I’m pleased to see that Adobe has moved closer to creating internet applications in addition to their amazing web suites. myFeedz was launched and is a filter. Yahoo launched their filter called Pipes a few weeks ago, (as I remember the antiquated myYahoo) which I’m starting to see a few examples emerge here and there, such as this interesting feed of Upcoming events of a trusted networkbloglines by IAC, what benefit does myFeedz offer in addition to that?
I use Google Reader most of the time, (you can see my shared feed) and see a tremendous amount of opportunity, which I’m sure the Reader team is already working on.
Here’s my ultimate reader:
I enjoy the Google Reader interface, the hotkeys make it easy to scream through content (Scoble taught me some tricks) , keep the sharing ability.
Quantify and highlight multiple entries and keywords: Sometimes I see duplicate items come through my feedreader, those items should be somehow indicated they are ‘hot’
Intelligently look for other feeds that show similar characteristics from my trusted network (that may be hard to figure out)
Intelligently learn how to filter out the junk, look for patterns
Never show ads, even if embedded in the posts.
If your website at your company doesn’t have Syndicated feeds on your website, please send this to your web team, I’m here to help.
What you should know about Syndicated Feeds for your Corporate Website
Yesterday, a respected PR professional asked me some excellent questions on Syndication deployment, usage, and tactics. Given her background is not web, this is an excellent question, and I’m glad she asked. This post is intended as a basic primer, and I’m going to avoid any technical discussions. As you hopefully know, I use this blog to answer questions that I get from prospects, customers, friends, and family about the web.
Syndicated feeds such as RSS, and Atom and other feeds are becoming increasingly popular primarily due to the blogging explosion, (Syndicated content is a default feature of nearly every blog) and is starting to take hold on non-blog sites as well.
How it works
Websites, blogs, and other tools offer syndicated feeds. Users can tell it’s available on the page as there are icons on the webpage, and some browsers indicate this (see orange icon on browser). Users can then subscribe to the feed from a feedreader or from their subscribe feeds section on the browser. This let’s the user be alerted when there is information changed on the website, and they can consume the content when they want, and how they want.
Why it matters
I already discussed how Web Marketing is not on two domains only (your website and google search results) the modern web marketer needs to start building the resources for users now that the information power is starting to shift to the users.
Adoption levels for those that are actively using a feedreader, but the adoption trend will continue to grow. Since the next version of Outlook (a staple of many corporations) it will have a built in feedreader in the Inbox. Feedreaders will be mainstream just like email, so please start your planning now.
You want your users to subscribe to your content, this means they are signaling they want more content, and an indicator they are a highly relevant, targeted audience, don’t let them down!
While at Microsoft, tech blogger Robert Scoble proclaimed some very strong remarks for Web Marketers that don’t have RSS on their site.
Modern Web Marketing is giving to users
If you run a website for a company or organization, I would encourage you to deploy an syndicated feed program for your site, it will give the visitors of your site the opportunity to subscribe (only if they want to) to your content so they can consume it when and how they please. In marketing, this is an opt-in model. For this to be effective you’ll want to keep the feeds updated.
The tech industry is often the testbed for adopting new technologies, and there are many companies that have RSS right on their homepage. You can see a prominent RSS icon on the Hitachi Data Systems site, and PodTech has quite a few.
RSS Strategies for your Corporate Content
Take a look at IBM, which has deployed RSS in a very advanced way, they’re providing a feed for what appears to be every product and offering in the entire company. Since different users have different needs, segmenting will provide a higher degree of relevancy and accuracy for the subscriber. It’s even broken down by language.
It makes sense to segment your content and cut it as many ways as possible, look for content that is frequently updated such as press releases, updated collateral, white papers, and even your email newsletter. Since it’s native to podcasts, blogs, and other social media tools, be sure to put all of these on one page, making it easy for users to select from the ‘menu’
Don’t have RSS on your Corporate Site?
It’s not hard to implement this, you can use a free blog (go to wordpress) and create this account. Then you can send the feed into feedburner which will provide you with metrics. Add the RSS icon to your homepage, and then populate the blog with updated content: news, new media, or to be as so bold as to blog. If you’re more technical, you can find an RSS generator which could be a way to deploy everytime your website updates. I’m sure all of the above recommendations are free, time and a bit of know how is all that is needed.
Deploying RSS on your corporate website, (say maybe one feed) should cost no dollars, it should primarily be labor, consult your developers for more details. Many of the tools I’ve suggested have zero dollar cost. Since content is already updated on your site (news, press, new collateral, etc) you don’t have to create new content, just use this as a vehicle for extended reach.
1) Get educated, I’ve provided some links below
2) Get a feedreader, There’s a ton here, I happen to use Google Reader, and have also used Google Homepage, MyYahoo, and Bloglines. My feedreader saves me time.
3) Subscribe to some feeds (start with mine)
4) Create RSS for your own site, test it out
5) Grow: Segment content, find better tools, make it part of your integrated marketing approach
I expect CMS systems in this year to be offering a wide multitude of RSS output features, and even create engines that allow users to create their own customized feed.
I also recommend you consider offering RSS on your site, as there are ‘scraping’ technologies appearing that will take your content off your site and convert into RSS, even if you don’t want it to. This may not be ideal for you, as the content that it’s scraping may not what you want to serve up to your highly relevant audience. A way to subscribe to content will eventually be on every single webpage whether the creator likes it or not.
If you want to know more about RSS, (and want to first impress your IT guys how much you already know) I first recommend you check out Robyn Tippin’s RSS Marketing Blog, there are a ton of great resources, you can check out Wikipedia’s collection. Or see this google results page on RSS Marketing. Last but not least, we should all recognize the most major contributor to RSS is Internet Uncle, Dave Winer, learn up on him at Wikipedia, then see other resources. If anyone else has any other suggestions, please leave a comment.
If you’ve never subscribed to a website before, start by subscribing to mine!
I noticed a trend in several RSS articles and posts being published, I’ve collected a few of the more helpful ones, including the primer from Wikipedia up front. Feel free to leave comments with additional resources.
Primer: Wikipedia on RSS
Don’t know what RSS is? As a Marketer, Web Professional, or communicator, being knowledgeable about RSS is important in this current web era.
RSS for the People
Although I’ve always thought the BBC version of explaining RSS was classic, this version explained by Paul Kim leverages what the LA Fire department has figured out. It’s truly a pro-consumer point of view.
Who’s using what for RSS
Analysis of which feedreaders are being used and usage of RSS. It doesn’t answer “who” is using RSS, but research this time last year from Yahoo suggested that it tended to be younger technology folks. No surprised there.
42 uses of RSS and Atom Feeds
Really Simple Syndication is a protocol, a vehicle, and a tool that can be used to meet a variety of purposes. This brain stormer gives some practical applications of using RSS and the applications currently avaialble. My suggestion: create a feedreader on your enterprise Intranet to assist with creating customized homepages.
RSS Subscription for Podcasts low
A few days ago I covered that podcast subscription may be low, but it’s quickly growing according to Pew internet research
RSS finally taking off, thanks to IE7 and Firefox?
Now that both dominant browsers (IE is massively the lead) and Firefox both offer feedreader abilities, not to mention most web mail and the future Outlook12 will this be the tools needed to take RSS mainstream?
Oh, one other confusing thing: I hear people describing RSS as a Push, and a Pull medium, in your opinion, which is it?
Martin and I are invited to the IE7 release event next week in San Francisco. Like last time at the beta release event, we interviewed and did a podcast with the product team.
I’ve already asked several web experts to give me their questions they would want me to ask the team, (could range from IT deployment, security, user experience, standards, css, features, feeds, market share, whatever) if you’ve any specific questions, please leave a comment.
I wonder if IE7s use of feeds could replace feedreaders for common users. The tabbed feature should improve productivity. If the browser has a fully functioning ‘tagging’ feature this could be helpful within the enterprise or personal bookmarking.
More news about the release from Kevin Dean. By the way, I love the fact that Microsoft is reaching to the web and blog community for a product release. Smart, very smart.
I’ve noticed some blogs that have skyrocketed recently with subscriptions, and I’ve got to ask the question: Is it possible to make one’s feedburner numbers go up by subscribing to it multiple times from one’s feedreader? Is it possible to write a script to do this?
Heh, I’m not planning to do this, but I’ve noticed some unnatural growth, and wondered if feedburner had a way of determining feed subscription source (maybe IP) and would/could limit it’s analytics.
The marketing benefits from being able to manipulate one’s feedburner ranks (everyone’s reading it, why shouldn’t you) is a very powerful message.
I’m not a developer or software engineer.
I am an individual that needs to understand technology in order to impelement web strategies –consider the following as a public learning experience.
I first heard Marc Canter talking about Microformats a few months ago, and talked to Tantek about it at dinner –I didn’t understand it fully at the time, I’m beginning to see the value now that so many voices are appearing on the web due to blogs and social media.
I am NOT a microformat expert, if you have a suggestion or correction, please leave a comment below and I’ll update the text –let’s learn together.
Q: What are Microformats?
A new method to organize unstructured information into an organized fashion that could be used universally. Edit: You can learn more about the “Big Picture on Microformats” from John Allsopp.
Q: I’m not technical, Why should I know about Microformats?
While still in it’s very early stages, this could be a protocol that could further define RSS or make information publishing, categorizing, or managing more effective. Marketers could benefit by quickly publishing information in organized methods, consumers could quickly obtain information in organized fashions.
Q: Why Microformats?
Social Media (blogs, forums, wikis, etc) are exploding; so many voices, reviews, thoughts, and memes are being spread through the internet, a method to identify, collect, organize, and repurpose/manage will be a service to the world. So much information, very little structure.
Q: How do they work?
Since it’s not a new language, it can be embedded in HTML (as I understand it from Wikipedia) I believe that RSS can also contain the information which will be great if you need to get the word out or update information quickly. Think Vitamin has published a nifty article on embedding Microformats in HTML.
Q: What are the Benefits?
Here’s some potential benefits that come to my mind. (and this is before coffee)
- Quickly find all user reviews about a product across the internet. (Imagine how powerful that becomes if you can do this from a mobile device before buying a product)
- Quickly update all your contact information as it appears across the entire internet
- Quickly tell the whole world about an event and have it updated on every calendar
- Search engines can do a better job of indexing and serving more accurate information
- Quickly put up a product to sell that would publish on many websites (ebay, Craigslist, etc)
- Quickly tell the world when this price has changed or if the product is off the market (sold)
- Build a universal library of all food recipes and share you own, transmit this code to your local supermarket to assemble ingredients before you arrive, or ship
- Tie your disparate intranet system using RSS and Microformats as the new protocol
- Quickly create a press release and send to social media tools
- Quickly create an image/video and publish to be shared in other social media tools
- Create your own Microformat (like HCard, or HCalendar) for your own use (see wiki)
Q: What are the Challenges?
- Blog publishing tools or widgets will need to be added
- All websites that want to stay relevant will need to ‘open up’ to opensource and opendata model
- Folks inputting faulty data into Microformat structure
Q: Are Microformats related to RSS?
Yes, I believe that the Microformat content can be distributed via RSS just like other content.
Interact with this post
Have a question? Leave a comment
Have an answer? Leave a comment
I’ll share the findings with the Microformats team later…