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?