Gini Dietrich

Get Organized: Streamlining News, Articles, and Blogs for Time Efficiency

By: Gini Dietrich | January 5, 2010 | 

Sometimes you have to hit me over the head with a 2 x 4 to get me to realize what I do every day A LOT of people would love to know. That’s what Robin Scott did when she direct messaged me about a comment I left on Julio Varela’s blog this afternoon (watch his vlog here – it’s about the importance of commenting on other’s blogs – and read the comments, too).

She said, “You read my mind. Saw your comment on organizing blogs. Just what I needed!”

Well, duh. I’ll bet other people would like to know, too, mostly because people say to me all the time, “How do you read so much in a given day?” I wish I could say that’s all I do every day. But it’s not. Following is how I find great material, stay energized with fresh ideas, and organize my feeds for time efficiency.

1. Subscribe to SmartBrief newsletters. They have about a zillion different topics and they send you one email a day with the best of the best. They use the headline and the first paragraph in the email. You can quickly scan the listing to see if there are any stories you want to click on and read more.

2. Set up Google alerts and Blogsearch (and/or Technorati) alerts on topics of interest to you. This is how you’ll find new bloggers, reporters, and columnists to read.

3. If you’re on Twitter, scan your stream daily to see if there are interesting headlines of stories you want to read.

4. After you find you keep going back to the same Web site, blog, news site, reporter, columnist, or blogger subscribe to their feeds. You can do this by clicking the “subscribe here” or “RSS feed” button.

I, personally, don’t like using an RSS reader (such as Google Reader). I subscribe to everything via email. I know, I know. You don’t want to fill up your inbox. Hang on and I’ll tell you how I manage that.

5. If you decide to use a reader, just create an account and then you can send all of the articles you like directly there. Be sure you open your reader daily, though. You can set it as your home page so when you open your Internet, it automatically comes up and you can scan to see if there is anything more you want to read.

6. If you decide to subscribe via email (like I do), create an offline folder in your email software called Blogs (or something equally creative). Then create subfolders for the titles of each of the blogs, Web sites, or news sites. Then create a rule so that, anytime new information is published, the email goes directly to the appropriate folder. You’ll have to get the email the first time in your inbox. Just create the rule at that time, click the “run this rule on emails in my inbox” button and it will automatically transfer everything to the folder.

7. Create an Instapaper account for those articles or blogs you want to read, but don’t have time right at the particular moment that you’ve opened it. When you have the story open, you can click the Instapaper icon you’ve added to your bookmark toolbar (it walks you through how to do this when you create your account) and it saves it for you. The handy thing is that, if you have an iPhone, you can access the stories via the app, too. Love it!

There are steps I take after these, if I want to share anything I’ve read with my networks. But that’s for another blog post.

I didn’t do all of this at once. It’s been a culmination of several months, trying to decide what works best for me.

What works for you?

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • How cool of a friend am I?

  • Gini Dietrich

    Go Cubs!

  • Gini great post, good advice for anyone in business. I know in the financial world I could easily spend every waking hour reading something.

    I also have to say Go Pack Go! Not to rub it in but my team is still playing!

  • Great organization tips. Robin also contacted me and we now have a conference session around blog organization. Thank you!

    PS Julio is a cool friend!

  • Glad I was so inspirational 🙂 Thanks again for some great information!

  • Finally! Some good advice on managing what can easily become overwhelming. Thanks!

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  • Nancy Cawley Jean

    Gini — THANK YOU! Since my resolution was to be more organized, any tips are greatly appreciated. Personally, I think the “G” in your name stands for “genius!”

  • Michele Sfakianos

    Great post! Thanks!

  • This is great advice. I would die without Google Reader. Because I’m a freak, I have the blogs I read divert into different folders. Business, design, cooking, etc.

    Because one of my main goals in starting a blog was to find people to share my crazy obsessive love of interior design, I also bookmark any post that I comment on. That way, I can go back and see if there were any follow up comments. I am very invested in being part of that blog community, so this is a very important step. I also find that you build relationships through a pattern of consistent thoughtful comments. I don’t waste my time commenting “I love this” (I will make an exception once the relationship is there), because those are toss-aways. Those comments are fine and have their purpose, but they’re not very effective in building relationships and generating traffic.

  • Well, for one what else is there to suggest (very informative) and two I do 90% of those already, so I must be doing OK. 🙂

  • First, now that Ron Turner has been fired and I’m expecting a call any second from Lovie Smith to be offered the OC job, GO BEARS!

    Nancy, you are BY FAR the coolest of my friends!

    Brigitte, great add-on. I actually subscribe to the comments so I can see them, but I like your idea, as well. Probably a bit less overwhelming.

    Josh – what’s the 10% you don’t do??

  • Thanks for this great information, but I counted and there are NOT a zillion topics in SmartBrief. A plethora, boatload or wicked lot maybe, but not a zillion. Please do better.


  • Morgan

    Thanks Gini, this is great!