One of the best ways to stay on top of what’s shaking in your industry and “sharpen the saw” each week is to read content-rich blogs! Just as reading books helps make us better writers, reading blogs helps make us better thinkers and bigger networkers!
Yet, I still hear over and over again, “Yea…I’ve been meaning to read more.” Or, “I just don’t have time.”
Well, to continue being a Thought Leader in your space, you need to make time. Period. Don’t panic. There are ways to make that time efficient and ensure you’re tracking the news that matters most to you.
1. Don’t Be a Hero.
There are tools that make tracking your selected blogs and news sites easy. Don’t even think about bookmarking every blog or keeping a manual list just to avoid learning a new tool. Within three days of DIY tracking you’ll be completely overwhelmed. Use tools designed to keep track of new articles, what you’ve read, and what you like!
Most credible blogs and news sites use RSS feeds to distribute content. RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication.” Ironically, most people are intimidated by RSS. Don’t be. RSS saves you from the task of having to hop out to each site to see what’s new. Subscribing to a blog’s RSS feed brings the news to YOU! If you want to learn more about RSS, check out the best video ever made on how RSS works.
2. Use an RSS Feed Reader (a.k.a. “news reader”)
There are dozens of readers out there. The one I use and train clients on is Google Reader. As with everything Google-y, it’s easy to use, easy to learn and accessible from anywhere. If you already have a Google account, your reader is ready to go. Just start adding some feeds to follow!
3. Add Feeds to Your Reader
First, look for the RSS symbol on any blog or news feed. From there, choose “Google Reader” as your preferred reader and you’re good to go! Shameless plug time: why not add THIS blog as the first feed you’ll follow!? Go ahead. Click on that RSS Symbol. We promise to continue delivering awesome content! 🙂
4. Subscribe by Email (if you dare)
Email is often another option, if you’re not quite ready for a reader. Be careful about subscribing to too many blogs by email, though. Receiving regular emails from every single blog you follow will become unmanageable. Only use this option for your absolute-MUST-read-every-day-blogs.
Remember, email is for a specific task. Your reader is for another. Mix the two and you’re bound to be unproductive in both areas!
5. Exercise Discipline (Dammit!)
Listen closely. Once you get a hand full of favorite news sites and blogs into your reader, you will get sucked into the vortex of amazing content. As a Thought Leader, you’re especially vulnerable. You’ll soak up information. Be enlightened and delighted. Then, you’ll look up and realize that the sun has risen and set. Twice.
Set aside dedicated time each week to reading. Don’t open every single article—click only on the headlines that intrigue you. Aaaahhh… finally, you’ll find some sanity and FOCUS in your web browsing and reading.
Next week, we’ll cover how to actually FIND the blogs you want to follow. It seems like it should be easier, right? There are 141 million blogs out there you could follow. Many are “hobbybloggers” versus serious bloggers. We’ll help you get focused and narrow them down!
So, now that you’ve got your reader set up, what will YOU be subscribing to?