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”)

find blogs

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. finding blogsFrom 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!

Your Turn

So, now that you’ve got your reader set up, what will YOU be subscribing to?

Deana Goldasich

Deana Goldasich, CEO and founder of Well Planned Web, plans and implements Content Marketing to help clients nurture leads, market their expertise and create an impactful presence online.

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  1. ketelsen on July 8, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    RT @goldasich: Still tracking your favorite blogs manually? Stop it! 5 Steps to Organizing the Blogs You Follow –

  2. goldasich on July 8, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    Still tracking your favorite blogs manually? Stop it! 5 Steps to Organizing the Blogs You Follow –

  3. ronkarr on July 9, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    @goldasich LOL on #4 on your 5 simple steps to keep blogs organized…”If you dare” made me laugh, so true tho

  4. goldasich on July 9, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    5 Steps to Organizing the News & Blog Sites You Follow –

  5. goldasich on July 9, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    @ronkarr Yea… learned that one fast! 🙂

  6. TBOmom on July 9, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    RT @goldasich: 5 Steps to Organizing the News & Blog Sites You Follow –

  7. Jennifer Wilson on July 10, 2010 at 10:50 pm

    I've recently become CRAZY overwhelmed by all the brilliant information out there and as such have experienced the OMG moment of “It's already 4 a.m.!?!?”

    Currently, I'm in the process of unsubscribing from all the emails and putting everything under Google Reader. Those folders have totally saved my sleep (and sanity)!

    Thanks for the tips!

  8. ziplinelady on July 11, 2010 at 11:50 am

    @goldasich Great rec. Thanks. Just launched web-site on living, loving & parenting. Only six weeks in and having fun.

  9. Deana Goldasich on July 12, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    Yes, the information pool is growing bigger every day! So fantastic, but yikes! I'm so glad you're “feeling” the joy of Google Reader. Now the REAL trick is to make sure you're disciplined about using the reader regularly. Just as it interrupted your email–now you the run the risk of “outta sight, outta mind.” You'll find your groove. Just learn to make it a habit and certain times of the day/week–just like email! (and… of coruse…watch the clock 🙂 )

  10. Jennie Mustafa-Julock on July 13, 2010 at 12:37 am

    Great post! I recently updated and organized my account so that I can quickly scan the conversations of other Gen Y experts. But your #5 tip (Exercise Discipline Dammit!) is a good reminder to actually GO to netvibes to do a daily scan AND not to get sucked down the rabbit hole of reading blogs for hours on end! Looking forward to your post on how to find the “right” blogs to follow.

  11. Deana Goldasich on July 13, 2010 at 1:25 am

    Jennie, I LOVE your blog! And, now, I'll need to revisit Netvibes to check out what they've done with the place since I last looked. Do you use it as your check for news in your “genres?” Thanks for stopping by!

  12. Jennie Mustafa-Julock on July 13, 2010 at 2:23 am

    Thanks for checking out my blog! Glad you dig it! 🙂

    I do use it to check in on news in my different categories: GenY Blogs for Life, GenY Blogs for Career, GenY Blogs for Entrepreneurship, etc. I can see at a glance all the trending topics in my niche and then choose my (often contrarian) blog topics from there. For example, this month there are a bunch of people talking about mid-year resolutions check-ins; so I wrote about failure-proofing your goals making this mid-year check unnecessary. My one complaint about Netvibes is it has become slower and slower lately. Hope they get it together!

  13. SmallBizLady on August 10, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    @goldasich I was educating myself with that one LOL

  14. goldasich on August 10, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    @SmallBizLady Melinda, Thx for the RT of “5 Steps to Organizing the Blogs You Follow” -…

  15. salamicat on September 28, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    RT @goldasich: 5 Steps to Organizing the Blogs You Follow –… – #wpw

  16. goldasich on September 28, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    5 Steps to Organizing the Blogs You Follow –… – #wpw

  17. rdoconnor on September 28, 2010 at 11:57 pm

    RT @goldasich: 5 Steps to Organizing the Blogs You Follow –… – #wpw

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