When you hear RSS, you don’t immediately think – oh, this is a great business tool.

You’d be wrong and we’re to change that notion, because RSS has a lot to offer users especially considering how pressed we are to consume media and content at incredible speeds. RSS readers are excellent tools to organize your reading and diminish time spent on menial tasks like opening dozens of tabs and manually refreshing homepages.  

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Found a site you absolutely love and want to follow. Sign up directly in your RSS reader or use a browser extension to grab without fuss or stress. That’s just the beginning!

What is RSS?

Time for a history lesson, if you’ve never used RSS before. In short, RSS is a protocol for content distribution and syndication. What this means is that users can access a site’s article from a third-party client (RSS reader) and do this simultaneously with as many sites as they want.

We call this Really Simple Syndication. Another term is Rich Site Summary, because what RSS does is summarizes a site’s content to its most important components. An article has author, date of publication, link and a summary of the text (sometimes the first paragraph). On this last point, there have been changes as now users can read entire articles within their reader.  

How can your business benefit from using RSS feeds? 

RSS feeds are an excellent way to collect data, whether you’re researching a news piece or doing marketing research. Marketers have the most use professionally speaking, because they can…

Create better and more targeted content

Reading articles and press coverage of your brand and competitors, industry pieces and reviews all together gives you a better sense of the market you’re in, the language of your customers and where they’re spending their time online.

Every company starts with an idea as to who their ideal customer is, but customers are not static. They develop new needs, change opinions and values, adopt new language and frequent different digital circles.

A brand with ambition for longevity ought to review what they know about their target audience and create content that better speaks to them and their needs.

Know what your audience wants 

What are customers saying about you? What do they want more of? What do they complain about? Keeping one’s head in the sand and doing what’s on the agenda, because it makes sense, neglects the one factor that matters most to your sales – your audience.

No plan works better than having a bad plan. And a bad plan can sink a business. So listen…

To the praise as well as the pain points in order to build a better idea of how you can bring value to your customers and how you can change your products. Honestly, it’s free product research and not to mention how integral it is to not only listen, but respond.

Part of social media monitoring is establishing active channels of communication.

Track your competition

Competitor brand names and products make for excellent keywords whether you want to receive a digest from Google Alerts or search through an RSS feed reader’s database for results. Inoreader, for instance, enables users to make use of custom searches within their subscriptions as well as every single indexed site in their database.

Tracking one’s competition has many practical applications. For one, you know when they are set to launch a new product (knowing when to schedule your product release) and how they’re doing their promotion. User engagement and press coverage highlight what elements in their marketing work and how you can best adopt their strengths without appearing as a direct copycat, or at the very least seek out related strengths in your branding.

Use your time more efficiently

Working with RSS is easy and less time consuming than how you’d normally approach your work day. The main benefit has to do with consolidating content. Newsletters, blogs, news publications, podcasts and social media channels can all be added to your subscriptions.

Anything and everything that’s important for your job and/or career development can be added to an RSS feed reader, which saves you time and effort in keeping tabs on everything else. A single dashboard ensures you keep your mind and your digital workspace, so whether you’re following the tweets an expert likes on Twitter or a killer newsletter, it’s all in one place.

Identify bloggers and influencers

RSS has proven itself as a stellar way to monitor brand mentions and product names. Keep your ear to the ground for long enough and you’ll stumble on the people who have strong ties to your industry and their words have an actual impact on sales numbers.  

Influencer marketing is on the rise as a result of long-standing changes in customer behavior. The current generation of customers form strong para-social bonds with influencers and attach trust to their recommendations. Influencers are the celebrity brand endorsers of today, but in a much more human and approachable way.

Aside from monitoring industry keywords, you can spot influencers who speak about your direct competitors. Although a challenge to execute correctly, converting an influencer who’s had a bad experience with your products boosts brand reputation a great deal.

Check industry trends

Industries change almost imperceptibly all the time. Companies usually register massive changes when they shake up the foundations like an earthquake without warning or a trend has newspapers and experts talking. Monitoring keywords, influencers and competitors gives off small signals in changes on the horizon. It’s easy to spot opportunities when they come your way:

  • Indications in an increasing demand, which you can leverage with a stronger, targeted push to attract new customers.
  • Pockets of opportunity. Perhaps there’s interest from a customer group you haven’t seen or considered before, or a chance to reposition your product on the market.
  • Poach customers from competitors by adapting to new consumer needs. The brands, which win in the long term, are those able to sense change and adapt quickly, drawing in a shared audience with them.

EDITOR NOTE: This is a promoted post and should not be considered an editorial endorsement

Featured Image via Inoreader

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