We all have our own unique interests, some of us like news in general, some of us like sport, some of us like current affairs, some of us have an interest in politics, some of us like a little bit of everything!
Up until fairly recently there were a few accepted mediums for garnering such information, you could pick up a newspaper, listen to a radio bulletin or watch the news on television. These were all perfectly acceptable methods of furnishing our needs, acceptable that is until the dawn and rise of the internet and in particular news feeds.
News feeds, otherwise known as Rss feeds or xml have been around since roughly 1995, originally embraced by web publishers who wanted their feeds to run on my.netscape.com and other Rss portals. In fact it wasn’t until 2005 that the symbol now synonymous with Rss feedsbecame the norm.
What has that got to do with me you might say? Well, if you are a regular user of the internet and a content gatherer in particular there is probably no need for me to tell you but just in case, I’ll quickly skim over what news feeds are and what they can do for you.
What is a news feed?
A news feed is an aggregated version of a news story, i.e. the headline, a short summary of the story and links leading you back to the full article. This is a simple way to be alerted when content of interest to you appears online at your favourite websites. So, instead of having to browse and scour the net for the latest news and content, you can have it delivered, (through a feed reader which I will cover later), much like the paperboy would have delivered your paper in days gone by. The main difference is the paperboy is a news aggregator and the source of information is the web.
So, next time you are browsing the web, keep an eye for the orange symbol I mentioned a few paragraphs ago, by subscribing or clicking on this icon you are effectively adding a section to your ‘virtual newspaper’, all the sites that interest you should have this option, you can then build up the content that will be delivered to your news aggregator.
We don’t all have the time (or sometimes the patience!), to browse every single site that may interest us so this is an ideal way of receiving news and content on a constant basis throughout the day, we can quickly scan the news feeds that have been delivered to our news aggregator and decide whether to revert back to the original source to read the full content or whether to skip the content and move onto the next link.
How do we receive news feeds and what is a news aggregator?
Firstly, to receive news feeds you will need a news aggregator similar to that of 3D Issue Hubs, (these can also come under the guise of content curators, feed readers, news reader or simply aggregator, they all mean the same thing, they just have different names). News aggregators such as Hubs are basically the platform from which you view the rss feeds you have subscribed to, your ‘virtual newspaper’ if you like, you are filling up the white space in the newspaper with content you find interesting and relevant without having to spend a lot of time retrieving the material.
To receive these news feeds, all you have to do is visit the website you are interested in, and then, using Hubs and subscribe to the news feed, from then on you will see the news feed and whenever it is updated the new content will automatically come through to your platform.
This cuts down on the time needed to gather all the information and content that you desire, you need never miss out on another update or bulletin again. News feeds aren’t constricted to personal access to news and content, it can be utilized from a business perspective also.
Using news feeds and news aggregators in business
News feeds and news aggregators are not solely restricted to personal use, from a business vantage point they are a powerful medium as a marketing tool. News feeds are a great way of improving communication between the business and their clientele, increasing their exposure and brand appeal in the process.
News feeds and aggregators are being utilized by canny marketers to aid in their goal of attracting consumers to their products by a number of approaches, they can be used for announcing upcoming events and new product launches and weekly monthly specials. The possibilities are endless; you can incorporate your newsletters into news feeds through the use of Hubs.
Another factor often overlooked is the use of responsive layouts and also the ability to publish to any platform. The former will enable the consumer to digest your content on their device without the need to pinch and zoom as the content will adjust to suit the resolution, the latter is invaluable as it allows the consumer to on any device, in today’s smartphone reliant world, this is an absolute must.