Six Creative Uses for RSS

REally big RSS FeedsIn 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:

The new URLs for both Google and Yahoo! News would be:

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.

Ebay RSS

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’ bookmarks: Users of 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 This way, whenever any user adds a tag to a bookmark, it will appear on the subsriber’s RSS feed.

For some other creative suggestions on how to use RSS feeds on the Micro Persuasion blog by Steve Rubel, 35 Ways You Can Use RSS Today.

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.

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40 thoughts on “Six Creative Uses for RSS

  1. Hi ! Interesting article 🙂
    How do you create (your point 2) “Develop an RSS Feed for your non-blog site:”?
    Have you got some links please ?

  2. Daria,

    Thanks so much for your kind words! Creating custom RSS feeds for a non-blog site are slightly more difficult than creating blog feeds, but still do-able for beginners.

    I’ve done some basic research and found RSS Feed creation tool, called FeedForAll. Although it is available at a one time cost of $39.95, it will do the work for you.

    For a step by step guide on how to write RSS feeds yourself, visit this site. After creating your feed, test it in the Feed Validator.

    I understand that creating your own feeds may be a little bit of a hassle, so I’ve decided to post a “how to guide to developing an RSS Feed for your non-blog site” in the near future. Please subscribe to my RSS feed in order to be notified when this post becomes available. Thanks!


  3. Hi Erica – I’m trying to setup step 5, but google alerts provides no obvious way to creat an rss feed. Can you provide more steps?


  4. Martin,

    For some reason, Google likes to hide their RSS feeds to make it difficult for people like us to find it.

    Right now, I don’t believe they offer an RSS feed of a Google Alert…they only offer it through email Alerts. (Does anybody know a way to get Google alerts through RSS? Please share!)I find that this is method in un-obtrusive, and is the most complete way to search the whole web for your personal brand.

    However, there are ways around this. You could add several RSS feeds together to create a similar effect.

    Web search:
    visit this site and enter your search term. A custom RSS of a web search will be generated for you.

    Blog search:
    enter this feed url with your search term replacing “Keyword” and add this to your feed reader.

    News Search:
    see the instructions in #1: subscribe to a custom News RSS feed above.

  5. […] In you’re interested in a little more in-depth information, beyond the basic Wiki definition of RSS, here is  a great article from eMarketing and New Media on “Six Creative Uses for RSS.” […]

  6. […] Six Creative Uses for RSS « eMarketing & New Media Trends January 10, 2008 Filed under: Americanism, business, cool web sites, internet, marketing & advertising, media, news — theprotagonist5 @ 10:59 am Tags: alerts, blog, creative, feeds, information, new, overload, purposes, read, rss, Technology, to use, trends, unconventional, uses, ways Six Creative Uses for RSS « eMarketing & New Media  […]

  7. Erica, nice article on creative uses for RSS. As content manager for a company that builds software around RSS, I am always looking for new ways to use the technology, so I’m going to try a couple of your suggestions.

    A couple further thoughts on keeping an eye on your personal brand: most RSS reader include a “smart feed” function, which is a search feed based around a keyword or words of your choice. You might have to work a little at getting the right search terms. If you are searching for “wolves,” for instance, not only will you get news stories on the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone, you’ll also get every football score from any team named the wolves. But they work well to keep you up on what people are saying about your company or you personally.

    RSS readers are also great for researching a topic. Subscribing to publications and blogs about the subject you’re interested in and adding the right smart feeds can bring up material from the web that you don’t always get in the top pages of a search engine, and save you money and time. If you have a blog, you can create a widget based around those feeds and put it on your website for others to see or grab for their own. Possibilities are endless here.

    Another way to keep up with creativity in RSS, check RSS Specifications and subscribe to its feed. I have gotten more ideas from this website on what’s happening in RSS than any other.

    Leland Rucker
    Content Manager
    NewsGator Technologies

  8. […] antz@work: free Basecamp competitor6 Creative Uses for RSS Feeds: from Erica Marie DeWolf D. Keith Robinson: How I GTDGubb: A New Task Tracker/ToDo list/GTD ToolJott: Task List/GTD by phoneFree CRM Apps reviewed by Web Worker Daily  […]

  9. Quick question for you: does using an RSS feed create a duplicate content issue on your site, as others will also have the same content on their site?



  10. I just read another blog post that highlighted the virtues of feedburner. Do you think this is the best feed? I know your article discusses several you can use for different things, but as a basic one for your blog, which one do you feel is best?

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