Have you ever wondered what this icon in the corner of your URL search bar does?
It’s called an RSS Feed which is short for “Really Simple Syndication” and it can really and truly simplify your life.
It’s basically a helpful notification that some news headline, blog post, or podcast has been posted to a site that you like. The user subscribes to a feed by entering the feed’s link into the reader or by clicking an RSS icon in a browser that initiates the one-time subscription process (you can opt out at any time too.) It shows up in your “feed reader”–a tool similar to an automated e-mail program, but no e-mail address is needed to sign up. It’s beneficial to have one installed for a few reasons:
1. You can get quick summaries of what’s been posted with links to read the rest of the article.
2. The RSS Feeder checks for updates regularly and automatically (or at pace you set.)
3. It’s all accumulated and custom organized in one easy to read format.
4. It’s convenient because there are many web-hosted or desktop-hosted “feed readers” to choose from. Also, your feed reader runs in the background and won’t pop up at annoying times.
5. When subscribing to a feed, users do not disclose their email address, so users are not increasing their exposure to threats associated with email: spam, viruses, phishing, and identity theft.
6. It’s free! (It costs nothing, and asks for nothing but fresh, daily content!)
Companies can and should take advantage of this when deciding to publish a blog or incorporate some sort of instant publishing tool on their websites. It’s an easy way to push your company’s message, current events and news, press releases, blog posts—basically anything and everything you would like your audience to know about. It also allows you complete control of your message online, and helps you facilitate further dialogue between you and your customers. And leading blogging platforms like SixApart and Blogger all include options to integrate an RSS feed into your website easily.
RSS feeds are used by all major news syndicates, most Fortune 500 companies, leading universities, top bloggers, and everyone in between. There’s no reason you shouldn’t have one attached to your company’s blog/website.
Just think about the consequences of not having a blog and RSS feed capabilities. (They’re a lot scarier than you think.)
You’ve probably heard of the Kryptonite brand of bicycle locks by now. If you haven’t, listen closely.
According to The Corporate Blogging Handbook by Debbie Weil, a few years back a video circulated around the Internet showing a simple way to break open a couple of Kryptonite product lines with nothing more than a Bic pen. While Kryptonite was fully aware of the impending disaster from day one, they didn’t have a dynamic web page with a blog, and so couldn’t contain the buzz surrounding the controversy caused by the blogosphere. Instead, they issued press releases the traditional way, didn’t come out clean right away, and waited until the last moment to admit their mistake. Had they a blog and an RSS feed attached, Weil argues, they could have candidly provided up-to-the-minute details of their solution to those who were paying attention and wanted to know more (i.e. customers, the news media, internal stakeholders, etc.)
While Kryptonite won’t admit any damage done to their brand image, think about how something like this could affect a larger company or institution with much more at stake. It’s scary right?
Donna Tocci, Kryptonite’s PR Manager, had this to say of the experience, “However, I’ve said before and I’ll say again, I wouldn’t change much [about how we handled the situation]. I would post a note on our website about us working on the issue a day or two earlier. That’s it. Other than that, I wouldn’t change anything we did then.”
You too don’t need this kind of media catastrophe on your hands. Incorporate a blog with an RSS Feed into your website. Get your information out fast and simple. Get an RSS Feed today.