In recent years, the power of RSS has been displayed, as it's the driving force behind blogs and other online initiatives. But RSS feeds are also a useful internal communications tool, as they provide companies with a way to keep employees informed and to connect offices that span the globe.
"If you talk to any internal communications person, whether it is in PR or some other part of marketing, one of the challenges they face is that they need to get information out, and people just aren't reading it," says Todd Berkowitz, director of marketing for NewsGator, an RSS service provider.
J.B. Holston, CEO and president of NewsGator, says many companies are now using RSS as a means of replacing mass company e-mails that might not be read or take up space in employee in-boxes.
"RSS is very effective because it doesn't rely on people to [go out and] get that information," adds Barbara Bates, principal at Eastwick Communications. "There is a higher readership because the information is pushed to them."
There are several different ways that employers can use RSS to help with internal communications.
One way of doing so is through blogs, notes Holston. Companies can subscribe their employees to an RSS feed that is connected to a blog. The blog can be used for a multitude of tasks, from distributing human resources information to allowing employees to share their daily work.
"There are companies that are using blogs to communicate internally, and the purpose of that is to share tacit knowledge within the company," says Holston. "The blogging can be a way to capture expertise on different topics and distribute it."
Wikis and company intranets are also effective ways to aggregate information for distribution through RSS. Rick Murray, president of Edelman's Me2Revolution practice, says his teams use wikis and RSS on a regular project basis, allowing teams to communicate throughout offices without having to worry about phone calls in different time zones.
"RSS is one way to get information distributed," explains Murray, "whether that information is stored on a wiki, blogs, or an intranet."
RSS feeds are effective in distributing relevant, timely information when employees need regular updates
Audio and video content can be added to RSS feeds, allowing for personalization
More than one feed can be set up so employees are only subscribed to the feeds that are relevant to their position