Some people still do this with the old school way with the “bookmark” feature in a web browser. This puts the onus on you to click to each site to see if anything’s new. You can waste a lot of time clicking on sites where nothing has changed while you hunt for new content.
Instead, it’s much more efficient to use an RSS reader. There are lots of options available but I find iGoogle to be one of the simplest and easiest to use. I also like that it’s web based so I can log into this reader from any computer or mobile device, not just my own desk.
You’ll use your hand picked list of blogs in several ways:
1) To observe what others in your field are saying online. You’ll get a sense of how they are communicating and how your shared target market is responding.
2) To assess what works and what doesn’t and then mimic the formats/frequency that suits your communication style and meets the needs of your community.
3) To increase your online visibility by commenting on other people’s posts. Every time you do this you have the opportunity to include a link back to your website which helps people find you and enhances your SEO (search engine optimization).
4) To fuel the “referenced” or “curated” content that you’ll share through social media. As I’ve said before, what you post on Twitter and Facebook shouldn’t be all about you and your company all the time.
5) Comments (#3) and sharing (#4) are also great ways to build relationships with the people behind the websites who are part of your community. They may be customers, prospects or peers .
All of this can be done much more efficiently with iGoogle or something equivalent. The time drain of social media is a huge concern for many people so I hope this strategy will allow you more time to do other things online.
One last thing … you’ll add blogs to your reader over time as you discover websites of interest. You may only find 3 or 4 a week and that’s fine. There may even be weeks where you add nothing new or delete some sites that are not longer of interest. It’s kind of like editing your perfect newspaper with only the sections you want.
I hope you’ll include my feed in your “must read” list. You’ll find the feed here.