What is RSS?
RSS, also known as Really Simple Syndication, Rich Site Summary or RDF Site Summary, is an XML-based format for distributing links to content on your web site that you would like others to use. Each area of your site that features a changing list of information should have a corresponding RSS feed.
Current State of RSS
RSS users can be lumped into two types of buckets, "Aware" and "Unaware". Aware RSS users are knowingly using RSS. Unaware RSS users enjoy the benefits of RSS without knowing it.
Workplace Print Media (via eMarketer, subscription required) released results of a study on RSS feed usage and knowledge among U.S. Employees. They found that only 9% know what RSS is. Another RSS study (PDF) back in October 2005 by Yahoo cited only 4% are aware RSS users. One of the great hurdles for marketers is making the end user aware of RSS.
There are several benefits for including RSS in to your marketing mix.
- Provides another channel to build brand awareness
- Easy distribution of online content
- 100% Opt in
- Not competing against hundreds of emails
- Your content will be delivered to all who "subscribe"
- Makes marketing messages more relevant
- No way to send unsolicited content via RSS
- No issues with blacklists or filters
- Customer use is growing
- Helps search engine rankings when RSS feeds are indexed