9. RSS-feeds

RSS feeds in Social Media MarketingOne of the keys to managing the current information overload are RSS-feeds:

RSS is a family of Web feed formats used to publish frequently updated content such as blog entries, news headlines, and podcasts in a standardized format. An RSS document (which is called a “feed”, “web feed”, or “channel”) contains either a summary of content from an associated web site or the full text. RSS makes it possible for people to keep up with web sites in an automated manner that can be piped into special programs or filtered displays. (Source: Wikipedia)

In other words, RSS-feeds make it possible to publish your content and make it easier for people to share and (re)use your content. People can subscribe to your RSS-feeds using their browser, a feed reader, their mail client (e.g. Outlook) or an online reader (e.g. Google Reader). And even more, they can republish your content on their website or blog using your feeds.

RSS-feeds allow you to push your content: the user does not have to take any extra action to get the updated content. It shows up in their reader automatically. And that’s what makes RSS such a strong channel to spread your content. And what’s more, a tool like Feedburner (acquired by Google in 2007) makes it possible to keep an eye on when, where and how your feeds are used.

RSS-feeds have just started their way to the top, they are becoming increasingly important and luckily they are being used more. But most companies haven’t yet recognized the strengths of RSS. Admittedly, most blog posts are collected in RSS-feeds, but the other possibilities are endless:

  • News
  • Press releases
  • Blogs
  • Interesting bookmarks
  • New products
  • Special offers
  • Contests
  • Jobs

We’ll talk a little more about the last one to show the strength of RSS. Imagine you are looking for a job. There are a dozen of companies you would like to work for and during your lunch break at the company you are going to leave, you check the job section of all twelve corporate websites every day to see if there is a vacancy that suits your profile. No need to say it will take you half your lunch breaks every day. Now if those possible future companies had a jobs feed, you could subscribe to it and whenever each one of them posted a new vacancy you would automatically be notified. Just imagine what you could do with the time saved. Job Search 2.0.

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