According to the Pew Study on Internet and the American Life, only about 11% of American internet users know how to use a feed reader. For me, a feed reader is one of my 3 most important tools. Today I look at a ‘rising star’ — Inoreader — and compare it to Feedly, the tool that has been my standard for the past two years. h/t Brian Clark. Here is my take on Feedly vs Inoreader from the early days of usage back in April:
Now, six months later I am still using Inoreader every day. I stopped subscribing to Feedly immediately after this post and I went on to blog about my experiences with Inoreader 18 times during in that six months — more than any other tool I use. You can read every post and see every screencast here.
As I have mastered new features, my workflow has changed. I don’t know how long I’ve been using Inoreader the ways I am today, but here is my current strategy and you are free to use this or make up a different one that works better for you:
I over-subscribe to opml feeds from Alltop, the ‘magazine rack’ of the internet
I use the rules feature to scrape the titles of content in these feeds knowing that anyone who writes intentionally would put the keywords I’m searching for in their title
I then flip through the 200 or so articles this process yields every morning and curate their content where applicable
Here’s what it looks like:
If having this kind of information is valuable to you for research or content marketing, etc., then Inoreader is the tool for you. I encourage you to do your homework, but include Inoreader in your short list of tools that you evaluate. Questions? Feedback? I love to talk about Inoreader and why content readers are so important!
During my morning reading, I came across an interesting post by Barry Feldman of Feldman Creative linking to a post by ContentMarketing.io:
The biggest problem people face when it comes to social media is they don’t know what direction to follow — there are many things to do. They need to connect with new people, share fresh content, share other people’s content, develop editorial calendars and even build relationships with influencers.
That’s exactly why I decided to reach out to 36 experts and ask them the following question:
If you could only do 3 social media marketing activities for the rest of your life, what 3 activities would you do?
I just wanted to know plain and simple which activities I must really do in order to get results.
I applaud this kind of thinking — my motto is ‘things must be made as simple as possible but no simpler’ — and I highly recommend the article. There are a lot of interesting ideas from some of the world’s top thinkers that I guarantee will stimulate some thinking on your part as it did on mine. Many of the answers are based on what I consider to be good, old-fashioned internet common sense and it’s interesting to see what pros shared which ones as their top priorities. What surprised me most, however, is that only one pro out of 36 even mentioned what I consider to be the single most important activity of all – search engine optimization [seo]. Either these experts consider seo so fundamental that it’s not worth a mention or they are expressing a bias common on the internet – namely, “if you build it they will come” – what I call the ‘Field of Dreams mentality’. As Google continues to hone its search algorithm, however, ‘speaking seo’ should be a primary skillset for anyone who hopes to get found by a potential customer on the internet and we can’t ignore it any longer.
My 3 most important digital marketing activities
I have been engaged in blogging and social media since the early days. I have created multiple blogs on a wide variety of topics. 10 years ago it was easy to get tons of traffic simply by quoting and curating other people’s content. These days, however, Google is on a mission to find and ferret out the best original content on the internet and serve it up to their search customers. If you want to show up as one of the lucky few on the first page of search, you must understand what Google is looking for and communicate in a way that they expect. Getting found starts with search engine optimization…
Search engine optimization
What does this really mean? To me seo means understanding the culture and language of Google and communicating in a way that the Googlebots understand using tools and tactics that Google provides and recommends. Take this for example; one of my favorite pubs in the world is the Josef Früh Brewery in Cologne. If you followed the link, though, you’ll see the website is in German. If you go to the pub, you’ll find the menu is in German too. I speak German so this is not an issue for me. If you want to get what you want from Josef Früh Brewery it’s a good idea to understand the culture and language used there. It’s the same on the internet — if you want to get found, you have to understand the culture and language of Google!
Good seo starts with using a platform that is known for seo like self-hosted WordPress and it continues with being mindful of technical seo, on-page seo and off-page seo as you go about publishing content. Do it right from the start. If you don’t understand what that means, ask for help!
Content marketing including blogging and other content production
Once you have a platform that meets Google’s standards, start producing evergreen content that attracts people to your site and retains their attention. There are many media at your disposal, but the most effective one is still the written word. Video may be more compelling but Google is not able to ‘understand’ video so if you choose that route, you still have to provide a written transcript if you hope to get found based on your content.
The classic question in content marketing is do you write for your reader or for Google and the classic answer is YES. Writing content that appeals to both Google and your readers is easy if you use a WordPress plugin called Yoast SEO. I talk you through it in the following screencast.
Finding and sharing great information
Finally, the last of my 3 most important activities is finding and sharing great information and using that information to engage with others on the internet. To do this, I use social networking tools like Facebook Pages, Google+ and Twitter to track the sites, searches, sources and someday maybe information I need to continue to maintain expert status in my world. My secret weapon if you will is a tool called Inoreader that does all this for me in one application that is available on desktop and mobile devices giving me everything in one application.
Read what the experts say and consider my perspective. If you agree that this approach makes sense, start by taking my Free SEO Audit to determine the ‘google health’ of your website. Whether you’re interested in further advice from me on how to write for Google search or not, knowing your site is error-free and clearly understood by Google is the first step in any search campaign.
SEO is dead? Hardly! Unless you’re just posting pictures of kittens and bacon, SOME thought should be given as to how your amazing thoughts will get found. Just having a pretty website is not enough. All the word of mouth in the world is just not as effective as showing up in search. As someone who monitors this space every day, it seems there are two emerging schools of thought:
Forget about SEO
Think about nothing but SEO
A few weeks ago, I posted about finding a middle way between these two positions; I called it the ‘Goldilocks’ approach and since then I have been thinking about little else besides what are the basics that every solopreneur and small business person should cover if their objective is to get found in relevant search. At that time, I developed these 7 steps as the bases that should be covered:
How much SEO is enough?
For those who are wondering what the next steps are, I offer the following thoughts curated from my morning reading today:
Embrace SEO if you want to get found
Understand on page optimization
Understand off page optimization
Understand how to write for Google AND your audience at the same time
Understand what role social media plays in helping you get found
If you want to dig deeper, here’s a suggested reading list:
How much SEO is enough? Read these six posts and you’ll have a pretty complete picture.
If this seems to be too much effort you always have the option of hiring someone to do it for you but the objective here is really for solopreneurs and small businesses to see what is actually required and be able to make an informed decision about how much they can or should do to do on their own. For example, one decision might be to embrace the 4th bullet point “Understand how to write for Google AND your audience at the same time” while engaging an SEO-savvy web designer to set up much of the rest. By the way, each one of these articles found me this morning via Inoreader, the power tool for content marketers. I describe the process I use here.
A few weeks ago, I wrote post called Goldilocks and the three approaches to SEO [you might want to follow that link if you missed it] that stimulated a lot of thinking. Again, this morning another post about outsourcing SEO made me think about the topic again and I have decided there’s a need for some training that cuts through all the smoke and mirrors about SEO, especially for people who don’t have a lot of time to focus on it.
Every morning I use a tool called Inoreader to sift through a couple hundred articles on the topic of content marketing, SEO and online reputation building and I synthesize and collect the content that I create or curate here as a guide or portal for people who are looking to get found. I think frequently about the challenge of what the average solopreneur or small business owner can do to get found knowing that whatever I recommend has to be efficient and add a lot of value. After a lot of thinking on the topic, I have come up with a minimalist list that I think is a good start:
I’m not sure I’ve got it all right here so please feel free to ask questions or poke holes in my list but know this; that whatever ends up being in the final list after a short period of time is going to make it into an online course called something like “Goldilocks SEO” for solopreneurs and small businesses. Subscribers will either be able to do the work or engage me to do it for them — it really makes no difference to me. What counts is having a rock solid list of the activities in which I need to repeatedly engage if I want to show up in search. I know there’s always more that can be done. What is the minimum?