An RSS primer (for PR professionals & students, too)
ResourceShelf points to an excellent resource: RSS - A Primer for Publishers & Content Providers. Here are a couple of points that should interest PR professionals:
Imagine that your company announces a new product or feature every month or two. Without an RSS feed, your viewers have to remember to come to your site and see if they find anything new - if they have time. If you provide a feed for them, they can point their aggregator or other software at it, and it will give them a link and a description of developments at your site almost as soon as they happen. News is similar; because there are so many sources of news on the Internet, most of your viewers won't come to your site every day. By providing an RSS feed, you are in front of them constantly, improving the chances that they'll click through to an article that catches their eye. (Mark Nottingham)
Using RSS is not just about announcing new products. Journalists are using RSS feeds to stay informed with the latest news and events, and RSS is an excellent medium for delivering them tailored information without clogging their e-mails (and there is no need to call and ask them if they've received your RSS feed...).
What you can find in the primer (that is primarily intended for a non-technical audience):
1. Aims & Scope
2. Why should publishers & content providers produce RSS?
3. What is RSS?
4. RSS - Common Questions Answered
5. Identifying Suitable Content
6. Producing RSS
7. RSS - Technical Pointers & Web Resources
8. Good Practice Recommendations for RSS Production
9. Promoting & Discovering RSS Feeds
10. Utilizing RSS Feeds
11. References and Notes
Thanks to Gary Price for this information.