RSS (it stands for Really Simple Syndication, among other things) is a relatively new technology that allows anyone who creates frequently changing web content – news, blogs, current events, etc. – to deliver their messages to interested readers with no fuss, no muss and best of all – no spam!
Currently, RSS is being used by content-rich sites (mainly blogs and news centers) to keep readers up-to-date on newly published posts or breaking stories. But RSS can do so much more. Many businesses and organizations are failing to truly exploit the amazing properties of this technology – and in doing so are leaving on the table innumerable opportunities to create even greater value, sales and traffic for their company, product or service and the market share it represents. Below are just a few of the creative ways that businesses and other groups can tap into the power of RSS and create new streams of revenue and interest for their organizations.
1. Create An “Announcements And Special Offers” Feed
If your business offers classes, seminars, products, services, specials, sales – essentially anything that changes, updates or rotates throughout a cycle – then creating a dedicated RSS feed could save you (and your clients) time and money. By creating an “Announcements and Special Offers” feed and offering access to your clients as an alternative to emails and print mailers, you can keep your client base up to speed, plus send out limited-time and exclusive “feed only” special offers and discounts, thereby offering an incentive to “get on board.” This not only saves you time by reducing the advertising cycle to the time it takes to update your web page/feed, it saves your clients money by enabling them to quickly scan through the offering headings and pick out just the one’s they’re interested in – while your savings on the cost and time of paper and digital mailings (with their appallingly low conversion rates and sporadic delivery) progressively increase as the feed readership segment of your client base grows.
2. Create A “Client of the Week” Feed
If you’re in a business where this sort of recognition is appropriate, then this could be a big hit! Creating a feed that regularly highlights a different client, their business and any special offers that they might like to make available – exclusively to other feed members, of course – can be a great value-add for your clients, one that costs you little more than the few minutes it takes to create the “spot” and publish it on your site/feed. Include a photo and a business link and your clients will be singing your praises far and wide!
3. Create A Training Or Team Feed
If you are part of a network marketing venture or are in charge of a large sales force or other team and need a way to consistently and continually get training aids, updates, incentives, sales copy, goals, meeting agendas and other items to your downline or members, consider setting up a feed just to serve this function. Since the actual content is hosted at one central site (subscribers only receive a “teaser” that they have to click through to get the full message), you can upload any digital file of any size that you need at the site itself and be assured that everyone who gets the message will be able to retrieve the files – not always a sure thing when dealing with email attachments and text messaging.
4. Create An Intra-Office Feed
Memos, presentation materials, files, announcements, new policies, schedules – all this can be gathered up in one central feed (or broken down into departmental feeds) that are then easily maintained in one central archive and easily accessible by anyone who needs them. Nobody is left behind or out of the loop because they didn’t check their email (or because the message got filtered or bounced) and everyone gets just the information they need without dealing with a lot of cross-over communication from people replying and clarifying.
5. Schools, Non-profits And Other Organizations – RSS works for you too!
Schools – Consider the possibilities of a student feed, updated with activities, exam dates, school closings, special “student only” offers from local businesses and so on. Or how about a special assignment feed in which class materials are uploaded by each instructor for students who are ill, away from home or otherwise unable to be in class?
Churches – A congregational feed can supply daily meditations, worship service schedules, prayer requests, special events and other such messages right to your congregant’s desktop – a sort of ongoing, rolling newsletter that never has to wait for a full page or go out off-schedule due to missed deadlines (items go out as they come in – it’s that simple). This could also be accessed by members who are doing missionary work overseas, to help them feel more connected with home and to allow them to contribute by sending in updates of their work to be added to the general feed.
Non-profits – Volunteer feeds could provide a running update of available positions and work needed, as well as featuring profiles of special volunteers and organizational wish lists; fundraising feeds might keep donors abreast of giving events and how their donations are being used; and inter-organizational feeds can keep board members and other involved parties up to date on meeting times, agendas and projects. All great ways of utilizing the powers of RSS for the common good!
Consider these options the next time you need to get information out to a scattered and diverse readership, or need to publish material that never seems to come in when you need it to. RSS is a new technology, surely. But that just means that it’s true power to serve your needs is only now being discovered. One of the best ways to keep ahead of the crowd is to forge a path through new territories. Where will RSS lead you?