You’ve probably heard the term tossed around the web: RSS. But what is it, exactly? And why is it so important?
RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication, and it’s a tool that is quite literally changing the way business is done online. An RSS feed is a way for any Web user to customize their own desktop, to scan stories, articles, blogs, wikis, and even podcasts from a single page. That content is updated each and every time something is new from any of the subscriptions.
And people are spending plenty of time reading their RSS feeds. In fact, according to a recent study by KnowledgeStorm and McCann, 90% of RSS users spend five hours a week reading their RSS feeds, that’s an hour for each workday!
- See RSS highlights from the Knowledgestorm study about the importance of writing well for RSS and blogs.
What’s so special about an RSS feed for Outlook or your desktop?
RSS is two-way communication, connecting your company with the potential customer in a personal, flexible medium online. That means you:
- Get better, faster customer feedback
- Circumvent issues with direct mail and email delivery
The KnowledgeStorm and McCann study explains:
The rising importance of blogs, and to a lesser extent RSS, cannot be understated and is significant because these technologies are inherently bi-directional. They represent the core and spirit of the Web 2.0 ethos, whereby millions of daily peer-to-peer conversations and dialogs occur throughout the web.
With abilities to track what headlines are read, and which articles are downloaded, companies have the potential to understand their customers as never before without the filters of direct mail failures and email inbox challenges.
Outlook subscribers: from your desk to theirs
RSS feeds are a direct relative of blogs, which have taken the Internet world by storm. As the KnowledgeStorm/McCann study points out, a few years ago, no one took blogs very seriously. But that’s changed dramatically, with a 56% increase in the last year among blog viewers–a staggering 58.7 million visitors.
But how do you tap into these millions of potential customers? Because email filters are getting more and more sophisticated, many companies are finding it extremely difficult to keep tabs on their customer base. Are dropping email open rates indicative of poor content or poor ability to reach your subscribed reader?
Your content is preferred because readers are subscribing with a simple right click in the latest version of MS Office. Well, that changes things significantly. With your blog and RSS feed, you can post coupons, sale announcements, product releases, and press releases.
And you don’t have to worry about your announcement going to the spam bin–because your feed reaches your customers directly, circumventing the need for email altogether. That’s the beauty of RSS.