I can imagine your thinking….
RSS feeds are so 1999!
RSS feeds are dead!
Why would I need a feed when I have Google, Twitter, and Facebook?
You’re a busy writer; I get it.
And if your writing isn’t enough, you have other considerations:
- making a living,
- raising a family,
- meeting your deadlines,
- book cover design,
- social media,
- walking the dog….
The list goes on.
All you want is a few more hours in the day and the energy to take advantage of them.
And you’re overloaded with information now, so what could you possibly gain from a feed?
A feed can offer you the best information available along with the means to control it.
Control is key…
Think about it.
- How much control do you have over Google’s algorithm?
- What about Facebook’s algorithm?
- When was the last time Twitter asked you for advice about their algorithm?
In a nutshell, other people control the information you see. Corporations, media giants, and social media companies decide what ends up in your stream.
You pick from the options they serve, thinking you’re exercising control.
So what if you could control the information served, what ends up on your digital plate each day?
RSS feeds give you control, and they’ll give you all the information you need in a single space. You decide what’s important, and that’s what you get–every time.
And let’s not forget:
To succeed at writing, you’re gonna need the best and brightest information possible–not necessarily more information, but better information.
An RSS feed can provide you with that.
Let’s start with a definition.
RSS Feeds Defined
Depending on a website’s settings, RSS feeds allow you to access brief snippets as well as entire blog posts, articles, and news updates from sources across the internet.
RSS, in case you’re unfamiliar, stands for really simple syndication. RSS feeds provide multiple benefits. Before we discuss them, however, it’s important to realize the dual nature of their power.
Feeds serve two important and distinct roles–one for the consumer, and another for the writer/publisher/content marketer.
Most people approach RSS feeds as consumers; they simply want to access content. As a writer, you’ll find them indispensable for research, for learning, for sharing.
On the publishing side, you can use feeds to market yourself and your work. For example, syndicating your latest blog post can help you grow and reach a wider audience.
First, let’s discuss the benefits for writers as consumers.
RSS Feeds Help Writers Access the Best and Latest Content on the Web–Instantly!
When you subscribe to a feed, you’ll always know when your favorite websites publish new content. Manually entering web urls and visiting sites takes time and energy. The process can become overwhelming, causing information overload. Bumbling around without a plan, you quickly become distracted and fatigued, wondering what you were looking for in the first place.
With a feed, you can subscribe to all your favorite websites, checking for updates in a single session. To keep things simple and organized, scan the titles under one target category.
Time is money, right?
In a few seconds, you can scroll through the list to find the latest and greatest articles from the web. Imagine having 24/7 access to a pre-screened queue of quality content built around carefully chosen themes. The best part? You can choose as many themes as you want.
I like to follow news channels, marketing websites, and writer-centric websites. These feeds keep me informed about the latest world news, the latest marketing trends, the latest releases from my favorite authors.
As writers and content creators, these feeds offer more than just convenience. They put you in the center of the action, providing a real-time view of developing stories and ideas.
RSS Feeds Allow Writers to Keep Tabs on Important Industry News
Want to know what’s happening in the publishing world?
How about a list of websites offering the best free advice for writing, networking, and marketing?
A well-developed feed can make you the expert. You’ll be the first to know what’s going on in your industry.
Think about it…
Every time Google changes its algorithm, the top SEO sites scramble to make sense of the chaos, offering advice, comfort, and warnings about the best ways to proceed.
You’ll know the start and end dates of all the important writing contests in your genre.
When employers are looking for freelance writers or offering lucrative ghost writing opportunities, you’ll be in the loop.
RSS Feeds Allow Authors to Keep an Eye on Their Friends and Competitors
Writing success requires forging and maintaining quality relationships. Keep tabs on your allies to discover new opportunities. Find out what your colleagues are doing, and create ways to support them.Writing success requires forging and maintaining quality relationships. Keep tabs on your allies to discover new opportunities. Find out what your colleagues are doing, and create ways to support them. Click To Tweet
Offer your comments on their new posts; join the conversation. Show them you care, that you’re paying attention.
While friends are important, don’t ignore your competitors. You can learn from them, too. Monitor their wins and losses; reverse-engineer their most successful campaigns.
Feeds Can Help Writers Identify Trends and Controversies as They’re Happening
Ever wake up to discover everyone talking about the same thing?
Time to check your industry feed!
A few minutes of targeted reading will put you back in the game, armed and ready to respond appropriately. Consider these examples:
- When Amazon or Kindle makes radical changes to their search algorithm or their commission rates for indie authors, you’ll have the information you need to adjust your course, to make informed decisions.
- When the internet’s buzzing about the latest social media platform, you can jump in early to gain the highest return on your investment.
- When one of your favorite tools or apps goes out of business, you can find a replacement quickly, with the least amount of disruption. A comprehensive article from your carefully selected queue will tell you where to go next.
RSS Feeds Help Writers Conduct Industry Research
With a reliable feed, you can conduct fast, up-to-date research. This works especially well with trending news.
If you’re writing an article in response to a recent national event, consult the “national news outlets” category in your feed. Scan the headlines for expert commentary on the subject.
In a similar vein, you can tap your favorite thought leaders on a topic, pulling quotes from their interviews and articles.
If you’re covering politically-charged news events, make sure to include a feed category for opposing viewpoints. The contrasting ideas will add depth and context to your report.
As you can see, feeds offer multiple benefits to the average consumer. Apply a little imagination, and you’ll find countless new ways to support your particular needs. Feeds can play an integral part in your daily activities.
Now, let’s turn our attention to the benefits of RSS feeds for writing, publishing, and marketing.
Feeds Offer Diverse Social Media Advantages for Content Creators
No one can deny the power and potential of social media marketing. You can build your brand and grow an audience from scratch, reaching users from around the world–users you’d never access otherwise.
The best part?
You don’t have to spend a penny.
FREE is fantastic!
Now, imagine not having to write your own content for social media…
Thanks to feeds, you can become a thought leader, sharing up-to-the-minute articles from experts in your industry. Share your favorite blogger’s new post. Add your commentary, and start a conversation.
Feeds will free up valuable time you could spend on writing and publishing, time you could spend marketing in other more time-consuming venues. And remember–sharing other people’s content positions you as a giver, someone who’s actively helping others.
Your audience receives helpful, targeted content, the website owner receives traffic, and you receive positive exposure, attracting a greater number of followers.
RSS Feeds Offer Many Content and Writing Advantages for Writers
Experiencing writer’s block?
World famous writers offer the same advice: you have to read a lot to write well.
Reading offers many advantages, but you’ll need to look beyond the obvious.
For example, if you’re running low on inspiration, pull up your feed for ideas. If you want to write a blog post, read 50 titles to find an idea that intrigues you.
If you’re writing fiction, and you’re running out of ideas, check your feed for the latest world news. Remember, truth is stranger than fiction.
Right now, my feed contains countless stories about politics, high-profile court cases, health scares, relationship problems, and more. My feed shows human nature at its best and its worse. You’ll find no shortage of real-life stories to inspire your next writing project.
Writing Advice & Education:
Consult your feed once a day to polish your writing skills. Learn more about grammar and punctuation, style, audience, pacing, and plotting.
We’ve been writing for centuries, so everything you want to know is available. Someone out there overcame the same obstacles you’re facing. Embrace their experience and wisdom.We’ve been writing for centuries, so everything you want to know is available. Someone out there overcame the same obstacles you’re facing. Embrace their experience and wisdom. Click To Tweet
You can get a college education online (literally and figuratively).
Add your favorite writing advice sites to your feed, and learn something new each day.
Feeds Offer Distinct Marketing Advantages to Writers
To better understand the marketing advantages of feeds, let’s return to the definition of RSS. “Really Simple Syndication” allows any content–including your content– to be easily syndicated.
It really is that easy.
RSS feeds make it super easy to distribute your content, putting it in front of a larger audience. In other words, when your content is syndicated through an RSS feed, it will be picked up and redistributed through other websites and blogs. Users of various feed readers will see your content as well, offering you a massive potential audience.
The Most Popular Feed Reader Options
While you can find feed readers everywhere, we chose five popular apps that also offer free membership options.
The 5 Best RSS Reader Apps:
First released in 2008, Feedly is a news aggregator application. Available as a cloud-based service, it can be used on various web browsers and mobile devices, whether you’re running iOS or Android. Feedly compiles news feeds from a variety of online sources, which lets users customize and share them with others.
Looking for a way to get your own custom-tailored news?
Feeder’s custom RSS integrations connect to almost any content source on the web, including websites, blogs, news outlets, and more. Just choose your favorite sources from the web, and let Feeder’s automation and filtering tools do the rest.
Good News Network
The Good News Network spreads positive news to millions of people. Online since 1997, GNN inspires, entertains, and informs with a massive archive of uplifting news stories. Whether you’re overwhelmed by negative news or just needing a little positivity to jumpstart your day, GNN provides “a daily dose of hope for millions of fans.” For a much needed lift, consider adding GNN to your list of feeds.
With free and paid options, Inoreader makes it easy to find and access up-to-date information on all your favorite topics. With Inoreader, you can turn each of your favorite media items into a unified feed, so you can access all the content you need in one place–whether it’s from a website, your favorite blog, or a social media site.
NewsBlur is a simple, organized way to read the news–whether you’re using a standard web browser, an Android, or an Iphone. After training NewsBlur with your unique preferences, you can take control of the news, information, and stories that matter most.
I encourage you to check out these sites, to find out how RSS feeds can simplify your life.
I hope you’re beginning to understand the massive potential of RSS feeds for writers and content marketers.
How are you using feeds to improve your daily workflow?
Join the conversation below.