Why to use RSS feeds for your small business

Small businesses have to be smart about how they allocate their budget and nowhere is this more apparent than in what tools a small company can afford for digital marketing and research.

In this article, we’ll tell you why RSS feeds are your best option to gain the most value at low cost.

What is RSS and RSS feeds?

RSS is the abbreviation of ‘Really Simple Syndication’. This handy script answers the conundrum of ‘How can I effectively follow all the sites I want when there’s just so many of them!’. Through RSS, you subscribe to the RSS feed of a site and view its content on an RSS feed reader as soon as a new update is posted.

RSS feeds are XML files added to the HTML of sites, which automatically updates whenever new articles are published. RSS feeds are crawled by bots and posts are then automatically added to the RSS feed reader of your choice.

How is RSS used?

RSS feed readers used to be able to display only part of an article (either a snippet or a summary) and not much else. In the past, they made it easy to follow multiple blogs and news sites with high publication frequency.

Readers available today are a whole other story. They now reproduce whole articles complete with media files, so you don’t have to leave your dashboard and you skip all the annoying popups. RSS also works on everything from forums and YouTube to Twitter and job boards.

Why use RSS feeds for your business?

You’re already using tools like Pocket, OneNote and Evernote to keep up with articles and posts. Maybe you have Tweetdeck to manage Twitter content. The good news is that RSS readers can do all this alongside subscribing to newsletters and Google Alerts. Inoreader does all this and also has a discovery function that’s unbeatable in recommending the best content all around.

It can boost your team’s productivity

RSS readers shine best as a single-user tool, but are expanding to increase collective productivity as well. It really depends on the type of reader you choose. Inoreader has been working towards this goal to be irreplaceable for larger teams. A base function is the ability to create an internal email digest with only the best, most relevant articles cherry-picked for your convenience. A single team member can curate what’s most important for the team and send it out by the end of the day for tomorrow’s early morning briefing.

A newer feature is the addition of Teams, which comes quite handy in research and organization on larger projects. You create a team with collaborators, who share articles with comments to each other, and one person can oversee multiple teams. It does its job without turning into a distraction like most group chats eventually do.

Write articles that interest your target audience

Thorough understanding of your target audience is the true foundation of every successful content strategy. Don’t know who you’re targeting and how to talk to them? That’s not going to get you far in the long run. RSS simplifies the project of social media listening in regards to learning who your audience truly is through their digital habits and interests.

This can be achieved either through industry research (you can be sure there’s someone somewhere furiously typing up the upcoming big trends in your sector) or following your target audience directly (through tracking the social media profile of an influencer or a regular consumer) to get your necessary insights.

Create a list with topics on their mind and tailor your content towards those needs – now you’re creating value for your target audience.

Reach more prospective customers

Non-branded keyword monitoring, which can easily be done on RSS whether through following non-branded hashtags popular with your audience to Google Alerts (Inoreader equips users with a variety of search options and support for Reddit), directs you to those customers who are in need of what you’re selling.

These can be people who are right now asking around for a good product, having a problem your product can solve, and even complain about poor treatment from a direct competitor. Whoever these people might be, RSS brings them out to the forefront and opens up a neat opportunity to insert yourself in their conversations.

RSS also identifies influencers and popular figures, who might make a good match for a sponsored ad and thus reach a bigger audience. Podcasts and YouTube channels have been instrumental in reaching the public that feels alienated from traditional media.

Get ideas from your competitors

Just as you can perform brand monitoring for yourself on RSS (highly recommended) you can be one step ahead of your competitors. Track their social media, blog and any other channels they’re using online to learn all there is about their campaigns, product development and launches, their viral successes and, of course, flops where applicable.

What works for them may very well work for you (just don’t be too obvious about jumping on a trend wagon), but also what gets them in hot water is well worth avoiding. Competitors are great teachers in what to do and how to do it in order to cement a position in your shared market. Keep in mind that although you share an audience, there’s the matter of brand identity and the need to be recognizably you.

Improve your overall performance

Last but not least, RSS gives a nice good boost to your overall performance on the job. The sheer virtue of having all your content sources in one place cuts back on so much time spent online. The Internet runs on your attention and what RSS readers do is safeguard your attention.

If your bookmarks are a wild mess and your browser close to crashing from too many open tabs, RSS has you covered. With a browser extension, you’re able to fully power your day-to-day browsing and subscribe to important sites within no time. What’s there not to like essentially?