I don’t know about you, but there are finds in life that give you a secret thrill – a hidden bookshop, the perfect cup of coffee, an open seat on the train.
Discovering new and unique content can give you a similar feeling – cue the victory dance.
Our main aim at FlowReader is to help you manage all the cool stuff you find on the web, but we also care about the sources that become your must-reads and must-shares. So today, I’ve put together a short list of unexpected places you can find great content online.
Outside-the-box places you can look for content
Great content is like your favorite snack food (I’m partial to Flamin’ Hot Cheetos). It’s addictive, hard to resist, and sometimes, impossible to stop eating…er…reading.
Here’s some off the beaten path suggestions of places you can find great content:
1) Google Alerts
Set up Google Alerts for topics that you’re interested in and receive suggestions straight to your inbox for news articles to read on a particular topic. You can also opt for receiving these alerts as an RSS feed.
I’ve created a category in my FlowReader just for Google Alerts. This way, I receive weekly alerts in my inbox for work-related subjects and the rest I can check in my RSS reader.
2) Email newsletters
It actually took me awhile to jump onto the newsletter train, although a lot of the Flow Team swears by them. When I first starting working at FlowReader, I wasn’t really prepared for the influx of emails that I had to get through every day. A newsletter just felt like one more thing to add to the list.
But I stand corrected.
Newsletters are an easy way to discover great content because they’re filled with links that were handpicked and carefully curated. So why shouldn’t we consider our inbox as an awesome resource for content discovery? Someone spent a lot of time finding that content for you and the quality of the content speaks for itself.
A few of my favorites:
- The Daily Digg – This newsletter from Digg.com has a talent for bringing top stories to your inbox from different sources around the web. There’s always a story or two that I end up having to read immediately.
- Next Draft – Dave Pell’s daily newsletter is a Top Ten compilation of the day’s most fascinating news from around the web with a mix of news and quirky links. You can get it as an email newsletter or you can download the app.
- Brain Pickings – Discovery engine Brain Pickings is full of all sorts of weird “interestingness”. The newsletter comes out on Sundays and offers a diverse mix of the best articles from the week.
3) Discovery Apps & Engines
Discovery apps and discovery engines find and recommend web content to their users. As far as curation goes, this is an easy way to cut out the legwork if you’re not up for a big search to find something new.
My personal favorites:
- Zite – It’s a mobile app that lets you follow topics and presents content in a similar style to Flipboard. You can also vote articles up or down, and the app will learn what relevant content to show you based on your own tastes.
- StumbleUpon – One of the coolest places to find new stuff is StumbleUpon. Similar to Zite, it’s tailored to your interests and you can vote content up or down. This is my favorite place to go if I’m looking for something new, but not sure what I’m in the mood for. (But beware of it’s ability to suck you in!)
Reddit can seem like a monstrous place to discover content, but the secret is to use subreddits. This focuses the content by topic and gives you a more comfortable way to explore the endless wealth of links and content sources.
The full list of subreddits covers just about every topic under the sun, so I would start with one or two that cover areas of interest for you.
While this is technically a Q&A site, Quora answers contain a lot of useful blogs, articles, and links to other content. I find that it’s a great place to browse for interesting things to read and share. It’s also an awesome site to brainstorm and flesh out ideas for your own content.
BuzzSumo is a discovery tool that collects content and share stats in a simple, easy-to-use dashboard. When you enter a keyword or phrase, you’ll see how each piece of content has performed on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Another useful feature is the ability to search for content based on type (e.g. videos, interviews, infographics, etc.).
7) Blog Comments
Some of the best stuff I’ve ever read was stuff I found in the comments of blog posts. There’s always someone out there who’s found something you haven’t. When you come across a particularly interesting article, be sure to scroll down and check the comments. Chances are someone has shared a related article or website that will interest you. I’ve found a lot of feeds this way.
Of course, you can’t forget about social media…
Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ are content discovery engines in their own right.
Following your favorite bloggers or news sites on Twitter will help fill your timeline with interesting content, but sometimes things can get a little messy. I suggest using Twitter lists as another alternative to make all those tweets more manageable. Lists allow you to organize users by topic and view them at your leisure instead of trying to visit your favorites individually.
PostPlanner has an awesome roundup of 101 Best Twitter Lists to Follow to get you started if you don’t feel like making your own.
Another underrated place to find great content is what’s trending on Google+ in its Hot and Recommended section. To find this feature, click on Explore in your navigation bar and choose “What’s hot” from the list of tags.
A couple extra tips to help you out
1) Use Unroll.me to manage all the subscriptions in your inbox
Unroll.me rolls all your subscriptions into a daily digest. Instead of overloading your inbox, you’ll receive a single email that shows you all the subscription emails you received for the day, and from there, you can click on individual links if you want to read the whole email. I like to get my Daily Rollup in the afternoon so I don’t get distracted if I’m working on something important.
2) Pocket is a great way to save content you find around the web
Pocket is my go-to app to save content. There’s a lot of useful bookmark and read later apps out there, but Pocket is my favorite because it’s easy to use and has a lot of third party app support. Plus, it also has browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. I like to go through all the articles I’ve saved for the day in the evening, share the ones I like, and add any good sources I come across to my reader. I also suggest following @PocketHits to get content suggestions straight from your Twitter timeline.
3) FlowReader lets you bookmark your favorite articles and social media posts
FlowReader’s Save for later feature is another great way to bookmark content from both your reader and your social networks. Personally, I really like to use this as a way to keep track of tweets and posts that contained interesting content. When you like or favorite an update from Twitter or Facebook, you can easily find it later in your Saved for later section. You can also share articles from your RSS reader to various apps like Pocket, Instapaper, and Evernote.