I OFTEN get asked how I keep up with the fast and vast online world.
I have many mechanisms in place to keep up to date but I thought I'd let you in on one of my favourite ways - subscribing to RSS feeds and digesting the content via Google Reader.
Google Reader is a free product from Google and is essentially a web-based aggregator, capable of reading Atom and RSS feeds. RSS stands for 'Really Simple Syndication'. As opposed to subscribing to a database and getting ALL the information from a company; with RSS feeds, you can subscribe to just the parts you are interested in receiving. You don't have to give up your email or any contact details.
You'll simply be automatically updated of any new content feeds you subscribe to, via your chosen RSS reader, of which I recommend Google Reader.
How to get signed up with Google Reader
Simply get yourself a free Google Account (available at www.google.com/account). Once logged in, you'll find you have a menu with a range of menu options, with Google+ over in the top left, and usually in the far right menu, in the drop down area, Google Reader.
Like any new tool, you will need to use it to get the full benefits, so start to check Google Reader as part of your daily routine. I generally log into my gmail, check some emails, and then head straight over to Google Reader to digest my daily news from my most trusted sources.
How to subscribe to RSS Feeds from your most trusted sources
If you've ever noticed the little orange icon with the 'sound waves' coming off it on a blog or website and wondered what it is, that is the internationally recognised symbol for RSS feeds.
By clicking on it, you will be redirected to a page which asks you how you want to subscribe. In most cases you'll have the option to receive feeds via email (not recommended - who needs more emails into their inbox?!), or one of a handful of readers.
In that way, every time that website adds a new event, publishes a new article or blog post, you'll be the first to know!
What I subscribe to via RSS Feed
Personally, I'm interested in keeping up to date with topics such as social media, SEO, business events, training, government funding, business awards etc. so I've set up folders for each of the topics I am interested in keeping up with for business.
Underneath these, I add feeds to the best sources I find for this information. So under my 'business awards' header, I have added feeds from awardshub.com, Stevie Awards (incorporating four major international business awards programs), specific business awards programs.
You can also add Google Alerts to Google Reader, so if I want to keep tabs on when my name 'yvette adams', company 'the creative collective', key programs i.e. 'get up to speed program' or even staff i.e. 'zoe wyatt' are mentioned on Google so I don't miss a beat, I can pull it all into one convenient list.
Why having a dedicated RSS Feed page on your website is a good idea
If you are in the business of creating constant content (and let's face it, these days, many businesses are), it is a good idea to encourage people visiting your website to subscribe to your feeds.
Techcrunch.com, who are one of my many sources of great information about online trends and technology, have a great example of how this can be done at: http://techcrunch.com/rssfeeds/
With this in mind, we sat down as a company and thought about what aspects of our website we are regularly updating of which we could create RSS feeds for, and came up with blogs, events and press releases.
We've then used a great tool also owned by Google called Feedburner.com (also free) to create RSS feeds so we can encourage people who want to keep up with any or all of these aspects of updates from us, simply by subscribing to our RSS feed.
If you click on any of the links below, you will be offered options to digest the information. Once again, I encourage you to check out 'Google Reader' and you'll be well on your way to digesting more information, faster.
- The Creative Collective blog - http://feeds.feedburner.com/CreativeCollectiveIdeas
- The Creative Collective events - http://feeds.feedburner.com/CreativeCollectiveEvents
- The Creative Collective press releases - http://feeds.feedburner.com/CreativeCollectivePressReleases
By Yvette Adams, director of The Creative Collective.