RRSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. And it is — a really simple way of distributing content throughout the Internet and getting more audience as a result.
It is online consumer technology from the early days of online publishing. Some people think it is antiquated and no longer usable. But while consumers of online content may not need it anymore, site publishers can still take advantage of it.
The Old Ways of RSS
RSS initially became known as a way for someone to use software called a reader to identify a particular kind of content, such as the Washington Nationals, and pull related stories about a topic from various websites into the reader.
That way the person using the reader didn’t have to visit 10 different sites to read every story that week about the Nationals.
In other words, the content comes to the user rather than the user goes to the content.
On the publishing side, certain websites began to build the ability to pull the RSS content directly into their sites. They made it easier for a user just to come to the site than downloading and installing a separate RSS application.
Users could go to one website, create an account, identify sources of stories about the Washington Nationals and display the results right there on that single website. The need for separate readers began to decline.
Their Content, Your Site
Now just about any website can display at least the headlines and first paragraphs from about any other site on the Internet that has an RSS feed. For an example, go to the site of the Washington Post using this address:
Click on the orange RSS icon to see the code for a file that contains a series of stories.
RSS for Publishers
Now, using an RSS aggregator within many content management systems, a publisher can display headlines of articles, the first paragraph and sometimes even images on a site.
When someone clicks on the headline, they will go to the complete article on the website providing the RSS feed.
It’s a win-win for both sites. The publishers gets a more robust site and sometimes more audience as a result. The provider of the RSS feed gets visitors via the site that publishes the articles.
The publisher now has a product similar to competitors such as News.Google.com. For that matter, the result is no different than what search engines display.
Deliver the Entire Article?
Many uses of RSS feeds distribute only the headline and summary of articles. But another option is a full-body RSS feed that delivers the entire article.
Why give away the content? Place ad tags on it and generate RSS advertising from the distribution.
Some sites put links within the article so that visitors to other sites that publisher it click on the link and come to the originating site.
Yet another option is RSS to email — distributing the feed to MailChimp or other distribution services that can use it to create automated email newsletters.
Others use tools that automate the postings of new articles onto social media accounts.
So RSS marketing is more than just having a site link to a ho-hum application that simply provides content for news readers. It is a powerful content marketing strategy that expand site traffic and even revenue potential.