Businesses stand to win from their use of RSS feed readers in their day-to-day work especially when it comes to the realm of digital marketing and research. RSS feed readers have been on an upswing in popularity and are quite the overall powerhouse tools. We’ll discuss this in detail in a minute. But first…
What is RSS?
In case you need a refresher, RSS is the abbreviation of Real Simple Syndication. It’s a technology that makes it easy for users to receive and follow content from many sites in a single application – that’s the RSS feed reader. You use the RSS feed reader to subscribe to a site via an RSS feed.
As soon as there’s a new article published, the RSS feed updates, and when the feed reader crawls the feed pulls the article and loads it. The RSS feed is a simple XML file, which displays the most important information about the posts – title, URL, timestamp, author, and a short summary or an excerpt.
Traditionally, RSS only showed the title and a little bit of text. Once you click on the headline, you’d be directed to the site. RSS readers today display articles in full length and with embedded multimedia files.
Can Businesses Use It?
RSS feed readers have made the jump into the land of productivity and are excellent for a variety of tasks, ranging from improving your value proposition via social listening to brand monitoring. The applications are varied and the best part is that there are so many options on the market.
You’re bound to find an RSS reader to match your taste and pay relatively little for its features, which is not something you can say for the big tools that promise you the same results. All you need is a bit of ingenuity.
How RSS Feeds Can Benefit Your Business
Identify Blog Topics
Let’s start with something RSS feed readers are known for – handling massive amounts of content and information. As long as it’s written or recorded somewhere, an RSS feed reader will probably be able to read it. That’s quite useful when you need to perform research on what customers would find useful and resonate with, and what current hot topics in your industry are.
RSS readers today are great at recommending content. The Old Reader does so socially through what your friends are reading and liking, and user-generated trending page for articles that have caught the attention of everyone on the reader. Feedly and Inoreader have their own designated areas for content discovery, where you can perform all kinds of searches and dig into topics.
Maybe you’ve stumbled on a great new site that can act as an inspiration. Through Inoreader’s fast Chrome extension, you can identify whether the site has an RSS feed and then subscribe to it with one click.
Get To Know Your Customers
Once you start monitoring your industry for trends, it’s easy to make the transition into monitoring branded words – these would be your brand name, slogan, products, and services. People are talking about your brand, whether you’re tagged in the conversations or not. RSS feed readers make it so easy to tune into conversations and gain valuable insight.
What are the main drawbacks to what you do? What are you being praised for? What do customers also want to see in a product or service from you? What are their concerns about the type of product you sell? All these questions come in handy when you’re workshopping new products or looking to update existing offerings.
Collaborate Better in a Team
At their most basic levels, RSS readers are meant for individual, casual use, but once you get into the higher-priced subscriptions you unlock a lot of team features for collaborative work. Inoreader has an excellent team feature to assist units in organizing their research together.
It’s a trend you’ll see all around major RSS readers. Feedly also has team boards, where you can directly tag team members and then convert the curated content into newsletters. Feeder is another good example of how you can make groups together.
Save Time and Money
In the long run, pro accounts are a smart investment, because you’re able to add a small degree of automation to some menial, repetitive task. It’s distracting and time-consuming to have to open a lot of tabs and refresh websites to check for new articles.
Plus, current readers have nice little tricks. Like sharing articles to social media without leaving your dashboard. Integrate your reader with IFTTT and Zapier and see how you can create chains of triggers and commands to automate your process further. Or command your whole army of apps by getting Netvibes, which is one of the most powerful RSS readers out there.
Understand Your Niche Better
All that research into potential blog content makes it easier to understand where your industry is heading and what’s the status quo at the moment. That’s incredibly valuable in terms of what you want your digital media strategy to be. What are you targeting? What are the keywords you want to focus on for your SEO?
But also you’re seeing trends form, which opens up opportunities for you to better target your ideal customer and give directions for new product development.
Keep Track of Your Competitors
We wrap up with the old faithful – competitor analysis. I’m sure you’ve all heard about keeping your enemies closer. In business, this has never been truer. Following your competitors gives you several advantages:
· Knowing their release schedule and campaigns so that you can schedule around them.
· Adapting what they’re doing right to your brand in order to cater to your shared audience in the hopes of attracting some of their less enthusiastic customers.
· Learning from their past mistakes. Sooner or later every business makes a public mistake, and it’s very useful information on what to avoid in your digital messaging from here on out.