Do you know what an RSS feed is and what you can do with it?
An RSS feed enables you to subscribe to get web site changes, usually blog posts, sent to you automatically when they are updated rather than having to revisit sites to check for new content.
The easiest way to do this is to use a tool called ‘Feedly’, which shows you the blog posts that you want in a really nice, easy to read interface. And once you set it up, it just keeps gathering the posts automatically.
It’s much easier to keep ‘in the know’ with an automated process in place than trying to remember whose blog you like to read and how often they usually post so that you can check back regularly enough to get fresh information. That’s not really a very practical option and, let’s face it, if you have to rely on you remembering which blogs to visit it’s not likely to happen is it?!
So if you’re not using RSS feeds to ensure that you keep up to speed with information and changes in your industry, to find content to share with your audience, as well as what your competitors are up to, online you are missing an opportunity.
How to use RSS Feeds with Feedly
Feedly is a platform that allows you to collate all the fresh content from the sites that you are wanting to keep up with, automatically, in one place with the content organised by category. The mobile apps are very good too and everything syncs across all platforms. I find them a better interface than on the computer so I tend to use Feedly mostly on my iPhone.
Once a week I go through Feedly and save all the articles that look interesting to my Pocket account so I can read them at my leisure (and sometimes offline, on the train). The rest ‘disappear’ as I confirm that they are ‘read’, once I’ve reviewed them, so only new posts show up for the following week.
You can sometimes find a website’s RSS feed showing on their site somewhere (look for the orange dot and swoosh icon – not sure that’s the technical term for it!). Not all websites show their RSS feed link though, which is frustrating.
Sometimes you can just guess it using the format of the url/feed or if you are using Feedly, just search for the full url in the ‘Add Content’ section and it should find it for you.
How to Use your Own RSS Feed with Hootsuite
You can also use the RSS feed from your own website to automatically feed your new blog posts to your social media profiles via tools like Hootsuite or using automation tools like IFTTT or Zapier to feed your posts directly to your social media profiles if you don’t use Hootsuite.
Once you’ve found your RSS feed, go to ‘Settings’ and then ‘RSS/Atom’ and then select the + to add a new feed.
Then complete the resulting form. Here is an example using the RSS feed for this website and my Twitter account.
Then click ‘save feed’ and you should see the saved feed in your RSS list, and it should start working next time you post a blog to your website.
How to Use your RSS Feed with IFTTT
There are a few blogs where I want to read pretty much all the posts that are published, so instead of adding their RSS feed to Feedly to allow me to decide which posts I want to add to my Pocket account for reading, I use IFTTT to just automatically save all their Posts to Pocket.
IFTTT is a site that allows you to create ‘recipes’ where you say ‘If This (where ‘this’ is the first action)…Then That (where ‘that’ is the second action, which is dependent on the first!).
So, to use this to automatically save blog posts to your Pocket account you need the RSS feed for your chosen blog and an account with IFTTT, which is free.
Once you’ve logged in, click on the big blue ‘Create a Recipe’ button. You then get asked to specify what the first action is, by clicking on the blue ‘this’
Type in ‘RSS’ and then select the RSS icon that is shown.
Select the ‘New feed item’ option and then on the next screen type in the feed (e.g. http://www.powertolivemore.com/feed) and select ‘Create Trigger’.
Then on the next screen click on the ‘that’, which is where you’ll set up the save to Pocket action. As before type Pocket into the search box and then click on the Pocket icon when it appears. You will just have one option on the next page, which is ‘save for later’. Select that and if you haven’t already connected your Pocket account it will ask you to do so.
Then just select ‘Create Action’ and it will then ask you to ‘Create the Recipe’ and it will be all set up and good to go!
Hopefully you’ve found this a useful post to help you to get organised with your online reading and posting from your blog.
Let me know if you’ve got any questions and maybe post your RSS url in the comments so I can add it to my Feedly account!