April '17

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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36 || P R I N T W E A R A P R I L 2 0 1 7 Kelly "Rags" Ragland is the owner and operator of Rags to Stitches Productions, a holistic advertising specialty company that provides a range of services, from Web design and development to customized ap- parel. Read his blog at INTERNET STRATEGIES B Y K E L LY " R A G S " R A G L A N D A re you taking advantage of syndication? You may be familiar with the term as it applies to reruns of television shows or perhaps radio broadcasts, but as it applies to the internet, it is called Real Simple Syndication (RSS). Syndication on this plat- form can be a powerful tool to spread your message out to a wider audience, boost exposure online, and even help save time in per- forming your internet marketing tasks. A perfect example of this is news outlets. Virtually all have an RSS Feed, which is a broadcast in data format that includes everything they publish on their news sites. Aggregators, search engines, and other news outlets may then monitor those feeds or even tap into them to publish them elsewhere. Essentially, every blogging platform I am aware of includes an RSS feed as well, and a clever web developer can include one on a web- site that has e-commerce functionality. In fact, many e-commerce platforms already include RSS, you just need to look into what your feed address is. Consider the number of things that can be done with your syndicated feed, as outlined in the following. BLOGGING If you keep your message alive on a regular basis through a blog, you can use the RSS feed to provide added value to every blog post you publish. The feed can be plugged into your Facebook and Twitter accounts; displayed on your other web properties; and, should you take the time to list your RSS feed in online directories, the news ag- gregators and internet publishers of the world will be able to discover it and publish your content elsewhere. E-COMMERCE Much like an RSS feed coming from a blog, an e- commerce platform that includes a feed can do the same. Consider the benefit and added value to each product you add to the system. For example, when I add a new T-shirt to my online store, I have the feed from that store plugged into Facebook, Twitter, my blog, and two other web properties. With that single press of the button to add an item to my shop, I have published that product to a handful of other proper- ties and increased my reach. It has also multiplied the content, increasing its chances of discovery by Inter- net users, search engines and web crawlers. FACEBOOK Facebook recently launched a feature called Instant Articles. The feature takes your RSS feed and publish- es it to your Facebook property in a format that suits the number of ways that their users consume content. For example, a simple RSS feed posted to your business page will include the headline, a brief summary, and an image. Each post links to the source outside of the Facebook bubble. Instant Ar- ticles, on the other hand, publishes each publica- tion in it's entirety, all formatted in a manner that blends right in with the way Facebook provides content from desktop users to those connect- Are You Syndicated? Utilizing an RSS Feed continued on page 95

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