Small Biz – RSS demystified

Over the last 6 months, I have attended numerous conferences, seminars, and SIGs that discussed RSS among many other new latest and greatest technologies. But recently, it was the first time I attended a seminar that completely blew away all the mystery surrounding Real Simple Syndication and made it really…simple!

It all came together at the AMA ‘Hot Topics’ event at the Phoenix Wyndham last week, where Pheedo.com’s Bill Flitter moderated a four person presenter panel, on the latest and greatest technologies sweeping across the marketing world.

Later on, as I was discussing the seminar with another attendee, we both agreed that while some presentations were too technical, others were too much strategy, this one was, as Goldilocks would say, Just Right!!

Let’s first start with the basics – what is RSS?
RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication..how simple is that?! It’s an XML-based (eXtensible Markup Language) format for content distribution. In short, RSS enables you distribute information easily and swiftly to your target audience.
To read the RSS feed, your readers will need an RSS aggregator or Reader, which is a software that allows the latest news and information, to be delivered right to their desktop without being encumbered by any email filters.

Here are some cool features of RSS that I walked away with(for more information on RSS advertising, look at Pheedo website):

- RSS is the latest and greatest (my opinion) medium for distributing news
- It is an opt-in service ie it lets your customer choose what updates he/she wants to receive
- It is an easy and effective way of disseminating information
- It is not subject to spam-filters since it doesn’t come into your email box
- It is trackable and quantifiable
- You don’t have to be a techno-geek to use it

However, RSS is still an early-adopter tool. Getting your target audience to sign up for an RSS feed from your site is still going to be challenging. The biggest mindblock for traditional marketers to adopt this new technology is that they are still in a ‘push’ mode i.e. spam your customers until they scream ‘unsubscribe’. RSS on the other hand represents the ‘pull’ mode of marketing, it’s more challenging but it’s also more effective because only the interested will sign up for the feed. Whether or not the content keeps them coming back is a challenge that a savvy marketer should be ready for.

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