How to leverage RSS for competitive research and content marketing

Really Simple Syndication (RSS) is the forgotten standard that is more relevant today than ever for digital marketers.

The internet in the 90s introduced a diverse group of technologies that were widely used but are now utterly unknown to entire generations. I remember using Gopher in college to access files and using Usenet to post and download whatever I wanted. Today, Gopher is all but extinct while Usenet remains on life support. However, there’s one technology, in particular, that’s stood the test of time, and that’s Really Simple Syndication (RSS).

RSS was created in the late 90s and was a way for websites to organize and syndicate their content. In the mid-2000s, it started to become the de-facto standard for syndicating blog posts. It also spawned entire services, including feed management apps like FeedBurner and RSS readers like the now-defunct Google Reader.

Over the last decade, RSS seemed to fade into the background as social networks became the preferred method for how most people discovered and consumed content. However, RSS didn’t go away. It continues to be a potent tool that savvy digital marketers use to stay competitive and influence their target audience.

Marketing with RSS

RSS is a grossly underutilized tool by most digital marketers. The power of RSS for marketing is that it can be used to:

  1. Monitor competitors
    1. Subscribe to competitor feeds
    2. Subscribe to Google Alerts
    3. Subscribe to related topics
    4. Generate custom competitor feeds
  2. Discover insights
  3. Distribute content
    1. Automate social posts via RSS with IFTTT
    2. Automate social posts via RSS with Zapier
    3. Automate email newsletters via RSS with Tidings
    4. Create custom RSS feeds for different content types
  4. Analyze RSS feed statistics

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