In a previous post, Using RSS Feeds to your Advantage, I outlined in the importance of utilizing the RSS technology to help your company and to make surfing the web easier for the everyday user. In my experience, the most common use for RSS feeds is staying caught up with users’ favorite blogs. However, I believe this is a large waste of the technology’s capabilities. Utilizing RSS in various ways, for several aspects of both your personal and professional life is the area of e-marketing that I believe is most underutilized today. The following are six uncommon, yet effective, creative uses for RSS, in no particular order of importance.
1. Subscribe to a custom News RSS feed: although many individuals are unaware of this, users can create their own customized RSS news feed. In this case, If an individual wants to be notified whenever the term “email marketing” occurs in the news section of search, they customize one or both of the following URLs, replacing the red “Keyword” with their preferred search term:
- Google News: http://news.google.com/news?q=KEYWORD&output=rss
- Yahoo! News: http://news.search.yahoo.com/news/rss?p=KEYWORD&ei=UTF-8&fl=0&x=wrt
The new URLs for both Google and Yahoo! News would be:
- Google News: http://news.google.com/news?q=email+marketing&output=rss
- Yahoo! News: http://news.search.yahoo.com/news/rss?p=email+marketing&ei=UTF-8&fl=0&x=wrt
Notice that terms with two or more words must be joined with a “+” to render correctly.
2. Develop an RSS Feed for your non-blog site: make an RSS feed notifiying subscribers of new additions to your websites available to visitors. For example, retailers can update subscribers with new products when they become available. If your site offers educational courses, offer RSS feeds to those who would like to be notified when new courses become available, or a specified time frame before the start date of a specific offered course. For example, Apple has many RSS feeds similar to this, including an RSS feed for New Arrivals to the Mac Product family.
For more on this, check out Syndicating Web Sites with RSS Feeds For Dummies. This book will fill you in on the basics of what RSS feeds are, how they work, which will allow you to more easily create your own RSS feeds for your non-blog sites!
3. Use eBay‘s RSS option: big eBay buyers should definitely be taking advantage of its RSS option. Simply search for the item you would like to keep an eye out for, scroll to the bottom of the list, and look for the orange “RSS” button, as indicated on the screen shot below. You can also use this feed creator to build your eBay RSS feed, available here.
4. Watch for new music on iTunes: use the iTunes Music Store Feed Generator to be notified when a new single or album is released for purchase on iTunes! You simply choose your favorite genre, and subscribe to the feed in order to receive notifications of New Releases, Top Ten Lists, and/or Featured Albums and Exclusives.
5. Keep an eye on your personal brand– your name: subscribe to a universal RSS feed with your first and last name as the keyword. I would recommend using Google Alerts for this service, as it will notify you whenever your name comes up not only in web searches, but also blog, news, video, and group searches.
6. Subscribe to others’ del.icio.us bookmarks: Users of del.icio.us who find an individual with interesting bookmarks can subscribe to their bookmark feed. Every time the individual posts a new bookmark, it will be sent to the subscriber’s feed. Users can also subscribe to different tags in del.icio.us. This way, whenever any user adds a tag to a bookmark, it will appear on the subsriber’s RSS feed.
To learn more about the basics of RSS feeds, visit my past post, Using RSS Feeds to your advantage, or check out this basic “Dummies guide” in order to learn how to syndicate your website or blog through RSS feeds. Syndicating Web Sites with RSS Feeds for Dummies will allow you to learn about RSS feeds and how they can help you to increase traffic and build awareness of your site, without having to learn all that technical language. In plain English, this book will teach you how to create an RSS feed from scratch, which will allow you to create a custom feed for your non-blog site. I would recommend this book if you have a website that you can not easily create a feed for, and as a basic “what is RSS and how can I use it” guide.
Check out all of my Book Picks on My Web 2.0 Reads.