In my travels online I see a growing acceptance for RSS for use in business, and this is a very good thing. RSS is a new kind of content delivery technology, similar to email. Like email, you don't so much need to understand the underlying technology, as how it might be applied. And as so many of the new digital technologies, RSS leverages the power of the Internet in ways email was never designed for.
RSS or Really Simple Syndication is a way of delivering or "syndicating" content from your company's web site and of retrieving it over the Internet via an RSS reader. These readers pull in feeds from any site you are tracking and alert you when a new information is in. Instead of painstakingly visiting each site to see what has been added, RSS readers do it for you and then report on what has been added. Its simplicity, ease-of-use and real-time response make it a highly attractive way to receive news.
RSS enables companies to communicate more effectively
RSS enables companies to communicate more effectively with each of its specific audiences from customers, employees, and partners to editors, analysts and investors. It also has the hidden value of improving a company's online presence and the companies ability to be found on the Internet. Today many large companies, such as Cisco, IBM or Boeing use RSS in their communications arsenal, but small companies can use it too, and perhaps, to even greater advantage.
Almost any bit of information can be sent out via an RSS feed and in almost any media format. A company's press release, new software rev or a security alert can be sent out in text form by RSS as can audio content via an .MP3 reader (such as the Apple iPod) or video via, say, your cell phone. RSS feeds and readers allows you to deliver media rich messages that make content more attractive and powerful, says RSS expert Rok Hrastnik, and he is right.
Inside the firewall
Internally there are a wealth of uses for RSS from sending out company specific news to some subset of employees to tracking competitive intelligence. A project team, for example, might use an internal web blog to keep everyone on the team up to date and to alert members when new information has been added. The channel manager can use RSS feeds to update distributors and a smaller division within a large company can use the new technology to pull in news of relevance to its group. Company bloggers use RSS to alert readers, inside (and out) the corporate firewall, that there is a new post, and communications departments can alert employees to important internal news.
External Uses of RSS
Externally, RSS feeds allow readers to pull in information from their favorite news sources or competitive sites, track news as it is breaking or deliver your news to a great many sites .
News readers, or RSS aware programs known as news aggregators allow readers to track competitive intelligence, alert companies when there is mention of their products, allow readers to keep abreast of important breaking information.
A Hidden, But Very Important Benefit
But perhaps its most important value is the one overlooked by a world that has yet recognized the importance of online visibility. Externally RSS feeds not only improve a company's content delivery, but they boost corporate search engine rankings, its online presence and traffic to the web site.
In short this simple tool with the funny sounding name allows you to share files in specific way and perform a great many tasks, and many companies all over the world, are beginning to recognize its power. Shouldn't you?