Inspired (in part) by a post on ReadWriteWeb on how enterprise RSS is dead (really Marshall?), I thought I’d show how I use RSS every day. I think RSS is a critical business tool - especially for marketers - and it’s a free tool that can save time, increase your awareness and improve your productivity.
There’s a great 3-minute video called RSS in Plain English by Lee Lefevre of Common Craft on YouTube: http://smub.it/janet/rss. Watch it first, then pop back to me.
See you in a few.
Welcome back - wasn’t that a great, simple explanation?
So to me, RSS is about two things:
1. Subscribing - like my own custom magazine subscription, subscribing to RSS feeds is basically a way to have news and blog posts that you’re interested in come to you, vs. going out and searching for them.
For example, I like to read my friends’ blogs, and keep up with my clients’ blogs. I set up subscriptions every time someone announces they’re blogging, and every time I get a new client who blogs. I also like to read top technology and marketers’ blogs. So every time I find another interesting one, I subscribe to it.
To subscribe, you generally just right click on the RSS Feed button, which looks like this:
Copy the URL that’s there, and paste it into your RSS reader. Since every reader is different, I’ll show mine here - Attensa - where you click on the Add Feed button, and paste the URL.
Immediately your reader will start ‘listening’ to the web for you. I can read all of my subscriptions all in one place, my RSS feed reader. It looks like this: (Click on the thumbnail to get the full picture!)
2. Search - like an indefatigable watchdog, “persistent searches” alert when subjects I’m interested in (like my clients’ products, brands and names) are talked about online.
I set up searches in my RSS feed reader for every new client that I have. That way, if there’s something being said that I need to be aware of, I’ll know, and be able to either respond to it, or let my client know about it. I also keep a persistent search on my own name. I think it’s important to have early knowledge of anything being said about important topics and brands, and it’s incredibly easy to use RSS to do all the work for me.
To use RSS, you need an RSS reader, and there are tons of them on the market, tools from Yahoo!, Google, Portland’s Attensa and NewsGator… a list of RSS readers is here: http://smub.it/janet/rsslist.
Regardless of what you use, start experimenting with RSS. Start by doing what I do -
- Subscribe to your favorite blogs - read them from one place at one time…
- Set up persistent searches for yourself, your brand, your product names, or your clients’ brands.
- Set up persistent searches for keywords of interest to you - I keep my antenna looking out for “health 2.0″ and others.