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RSS Feeds 101

RSS (Real Simple Syndication) Feeds are user-directed content delivery tools that offer marketing departments a way to personalize content and give their customers exactly what they want. While both interactive and user-directed marketing tools, such as corporate blogs (with user feedback) and podcasts (which allow users playback at their convenience), are gaining momentum in the world of IT marketing, RSS Feeds are underutilized among IT marketers.

In Advertising Age’s Interactive Marketing and Media, it was discovered that:

RSS is currently used or is planned to be used within the next 12 months by 63% of consumer product marketers, 65% media and communications marketers, 37% retail marketers, 37% financial services marketers and 38% equipment and tech marketers.

So what exactly do you need to know when thinking about setting up RSS Feeds on your site? Let’s take a look at the basics…

1. Incorporate RSS Feeds into your overall Internet marketing campaign. One of the greatest advantages of RSS Feeds is that you can syndicate all different kinds of digital content. When planning your online marketing campaign, remember that any video, podcasts, blogs or white papers you produce can be syndicated. The use of RSS Feeds is a powerful way to brand your company by reinforcing your message with online digital content that users might otherwise bypass.

2. Treat the entire process of adding RSS Feeds to your site as you would treat adding any content to your site. Research RSS Aggregators, craft a careful registration process in order to capture the best leads possible, use specific content types to target your users, and most of all, maintain the same set of standards in setting up your feed as you do for the other aspects of your company’s marketing programs.

3. Instead of setting up an RSS Feed on your site and hoping visitors will subscribe, promote RSS as you would any other online marketing tool. Give users the ability to sign up for RSS Feeds in the same areas that you have them register to gain access to your site via registration or to e-newsletters. The beauty of RSS Feeds is that they are 100% user-directed, and when given the opportunity, users will register. The challenge of RSS Feeds is that they are 100% user-directed, and unless your users are directed to your feeds, no one will use them.

4. Use RSS Feeds as a way to offer dynamic content types that offer value and convenience to your users. The power of video, blogs, and podcasting is catching on among IT marketers, but does little good if users constantly have to poke around your website to find it. With RSS Feeds however, users can sign-up and receive all of the content they want in one same place. Remember though, by adding feeds to your site, you need to maintain fresh content that changes regularly and offers users solutions to their enterprise technology problems!

For more information about adding RSS Feeds to your site, check out the RSS Wikipedia listing, the XML Files RSS Tutorial, or the WebReference Introduction to RSS.

-BH

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