It doesn’t seem like there’s much utility to RSS as a marketing tool. That’s where you need a little bit of imagination to adapt the RSS feed reader to your marketing goals. RSS is especially useful, when you’re a small business without the budget for conventional marketing tools.
What is RSS and how to utilize it?
Right, first a refresher on RSS. Understanding this somewhat-forgotten piece of technology gives you some ideas as to how to position it in a contemporary context. I genuinely recommend every office worker to adopt RSS to make their professional lives easier.
The RSS technology
RSS is a bit of a throwback really . It originated back when having a personal blog was the pinnacle of sophistication and people were generally engaged with a blog’s content. In that sense, RSS (or ‘rich site summary’) streamlined all content into one chronological feed displayed in one location – an RSS reader. You don’t have to refresh websites or visit them individually for that matter.
RSS feeds and RSS feed readers
RSS feeds are found in a site’s code as XML files, which are crawled by third-party clients (RSS readers) and syndicated all together in a single stream of updates. RSS feeds usually reduce a site’s content to title, link and an excerpt so that readers can browse more efficiently. RSS readers add a layer of automation as they add a new post at the moment of publication. Many clients have the capability to display whole articles without having to leave the RSS reader at all.
RSS and productivity
Everything I’ve described so far points towards RSS as a dependable productivity tool. This goes double for those professions demanding in research and staying well-informed. The current crop of RSS readers further empower users to curate content. Inoreader has several filtering functions and automated actions called Rules that place control in your hands.
10 ways to use RSS feeds and boost your marketing efforts
RSS asks the question ‘is there a better way to consume information?’ and answers it with a strong, resounding ‘yes’. There’s inherent power in having information at your fingertips when you need it and in a format that works best for you. Marketers thrive on data. Need I say more.
1. Social media listening
You can’t engineer a successful marketing campaign without counting in the broader conversation surrounding your company and products. Social media listening has established itself as the next big thing in marketing. Its importance can’t be overstated and RSS can be used to monitor some key points of interest.
2. Brand management
Tied up with social media listening is brand management. Brand management includes following mentions about the brand, its products, hashtags and campaigns. Add them as Google alerts and then subscribe to your RSS feed reader to monitor in real time. Brand management reflects public sentiment towards your brand and identifies areas of improvement.
3. Higher efficiency
Gathering data is a time-intensive task spread over time and RSS automates the process, so you’re free to tackle other tasks. RSS is a great shortcut to reduce menial tasks, which don’t require any thought. You also reduce the timeframe between data gathering and data analysis. In this climate where we’re all forced to be faster and faster, RSS makes perfect sense.
4. Commercial awareness
Market and industry research also falls in the category of essential marketing tasks. Industries are in constant flux and part of the marketer’s responsibilities lies in identifying emerging trends and new pockets to reposition products. This is what RSS has been built to do; take the plunge into the sea of industry blogs and social media platforms.
5. Analyzing the competition
What are your main competitors’ moves on social media? What are they announcing on their blogs? What’s happening on their campaign hashtags? Keeping an eye on your direct competition and/or industry leaders further calibrates your marketing strategy. Whether it’s to follow certain avenues or learn from their mistakes. All this information trickles into your RSS feed.
6. Get close to your users
Identify those hashtags on different social media platforms, which are likely to feature your brand and products, and subscribe to them via RSS. Not only are you able to keep track of what excites your target audience, but also helps you spot brand ambassadors. It’s those willing advocates for your products that have the biggest impact.
7. Explore and aggregate content
Part of your job as a marketer is to disseminate content to your customer base. With the abundance of online channels, you’re fragmenting your brand’s messaging and reach. Through RSS, you can pull multiple feeds from your social media to your main website so visitors have all of you in one place. Another strategy is to send off your RSS feed to aggregator sites and create name recognition elsewhere on the Internet.
8. Create your own RSS feeds
Don’t just think about what you can do with an RSS reader. Foster a loyal relationship with your audience. Although not as prevalent as before, RSS still maintains a core group of advocates. Do not alienate this portion of your customer base and create RSS feeds for your site. If you generate a lot of content, provide further value by creating a unique feed per category.
9. Research keywords
If you’ve ever had to create multiple Google Alerts for important keywords pertaining to your brand, you know the exasperation of an overrun inbox. Filter as much as you want, there’s just no way you can stay on top of your work emails and alerts. The solution – migrate Google Alerts to an RSS reader.
10. Create and manage newsletters
Newsletters show no signs of losing popularity (cluttering your inbox be damned). Why not join the club and create your very own newsletter digest from your own RSS feed? WordPress already has the capability to smoothly perform the task. The upside is that you give readers another way to stay up to date with your content.