Posted by Amanda Walsh
Have you heard about Yahoo! Pipes? If the answer is no, don't worry. Even if you answered yes, you may not have realized the full potential that this RSS tool can provide for your business. I love sharing new tools with The PR Lawyer reader audience, so when I heard about Yahoo! Pipes I jumped on the opportunity to write a blog post to share the news.
After some research on the topic, I have discovered that Yahoo! Pipes is a free online service offered by Yahoo! that PR and social media professionals can use to combine RSS feeds, filter them and receive only specific, relevant information for their clients. It debuted in February of 2007, but to my knowledge it is not a well known or heavily used tool. It does however provide many benefits by allowing users to monitor conversations and create customized searches through RSS feeds.
Why would Yahoo! Pipes be valuable to you as a PR professional?
Many professionals use the feed aggregators Google Reader or Bloglines to follow blogs and news outlets in order to keep tabs on company and client news. These are great resources, but Yahoo! Pipes is a service that can streamline all the information from those RSS feeds into one customized feed that provides only the specific information that you want.
1. Yahoo! Pipes allows you to customize hundreds of feeds into one. The feeds are filtered by a trigger message that you define and then Yahoo! Pipes delivers only the specific information you requested. This saves you time and energy from combing through your Google Reader or Bloglines.
2. Creating feeds like this can also be shared throughout an agency where employees can tune into very specific information.
3. Online conversation monitoring of target audiences is less complicated because you are more easily tuned into what people are saying.
4. And, you can improve the speed of customer relations by receiving messages quicker and providing a timley response.
Tech journalist at Read Write Web, Marshall Kirkpatrick wrote a post in 2008 with some useful instructions of how to get started on Yahoo! Pipes. The service has many benefits as Kirkpatrick shows through his post and easy-to-follow video.
Although the Pipes service may seem intimidating to use at first, in the end I believe that it provides a streamline and simple way to monitor news. Here are some other resources that can be helpful in setting up a Yahoo! Pipe:
1. The Yahoo! Pipes Team demonstrates some useful tips and explains what exactly Yahoo! Pipes is.
2. This link to the blog, Duct Tape Marketing, by John Jantsch, outlines some easy steps to start your own pipe for your clients or business.
3. This is a great resource that teaches you how to add a customized feed to your Facebook page.
4. Squidoo gives illustrative pictures to help you manage the user interface of Yahoo! Pipes which can be a little confusing at first.