What is RSS - For Marketers

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Author: Rok Hrastnik

Copyright 2005 Rok Hrastnik

RSS is a technology that has the potential of overcoming many of the internet marketing challenges we are facing today and becoming a preferred tool to get 100% of your content delivered to your subscribers, as well as a tool to help you achieve top position search engine rankings.

The simple RSS explanation from the marketing point of view is that RSS is a simple to use publishing tool for marketers and publisher. It allows you to get your content delivered to end-users, without the fear of spam filters stoping your messages, and to other “content consumers” (other websites, search engines and so on).

RSS gets your content delivered, period. And it helps you increase your search engine rankings and drives new traffic to your sites.

But some marketers are still afraid that not enough internet users are using RSS feeds. Think again …

While achieving not more than marginal penetration, its usage is growing with astounding speed.

Actually, according to a report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 5% (6 million) Americans online consume news and information through RSS aggregators. So the market is already out there!

>> BUT WHAT ARE RSS FEEDS?

RSS content is delivered through RSS feeds --- simple files structured in a specific way.

These files include some basic information about the RSS feed (such as RSS feed title, logo, description, URL etc.) and the actual content you want to deliver to your readers.

These content items are individual stories or articles (usually just descriptions of articles actually published on the internet publisher’s web site), presented in a linear list.

But RSS is not only about text. You can easily use it to deliver audio content, video content and even PowerPoint presentations and PDF files.

>> WHAT DO YOU NEED TO SUBSCRIBE TO RSS FEEDS?

The point of RSS feeds is to get people to subscribe to them, so that they can constantly receive fresh information from you.

It’s just like subscribing to e-mail newsletters, only that there’s no e-mail involved … and consequently no spam or spam filters.

But to subscribe to your RSS feeds, your visitors need a special tool, called an RSS aggregator.

RSS aggregators are special tools that can take an RSS feed and display it to the end-user. They come in many different forms and flavors, but the most popular are desktop applications and web readers.

In the case of desktop RSS aggregators (example: http://www.awasu.com), end-users need to download them to their computers and install them there. Web-based RSS aggregators (example: http://www.bloglines.com) on the other hand are websites where users can create their own accounts and then use those websites to view RSS content directly from their Web browsers.

After installing an RSS aggregator or registering at a web-based RSS aggregator web service, the user needs to proactively add the link to your RSS feed in to the aggregator to view your content.

Every time you update your RSS feed by adding new content items to the RSS file, the user is notified of that through his RSS aggregator, making the content immediately available to him, without it having to face any SPAM filters and other barricades on the way.

And, for the best part, most RSS aggregators are free to use, so there’s really no excuse to not get started today. And by the way – so are quite a few RSS publishing solutions!

Yes, RSS is the free way of getting your content delivered every time.

About the author:

Rok Hrastnik is the author of »Unleash the Marketing & Publishing Power of RSS«, acclaimed as the best and most comprehensive guide to RSS for marketers by leading RSS experts. Discover the true marketing power of RSS: http://rss.marketingstudies.net/index.html?src=sa5


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