We all understand the importance of sharing content. But where do you find a constant stream of read-worthy content?
It’s a fair question.
I follow hundreds of blogs and social media accounts daily, and honestly, keeping up with all that content is hard work. I have to manage my time and keep my content sources organized to avoid getting overloaded.
Although an RSS reader is an incredibly useful tool to help me accomplish both of these goals, one of the only drawbacks for me has been that the content from my feeds can start to feel stale after awhile if I’m not careful. This is why I’m always on the look out for new sources of awesome content!
In this post, I’ve put together 3 useful RSS hacks in addition to the Suggestions option in FlowReader that have helped me discover new content without ever having to leave my reader.
Set Up Google Alerts as an RSS Feed
I’ve touched on the idea of using Google Alerts before for finding great content, but I’d like to explain more about some of the ways you can use them as a free content source straight to your reader.
Google Alerts are great for monitoring mentions of your business and your competitors, but it’s also a wonderful way to have content about different developments across a lot of different industries sent to your reader.
Here’s how to do it:
- Prepare the keywords you’d like to use for your content search.
- Go to Google Alerts and enter your search terms in the Create an alert about box.
- Click Show options to customize how often you receive alerts, the sources you want to search, and the way you’d like to receive your alerts.
- In your Deliver to options, select RSS feed.
- Click Create Alert.
Here’s what one of my alerts looks like:
Tip: You can add quotation marks to your “keyword” to return results that include a specific word or phrase.
Now, all you’ll need to do is click the RSS icon next to your alert, and add the feed! I’ve created a separate category just for my Google Alerts, so it’s easy for me to focus on this content.
You might also find it helpful to sign up for services like BuzzSumo and Mention, which allow you to find popular content by topic or keyword and offer RSS feeds for searches. However, Mention limits you to a single alert and BuzzSumo restricts your access to a lot of its found content (and their feeds) without a paid subscription.
Research OPML Files and Feed Collections
As you know, you can import and export your feed subscriptions as an OPML file in FlowReader. But have you thought about looking up other people’s OPML files?
Curated OPML files are a useful way to discover new content without having to put in all the legwork yourself. You can research other people’s reading lists and immediately have access to a whole new list of subscriptions.
Here’s a few ideas for places you can look for OPML files and new feeds:
Last year, Wired’s staff put together an in-depth list of all their favorite reporters, writers, and thinkers on the internet. Their sources are broken down into six categories:
You can download the OPML file from each of the category pages.
Tip: One of the biggest complaints with Wired’s list is that it didn’t include enough female reporters and writers. This list from HuffPost includes some amazing and influential women who specialize in each of the featured topics.
A large collection of OPML files categorized by topic and keyword are available on Alltop.com. To find the OPML file for each topic, simply add “opml” to any Alltop URL. If you want to learn more about adding content to your RSS reader, check out this blog post by Alltop founder, Guy Kawasaki.
Medium RSS Feeds for Authors and Collections
I love the stories on Medium! There’s an amazing range of topics and authors providing awesome content every day. If you have a collection or author you like to follow, you can create an RSS feed to add to your reader. Unfortunately, there are no feeds for Staff Picks or Top Stories.
Here’s how to do it:
- Collections – Add /feed/ to the collection URL between medium.com and the name of the collection: medium.com/feed/philosophy-logic.
- Authors – Add /feed/ to their profile URL: medium.com/feed/@ev
Clean Up Your Twitter Timeline
My final piece of advice works best if you’re using FlowReader as your main reader, since it’s more of a Twitter tip than a specific hack that works in every reader. Since it’s possible to connect your Twitter account in FlowReader, I can browse my own timeline without leaving my reader.
Many of you probably use Twitter as a way to curated content, hand-picked by people that you trust. Twitter’s very useful for finding interesting content, but you can miss out on the good stuff if your timeline gets overloaded.
Here are a few things that have helped me reduce some of the noise:
- Don’t automate. Manually follow users back for better control of who shows up in your timeline.
- Turn of RTs for individual accounts.
- Use lists for accounts that don’t necessarily need to be in your timeline.
If you’re looking for more ideas, you might also find this post helpful.
Final Thoughts: Get Rid of RSS Subscriptions You Don’t Need!
This is one of my own RSS truths: The higher the unread count, the less content you find.
To avoid overloading my reader, I try to clean house regularly by checking for inactive feeds, feeds that publish duplicate content, and even feeds that update too often!
Content sources are constantly changing, so while you should be on the look out for new sources – don’t forget to keep your feeds organized.