RSS

RSS is very possibly one of the Internets most unique acronyms, simply because its meaning cannot be agreed upon. To some its Rich Site Summary, to others its Real Simple Syndication. At the end of the day both definitions have similar meanings, for the purpose of this post it is both.

So we know what RSS means, but what does RSS do and why should you use it? RSS solves a problem that many heavy web users are familiar with, too much content not enough time. RSS allows users to add an RSS subscription to their RSS reader and stream content from around the web into one consolidated location.

However RSS is not simply a tool for end users to browse and enjoy your content, RSS provides creators of content a unique distribution opportunity.

While RSS was at one point only considered to be a means to deliver news headlines, RSS has quickly become a powerful medium to disseminate all kinds of information. As traditional marketers are attempting to rein in content delivery, measuring e-mail open rates, click-throughs and conversions, Internet users are fighting to gain control over the content they receive. Savvy marketers and business owners are using RSS as a way to improve corporate communication and increase their external exposure and brand appeal.

1. PDF Documents – Consider broadcasting meeting agenda notes or documentation as a PDF included with a feed, allowing interested individuals to access information without having to deal with cumbersome e-mail attachments.

2. PPT Presentations – Presentations can easily be distributed in a feed enclosure. The added benefit is that presenters using Power Pointâ„¢ will not have to lug their notebook to a meeting to present – they can manage the presentation from an iPod or similar handheld that reads RSS feeds.

3. Video – Video or streaming video are both possible via the enclosure field. Have lectures or even political debates come to life with the added video component.

4. Audio – Audio content does not mean that feeds are limited to your favorite songs. Podcasting is the coined term for audio content contained in a feed and can include language instruction, talk shows or editorials.

5. Images – Imagine realtors using the enclosure field to display photos of homes to interested buyers. Now they can carry a light-weight catalog with them to show potential buyers at a moment’s notice.

6. Downloads – Consider an information technology department in a large corporation conducting proprietary software updates, including executables or zip files in the enclosure field which allow users to update the software at a convenient time.

RSS for Business 

Here is a quick video that helps explain the creation and applications of RSS feeds for your blog or website: 

Now that we understand how RSS works and what it can do for your blog, check out this almost exhaustive list from Mashable. The list includes RSS tools for Windows, Mac or Linux, desktop or web based, RSS managers and subscribers. Also included are RSS mixers such as Yahoo Pipes (more on this later) that allow users to customize and share RSS feeds.

 

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