RSS Feeds: Old But Proven Tech for Spreading Your Message

Man working on RSS

RSS, which stands for Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication, is a way of letting your audience know when you have a new blog post, news article, video, podcast or product on your site. This protocol is more than 16 years old now, and it was one of the most popular methods early bloggers used to retain readers.

RSS has been declared dead time and again, but it’s actually still with us, and it still represents a solid method for promoting your content.

About RSS

Users of RSS reading software subscribe to the RSS feeds served by popular websites. They then get notifications when those sites publish new content. There are usually previews of the articles and posts within the RSS feed, and some organizations even provide the full text. This makes things easy for consumers because they don’t need to visit each website regularly; they’ll know whenever there’s something new that they want to check out.

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Feedly RSS Web Reader

RSS allows people to stay up to date on the online resources they’re interested in without having to clog up their email inboxes with newsletters and promotional materials or follow dozens of companies on Twitter. It doesn’t require any personally identifying information or per-site user accounts. Subscribing to and unsubscibing from a feed is as simple as clicking a button. There are desktop, mobile and web-based options when it comes to RSS reader packages, and they range from the spartan to the sophisticated.

How to Make an RSS Feed

All the links and other info comprising an RSS channel are contained in an XML file. This file must conform to the relevant RSS specifications or else there’s a chance that RSS reader programs might garble it.

There are, broadly speaking, two sections of an RSS file. The first contains the name of your channel, which can be the same as that of your site, an image and other data that will remain constant. The second consists of a list of items, with links to your pages and either summaries or full text, that you’ll update whenever you add new content.

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After you’ve created this file, upload it to your web server. Then add calls to action and links on your home page and other popular areas of your site so that people will know where to find your RSS channel. Every time you edit your feed to incorporate new elements, your subscribers will see them in their RSS readers.

Automated RSS Tools

Rather than manually editing XML, which can be a challenging endeavor, you may wish to take advantage of hassle-free software to make it a piece of cake. WordPress automatically generates RSS feeds, unless you disable them, but you can probably get better results by manually altering the settings. If your content management platform doesn’t create RSS channels for you, then you can explore RSS Builder, which is cost-free and open-source.

Expand Your Reach

There are several directories on the net that maintain lists of RSS channels. Submit yours to a few of them that target the same topics and demographics that you do. You’ll thereby attract more viewers to your site and grow your user base.

As a proven and time-tested framework, RSS feeds can contribute successfully to your content marketing strategy. Setting up your own RSS channel isn’t too difficult, and it will provide you with another avenue for visitor acquisition and retention.

Grant Maddox

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Grant Maddox enjoys writing product descriptions, reviews, articles, and blog posts. He is especially conversant in poker and other gambling games and can contribute successfully to strategy articles and news items regarding such games. Grant can write compelling content while observing the rules of English grammar.

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Rachel Elle
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Rachel Elle

I always forget RSS feeds are an option. Good summary!

Christine Birch
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Christine Birch

I never knew what RSS stood for! Thanks for the great overview.

Linnea S.
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Linnea S.

I’m a bit surprised to see that RSS feeds are still in use. Content promotion takes a lot of different forms, and you make a solid case that it’s a good idea to experiment with RSS as well as other methods.

Earl Dotson
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Earl Dotson

Whatever one thinks of RSS, its ability to always return to relevance has to be respected.

melissann
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melissann

I totally forgot about RSS feeds. Time to go back to the basics.

Tay H
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Tay H

This is so helpful in cutting through to exactly what you actually want to see and be notified of instead of trawling through the masses.

Georgia Potts
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Georgia Potts

I honestly didn’t know RSS was a thing anymore. I certainly never knew what it stood for! Thanks for the info.

auntieemily
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auntieemily

Never really knew much about RSS, so thank you for sharing a little information about it.

Bethany A.
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Bethany A.

RSS feeds are not something that I’ve ever thought about too much. Great article!

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Thanks for sharing these useful information! This is really interesting information for me.
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amir
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amir

Awesome article, Great, & Informative..Wonderful article you wrote..

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