When you hear the word RSS, you don’t necessarily think of it as a must-have tool for a business owner. You’re more likely to associate it with non-professional use. Just another way to bookmark sites without forgetting about them.
Or maybe you haven’t really heard about RSS.
So what is it?
Alive and kicking since 1999, RSS is the online protocol that could survive over twenty years on the Internet as a lifeline for users to find their way through all the content on the web. Real Simple Syndication (RSS) makes it possible to read articles published on different sites simultaneously on a single dashboard. That would be the RSS feed reader.
RSS readers can store hundreds of different sites’ feeds and display every new article the second it’s published. Articles are arranged in chronological order and users are free to group feeds into as many different folders as they please.
Why is it important?
RSS is quite versatile in its use. Although initially designed for text, RSS readers can easily read feeds from newsletters, social media and podcasts – the whole works.
This greatly improves its usefulness for professionals. Powerful RSS readers are convenient tools for research, productivity, brand monitoring and social media listening. This is the reason why all business owners should do some research into the more feature-packed readers out on the market. They tend to have a lot of features available at lower prices compared to workflow and social media management tools.
How can it benefit business owners?
It saves a lot of time
Whenever I talk about RSS, I always start with how much time it saves me in the long run. It may not feel like much at the moment – click on sites individually to visit them. We’re even conditioned to enjoy that, but that’s how we end up hours on the Internet without doing anything too productive. Because RSS consolidates your subscriptions to one dashboard, you eliminate this manual labor along with the distractions it brings.
Trust me. Sites and social media platforms are designed to suck your attention. RSS feed readers don’t do that and they’re very easy to check for new updates. Inoreader has developed a Chrome extension for that very purpose. You don’t have to leave your tab to see any new unread articles. The extension also adds a handy feature that detects any RSS feeds on a given site, which you can then add to your subscriptions with a single click.
It helps you find the best content
RSS feed readers are not just useful for saving and organizing your digital reading. They are also superb for research! You will find that a lot of feeders out there help their users find new content. They do it in different ways like how The Old Reader prioritizes how many times its users save or read an article in order to boost it to the front page. This way you see what the majority is reading in real time.
Inoreader has its own superb discovery zone with popular feeds neatly sorted by topics and sub-topics. Users can also do amazing things with its powerful search features. Now, Inoreader is able to make suggestions on topics related to what you’re currently researching. Feedly offers a similar search and discovery feature. However, it’s taken on recommendations to a whole new level thanks to their AI assistant Leo, who learns from user feedback and behavior on Feedly.
It has a team feature
In order to capture the business market, RSS readers have turned towards collaboration. Of course, you will have teams work together on a project and information will have to flow freely. Relying on messaging systems like Discord and Telegram leaves a lot of risk to bury useful research items in general chatter. RSS readers provide a digital corkboard available to all, highlighting the most important content and straight to the point.
It really depends on what style of team feature you want. Inoreader adds a level of hierarchy with one master account in charge of different teams. Macro management is quite important. Feeder is another RSS feed reader with feed sharing, but it’s flexible as different people can form their own groups without any major oversight. This definitely works in a more relaxed environment. Last on this list is Feedly, which brands its sharing feature as team boards. Users can create team boards, add users and annotate the articles being shared.
It helps you develop your online presence
I’ve already mentioned how integral RSS on a business level can be for a brand’s content strategy. This all has to do with understanding the content that’s being produced in your industry, learning all about the relevant trends in trade sources and seeing what your customers respond to.
RSS is a great way to measure your online presence in a meaningful way through RSS whether that’s to do with social media posting or what you’re publishing on your blog or your newsletter. I also have to say that the sheer time saved through the use of RSS can be better utilized in the way you manage your online presence.
It enables you to keep track of your competitors
Brand monitoring is not the only thing you can effectively perform with RSS readers. Keep an eye on your competitors just as easily. RSS feed readers are adept at following all types of media, so you can effectively subscribe to:
- All their social media accounts from LinkedIn and Twitter to Instagram and TikTok
- Their YouTube channel and podcast
- Newsletters and blogs
- Even the accounts of prominent figures working at your competitor such as founders or CEOs, or marketing managers
Once organized into a separate folder you can gain valuable insights into how frequently they post on what platforms, when they tend to publish their content, how they run promotional campaigns and how they handle backlash from customers.