I can’t believe how few people in marketing communications use an RSS reader to keep on top of what’s happening in their market sector. It’s very old technology in web terms, but it can be as useful today as it ever was.
If you’re not really sure what an RSS reader is, you may actually be using one, or its equivalent, with apps like Flipboard. But if you’re not, read on.
Many websites, especially those with news and blogs, maintain an RSS feed. This is a list of all the latest additions to the website, not generally accessible as part of the site. An RSS reader goes round at intervals and looks at these feeds, and collates everything it finds into a neat presentation. No more having to remember to check back to see if a website which interests you has added something new.
Here’s what one of my RSS reader accounts looks like:
I’ve added interesting sites to the list over the years, and now my RSS reader checks over 250 of them whenever I sign in to the service. I can just browse down the new articles like it’s my email inbox.
The service I use is Feedly, but others are available. Just create an account (you can use a Google or Facebook account) and start to add the domain names of any websites you want to follow. Add your competitors’ websites, your favourite industry news sites, and your trade associations. If the sites don’t have an RSS feed, it’ll tell you.