Here is a great way in which RSS will save you time. A lot of time.
Or, from another point of view, you can use RSS to enable you to complete tasks which you otherwise just wouldn’t have the time to do.
So you get more done. Bingo!
So how do we save time with RSS? First…
What is RSS?
Every time there’s a new post on a particular blog, or a new comment, this generally shows up in the blog’s RSS – usually translated as Really Simple Syndication – feed. A “feed reader” will immediately detect this addition and display a couple of lines or more of the new content.
If you have your feed reader set up efficiently and if you remember to look at it regularly, this enables you to keep informed about what’s happening on blogs in your niche.
(However, note the two “ifs” there…)
For example, you might want to keep up-to-date with new articles on the top half dozen authority sites in your niche. This can help you choose a topic for an article on your own blog.
To help you do this efficiently you can set up a single group in your reader, which tracks all the new posts on those half-dozen blogs.
Then when you want to write an article, you can have a look in your reader at that group and get a quick summary of all the new articles on the blogs you are following.
Which Feed Reader?
Which feed reader to use used to be a no-brainer – it was Google Reader. Then they withdrew it – it wasn’t worth their time to maintain it.
Oh well, that’s Google!
My current favourite is Feedly for the iPad. But experiment with a few different ones and see what you like.
But this isn’t the topic of this post – because of those two “ifs” above: it takes an effort to remember to open your reader. And it’s easy to forget for a week or two.
This article is more about how to make use of RSS without having to look at a reader.
How can you get an RSS feed to nudge its way into your consciousness when something important happens??
Clever Use Of RSS
Unlike the above example, it may be that time is of the essence in your desire to use RSS. Maybe you can get a marketing advantage if you know the instant a particular RSS feed changes.
Here’s how I use it.
Let’s say there is an authority blog which gets a lot of traffic. If you are informed the minute a new post goes up, then you’ve got a good chance of being one of the first to comment on that post. As long as that comment system allows a link back to your own blog (if it doesn’t, don’t use that blog for this method) you are going to get some targeted traffic if you are in the first three or four comments.
Just think – some posts on popular blogs can get 50, or 100 comments. If you manage to get the first or the second comment you are going to get hundreds of people seeing your comment. And some will click your link.
Of course, it helps if your comment is informed, perceptive, intelligent, etc, etc. LOL.
So how can we set things up so we know the instant there is a new article on one of these sites? Then we can rush off there and try to be the first to comment.
Use of IFTTT and Yahoo Pipes
This is where we get clever with a couple of free utilities – Yahoo! Pipes, and If This Then That (IFTT).
Yahoo! Pipes allows us to combine and filter multiple RSS feeds. So we can combine all the feeds from numerous blogs we want to keep an eye on into one feed.
We can further filter each incoming feed by keyword (“Pipes” allows this). This lets us create a really targeted feed – so that we only get informed when the item in the feed is truly relevant.
IFTTT allows us to create a “recipe” where an action we specify triggers a second action. One of the trigger actions we can specify is “if an RSS feed is triggered…”.
Putting Them Together
So this is the plan.
- Create a new feed inside Yahoo! Pipes, comprising the individual feeds of the blogs you want to track. Filter it by relevant keywords if appropriate. (So, if a blogger blogs about both time management and personal growth, you could set a filter to only include posts containing the words “time management” or “productivity”.) Grab the feed URL.
- Go to http://ifttt.com and create an account.
- Pick the IFTTT recipe you want to use. For this, I would use either: “IF RSS is triggered THEN send me an email”, or “IF RSS is triggered THEN create a new note in a specific Evernote Notebook”. You might find another recipe that you prefer.
Now, whenever a new post appears on one of the blogs I am tracking, I will either get an email or a new note will be created in Evernote.
In either case, this will usually get my attention within 1 to 2 hours. This is usually enough time to get one of the first comments on any blog post.
This video shows you how to set up the whole process, which can save you time and help you get exposure – and traffic. I don’t cover the “…create a new note in Evernote” recipe in the video to keep it short, but I think you’ll see you just choose that option when you create your recipe. You’ll need to give IFTTT permission to access your Evernote account during the process.
Make Better Use of Your Time
So I hope you will see from the video how RSS will save you time. Thinking outside the box you will no doubt think of other ways you can use Yahoo! Pipes, RSS and IFTTT to make your day much more efficient. These are three great tools which combine brilliantly in the method I describe here. Have you got any more great ways to use any of these? Let me know in the comments.