Branding has been called the most powerful idea in business, yet few companies consciously take control of their brand and create it.
Your brand is formed by the visual, emotional, rational, and cultural image associated with your company or product. Now that so many people are reading news and researching products and services online, their first point of contact with your brand is most likely to be online. Brand perception online has been linked to search engine visibility. Studies such as the IAB research shows that searchers regard companies that are placed on page one in the search engines as the major players in the field.
RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is a technology that allows you to share your headlines and other web content. Think of it as a distributable "What's New" for your site. Using RSS as a marketing tool leverages the Web's most valuable asset - content. It makes it easy to display high-quality relevant news on your site, and syndicate this news and content.
You can use an RSS feed for a variety of content – product news, press releases, technical articles. The list is endless. The number of people reading RSS feeds is growing by leaps and bounds. Feed Burner reports that subscriptions to the feeds they manage are growing by one percent a day.
According to the Yahoo! study most people don’t even know they’re using RSS feeds – they just like the ease of subscribing to a content feed. And the people reading feeds are the ones you want to reach – they’re opinion leaders and early adopters. RSS is the perfect way to meet the needs expressed by consumers in the recent Ponemon Institute study.
Over 80 percent of respondents said they want to be updated on news and offers from companies if it is relevant to them and 64 percent said they’d trust the marketer more if they were in control of how the message was delivered to them. Spam pollution has made delivering your message via email a challenge. And with the possibility of e-postage looking on the horizon, marketers are moving from a push-based information delivery (where you send information via emails) to a pull-based information delivery (where the subscriber accesses your information as and when he/she wants it.)
RSS news feeds offer your visitors a way to get relevant information in a way they control. They can subscribe anonymously and judge whether your content is relevant to them. They can unsubscribe at will, without any problems and delays. There's no spam. No lost deliveries.
RSS feeds give you an edge over your competitors who are slow in adopting this hot new technology. We've all book marked hundreds of websites – and then forgotten to go back to them. With an RSS feed every time new content goes up on your site, visitors who have subscribed to the feed are alerted and enticed back to the site to read the new content.
RSS Feeds Boost Your Search Visibility
The purpose of a feed is to deliver content and news to your public. So by its very nature a feed has constantly updated content. It’s focused on a narrow subject matter (your business/industry) so it tends to be keyword rich.
This gets the attention of the search engines and they index your feed more often. When your feed is picked up and used by other sites it creates links back to your site, which also increases your search engine visibility People online generally do a series of searches, narrowing down their focus on keywords as they go.
If your website shows up on page one in every search they do, it builds brand awareness and value. RSS feeds and content syndication are a very strong element in this strategy.