Corporate Eye

5 stages of development of corporate RSS Feeds

Not all companies have yet ‘got’ the value in providing RSS feeds, and don’t provide any at all; at the other extreme, some companies provide multiple RSS feeds, including feeds of podcasts, speeches and other tailored streams of information.

There is definitely a trend towards providing more RSS feeds, and providing feeds tailored to a particular audience.

people delete feeds that aren’t tailored to their needs

I’ve noticed that major companies tend to fall into one of five different groups, depending on where they are on the RSS curve:

  1. No RSS feed at all (examples: Brambles, Tesco or Sage)
  2. A single RSS feed, usually for press releases only. Examples include: Barclays, AstraZeneca or Vodafone.
  3. Multiple RSS feeds, available on relevant pages of the corporate site, but not brought together into a single location. Examples of this stage include:
    • UBS, who appear to host a feed for press releases, and a separate feed for investor specific news
    • National Grid, who have a feed for their press releases in the Media section, and one feed for investor news and another for presentations and webcasts, both in the Investor section
  4. Multiple RSS feeds, available on relevant pages, and collated on a single page, but not available across the site:
    • the Cisco product site has feeds covering product launches, security issues and revisions to product documentation among many others, including executive thought leadership pieces
    • Aviva enable the visitor to choose from 9 different feeds – all news related, but with different areas of interest, e.g. CSR news or UK general insurance news
    • Sainsbury’s has a number of feeds for press releases, product news, the financial calendar and a feed for investor podcasts
  5. Multiple RSS feeds, available on relevant pages but also collated in an RSS centre available across the site.
    • GE provide 23 RSS feeds, all available from an RSS centre listed on their main navigation
    • Roche host an RSS centre containing feeds for job listings as well as for news, investor updates and podcasts of conferences (available from the services box at the top left of the page)
    • Intel provide 10 feeds on their corporate site, including feeds about products, but also links to feeds from other regions
Roche RSS CentreRoche (look at top left to see services) GE RSS FeedsGE – too many feeds to fit on one screenshot
Intel RSS feedsIntel – feeds from country-sites available on corporate site  

The more RSS feeds per site, the more important it becomes to have a page where the RSS feeds are collated and described, and from which the visitor can select the feeds they are most likely to be interested in. I like the Roche solution of putting the RSS symbol in among all the other site services, leading to an RSS centre.

the uses for RSS feeds haven’t all been identified yet

The more specific a feed, the more likely it is to find a receptive audience; why send CSR analysts a feed with irrelevant investor information in? Or journalists a feed with technical job openings? People will tend to ignore a feed – or remove it from their reader – if it doesn’t contain information that is useful to them on a regular basis.

It is very interesting to note some of the feeds provided, particularly on the non-corporate sites. It seems very sensible indeed to provide a feed containing changes in the product documentation to the retailers or providers of your services, so why not extend this idea … as well as targeting retailers, why not have a feed for advertisers of your product? Or for your suppliers?

On a more personal note, I plan to create RSS feeds for each of the different stakeholder groups I blog about here; I’ll track this for a while, and report back on any changes to the take-up that I see.

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