In our Network@Noon at the Western Office of PWC-GM Chamber discussion this week the topic was “RSS”. For those who don’t know, RSS or “Really Simple Syndication” is an easy way for anyone to syndicate their online content. Just like syndicating a radio show, syndicating a blog or other online content means that many others can subscribe to the content. So it really is just a method for distributing, receiving and managing online content.
Visit Subscribe! Part 2 for a step-by-step guide to subscribing.
Here’s how RSS works, well close enough
When a web page is designed there is code that allows the page to be syndicated so that others can subscribe to the page or site. As a subscriber they can now receive updates in a number of ways – email, browser, social media and through special “reader” apps. There is nothing else required really, any time the site is updated it automatically “feeds” to you so you can read it, and then comment. There is of course a few technical details I’m leaving out, but you probably don’t really care about them.
Here’s why RSS is important
Let’s say I’m interested in 5 different news sites and 10 blogs for my industry. The news sites post daily and the blogs post new content twice a week on average. Without a subscription service I would have to go to all 15 sites independently to see the latest posts, and most of the blog visits will be a waste of time because they only post twice a week. Now, let’s say I subscribe to all 15 sites and have them feed new content to my web browser. Each time there is an update to one of these sites it will show up in the “RSS Feeds” area of my browser. Instead of going to 15 sites, most of which have no updates, I can now see and read all the updates in one place without actually visiting the independent sites. More importantly, you’re audience can subscribe and be notified every time you update!
But, how are you using it in business?
A great question raised by Jim Aram of Advantage Physical Therapy.
Every expert in social media will tell you that it is important to interact with your online network. One critical part of this is to comment on the blogs of those people in your network. Using a subscription service let’s you track a large number of blogs and easily monitor topics that you want to comment on. In fact, even if you just have a web site and haven’t done anything else with social media, commenting on blogs is an easy entry point. Pick a few blogs in your industry, among your friends, vendors that you use, and even your personal interests. Subscribe to these blogs and then set aside a little time each week to monitor and comment. The “bloggers” will be encouraged and you will start to build trust and credibility with your online network, before you even get into your own blogging, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn efforts.
We’ll walk through how to actually subscribe to a blog and the options available for managing your feeds.