeds can also be used by universities to communicate sports scores or event schedules. Computer service professionals can create feeds to notify clients of potential security breaches, virus risks or outbreaks. Ultimately, RSS is molded to meet the communication needs of many sectors. Consider how RSS can benefit your business and supplement your communication needs.
RSS feed creation tool for publishers interested in creating fresh content - FeedForAll - http://www.feedforall.com
Sharon Housley manages marketing for NotePage, Inc. http://www.notepage.net and FeedForAll http://www.feedforall.com.