To many of you, this article will be preaching to the choir. In fact, quite a few people already read these articles via an RSS feed in a newsreader, browser, or on their Google, Yahoo or MSN personalized homepage. If you haven’t already done so, you can subscribe to my articles simply by clicking on one of the icons on the right side of the Morettini on Management Blog, just below “Google News” link. There is an icon for a generic XML feed, and also simple icons for adding my feed to your Newsgator Reader, or your MSN or Yahoo personalized page. There’s even a way to have the feed sent to you instantly via email as soon as it’s published, via the email subscription box provided by Feedblitz. So you can play around with receiving an RSS feed, right here on my site.
However, RSS is still an emerging opportunity which many companies haven’t yet exploited. So for those of you not already using RSS in your business, here’s a brief tutorial:
The origin of the term RSS is a bit hazy, and it has several different definitions. But to most people, it means “Real Simple Syndication”. RSS is an XML-formatted method of publishing a variety of documents. There are a number of different RSS formats, which can be a bit confusing. But there is an easy way of getting around that, which I’ll discuss later. The important thing is that it’s another simple, free way of promoting your content, whether it’s a Blog, Press Release, Newsletter, or any other document published on the Web.
There are a couple of major advantages to adding an RSS feed to your content:
- Changes to your site or content will be instantly “published” and available to your readers—nothing required by you, the publisher.
- The RSS formatted content will appear instantly without any action required by your readers—on their preferred personal page, or in their favorite newsreader or browser.
- Completely eliminates delivery issues (Spam Filters, etc.) that have become a major problem with content delivery via email
I now want to recommend a great way to get around the “alphabet soup” of emerging RSS standards. I use a service called Feedburner to publish my RSS feed. Feedburner is a great service which takes the guesswork out of deciding what format to publish in. It serves as an intermediary, converting your feed into any of the major standards that a reader might require to read a feed in his particular software solution. So while the native feed of Morettini on Management is in an ATOM format, it doesn’t matter. Feedburner will convert it to whatever major standard is required by the subscriber.
Feedburner also provides the publisher with a nice set of statistics about what content is being viewed, what readers are being used to view the content, etc. There are also diagnostic tools available to make sure you feed is valid and conforming. It’s a great service, and it’s FREE—I highly recommend it.
Try it out, and let me know what you think!