RSS feeds as a weapon of mass information in B2B

Collaboration – August 7, 2013

You probably see them often but have rarely wondered about RSS feeds (“Really Simple Syndication”). Yet another social network, perhaps? Nope! It could simply be a powerful weapon of mass information in B2B.

First of all, what are RSS feeds?

RSS feeds aren’t really new, but they’re nevertheless misunderstood and underused.

I’ve already mentioned RSS feeds as applications for monitoring in a previous blog post on market research, but without explaining what they are.

Below is a simple outline to clarify it for you:

Situation 1: Each morning you go to your favourite websites looking for information relevant to your industry (for example, let’s say you work in the packaging industry). You visit the following websites: La Presse affaires, Lovely Package, Packaging World and PakBec.

Situation 2: Imagine the opposite: if instead of having to visit all those websites one at a time, you received all their news in a software program or an application. That would be pretty interesting, wouldn’t it? This is what RSS feeds do.

Advantages and disadvantages

You can become the “reference” at work for knowing what’s going on in your industry by spending no more than 30 minutes a day on a news aggregator. You’ll save time, become more efficient and be able to use this application to do efficient monitoring.

The pros and cons in the case where you manage a corporate blog? First of all, having RSS feeds is seen by RSS feed users as the norm, and it would be a mistake not to offer them.

The pros: More efficient diffusion of your news items and, thus, a potentially larger audience.

The cons: Your news items will be “drowned out” in a panoply of information: your readers might subscribe to many sites and blogs where hundreds of news items will be sent to them everyday via RSS feeds. Moreover, it’s not easy to insert visual effects, so it’s not really possible to insert non-textual advertising.

Some tips to get started

  • – Once you’ve chosen your reader, begin by adding the sites that you visit. To find an RSS feed quickly, look for the orange symbol:
  • – After you’ve clicked on the symbol, you’ll be asked to choose a reader to add your news feed to your aggregator.
  • – If you don’t see this menu, you can always copy the address given (it must contain “feed” in the address). For example, for Exo Marketing’s blog:
  • – Next, paste the link where indicated by your chosen reader, for example in Netvibes:
  • – And here’s what a news feed looks like:
  • – Some helpful advice: go to Google News and search for something specific (ideally with quotation marks, functions AND and OR, etc.). For example, if I want to monitor a competitor named “XYZ Packaging,” in the search engine bar I enter “XYZ packaging” (with the quotation marks). Now look at the bottom of page of search results, and you should find the RSS logo. If you click on it, Google will give you a link that will let you receive, if there are any, news items about your competitor.

What applications would you suggest?

Since the recent closure of Google Reader, I had to find an alternative solution, Netvibes, which works online. I can’t say whether or not it’s the best, but I’m satisfied for now.

Here are some other solutions, although there are thousands out there:

This way, you’ll stay informed “like a boss!”

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