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1 Ridiculously Big List of Google Reader Alternatives

It’s official Google Reader is no more. For those now scrambling to find an alternative I present the crowdsourced List.ly list of Google Reader Alternatives.

Still want to access your subscriptions and other Google Reader data? You have until July 15th to do so or it will be deleted as well – Go to Google Takeout and download your Reader data.

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8 Are You Prepared for the Google Reader Shutdown?

As has been widely reported, Google Reader is shutting down July 1, 2013. Now, in typical Google fashion, no one really knows what will actually happen on the that date, but as I it see you have about three choices if you are to continue to consistently consume blog content.

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Move to a new RSS reader

There are actually many options for moving your existing RSS subscriptions to another setup that can pretty much make the change a non event and may even turn up some enhancements.

The first step is to export your current subscriptions out of Google Reader so that you have a file you can import to other services. A number of other RSS readers have built this feature in and can do it automatically once you grant access.

Here’s how to export your data from Google Reader as an OPML file.

1. Sign into Google Reader account and go to the Settings in the upper right corner. It looks like this:
Google reader settings

2. Navigate to Import/Export tab. At the bottom, under “Export your information,” click the link “Download your data through Takeout.”

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Some of the services getting the most buzz currently are:

  • Feedly, another popular alternative, combines bookmarking with feed reading and sharing.
  • Feedbin – this very simple and very pleasing layout to reading RSS feeds costs $2/month and it’s the one I’ve chosen to use currently
  • NewsBlur is a simple interface that includes mobile apps and ability to share stories your find on popular sites such as Evernote.

In case you’re interested, here’s what I’ve done:

  • I created accounts in Feedly and Feedbin (a little redundancy online is a good thing)
  • Right now I currently use Feedbin for daily consumption because I use an iPhone app called ReederApp that uses my Feedbin subscriptions to give me a phone version – which is where I read most of my blog content (ReederApp is working on itegration with Feedly as well)
  • The ReederApp allows me to do lots of things with individual blog posts such as submit to Buffer, add to Delicious, Tweet or email directly from within my phone – I depend on this function as I share a lot of content in social media and this makes it very easy to do so.

Use it as a do over

Another approach is to forget your past subscriptions and simply sign up for an RSS reader you fancy and start subscribing to blogs based on where you are today.

I’ll admit, even with constant housekeeping there are some blogs in my reader that I don’t give much love.

You might consider taking the time to hand pick some new ones. (Although I do hope you consider continuing to read this blog!)

If this sounds appealing you can skip the export (although you may want to do it anyway just in case) and simply pick a new reader and start subscribing.

Change the way you read blogs

An entirely different option is to think otherwise about the content altogether. Instead of subscribing to any particular blogs you could subscribe to topics or rely on trusted friends to tell you what they are reading.

This can be a great way to stay laser focused on just the stuff that interests you and start building some “reading networks” in favor of reading destinations.

One service in particular that I think excels in this area is Newsle.

Newlse allows you to follow the reading activity of people in your social networks. It will identify influential people and what it calls famous people, but essentially you can follow anyone you want and create alerts. One might consider, for example, creating a list of major clients or important journalists and keeping tabs on what they are writing and tagging.

Frankly, I’m doing both – continuing to read RSS feeds and following curated lists on Newsle.

2 Why the Shuttering of Google Reader Might Be a Good Thing

This week’s announcement that Google Reader is shutting down has me and many others waxing a bit nostalgic.

I’m an admitted RSS geek. Back in 2008 I wrote a series of blog posts extolling the emerging virtues of RSS technology. Prior to Google Reader I used tools like Bloglines, FeedDemon and NewsGator to subscribe to and read blogs.

In that time most tools, services and networks have essentially turned RSS into the plumbing that makes everyday things like Facebook and Eventbrite work.

I have been telling people to subscribe to blogs using RSS readers to stay informed, learn about specific industries, get inspiration for blog posts and monitor customer and competitor content for years and won’t stop any time soon.

This behavior is still an essential element of any complete listening strategy and that doesn’t change simply because one of the most popular tools for doing so goes away.

In fact, being forced to move beyond Google Reader may be a very good thing for long time users like me. There are plenty of alternatives for reading RSS feeds and this should spark the development of even better ones.

I’ll continue to keep on eye on Reeder at they have pledged to keep the tool alive without dependency on Reader. (Buffer users might want to catch this update from Buffer)

Google has valid reasoning for shutting down Reader and frankly I was little surprised with the violent reaction to the news. My take is that when an organization offers to let you use a free tool you’re not a customer, you’re a part of the product and in that regard you’re entitled to very little say. (Think Facebook)

Google has bet the social farm on Google+ and all signs point to decisions being made on two fronts only: How to continue to make a killing selling advertising and how to make users dependent upon Google+. To think otherwise is naïve.

So, what is an avid newsreader to do moving forward.

The need to find an alternative way to easily scan and read daily blog posts has me reconsidering the utility of the practice. Part of the reason Google stated for shuttering Reader is decreased usage. (Of course when you don’t update a tool and actually strip away the more useful parts people will find a better tool.)

A growing number of people have also turned to RSS aggregator tools like Flipboard and Pulse that can spoon feed more visually appealing content based on chosen topics. Heck, Google even has one of these called Google Currents.

For me, I still prefer discovering and building a custom collection of feeds and am busy trying out the newer breed of RSS readers that combines many of the social behaviors that Reader simply ignored.

Tools like Netvibes (Okay this is an oldie, but it’s kept up) present feeds in a dashboard style and add paid features such as alerts, curation, monitoring and analytics to your reading. With a little work you can turn NetVibes into a a full blown listening station for most of your social networking.

Feedly, another popular alternative, combines bookmarking with feed reading and sharing.

NewsBlur is a simple interface that includes mobile apps and ability to share stories your find on popular sites such as Evernote.

Note: Many of these once small services are getting crushed with traffic from Reader migration right now so be prepared for some quirkiness.

Most of the services mentioned have out of the box transfer of your current Google Reader set up but you can also export your Reader Feeds using the Google Takeout tool and then upload the OPML file to your chosen service.

And look to see some new tools coming online in the near future.

45 Profiting From Other People's Content

newsDon’t be alarmed by that title – I’m not talking about stealing content for gain, I’m talking about adding the filtering and aggregating of content to your content consumption, creation and sharing routine.

Pretty much everyone has bought into the idea that they need to produce lots of valuable content in order to build the trust and search engine eyes of today’s online prospect. One way to supplement your content strategy while still providing lots of value, is to get good at finding and filtering other people’s content that your prospects and customers will find useful as well. (Done right, the “other people” will thank you for giving a wider audience to their content)

It should go without saying that giving credit to the original source and full attribution to the author when appropriate is a must.

There are a number of ways to think about this idea

Make yourself a better resource

Creating a habit of filtering content related to your industry, products, competitors and customers will make you better at what you do, allow you to keep up with trends and give you data to help you build deeper relationships with customers.

Share content to draw attention

Pointing out useful resources and good finds is a great way to build your social media and blog followings. Consistently sharing relevant links and sharing them on Twitter is a strategy that many find helps them be seen as follow worthy. Creating a once a week blog post roundup of good stuff is a great way to add content and keep readers engaged.

Filter personalized content

A more advanced strategy is to use your filter skills to create your own industry research briefs. If you specialize in several market niches you can create laser specific new pages and email newsletter roundups that feature the best of what you find each week. You can even use RSS technology to deliver dynamically changing web content password protected for your best clients.

Some of my favorite tools for finding other people’s content

AllTop – This site collects what it believes is the all the top blog content on a large number of topics and displays the last posts from each of these sources. This should be a daily stop for most. You can also build your own custom page here and use this as your RSS reader.

Delicious – This is my favorite bookmarking site. As I surf the web I mark sites here with tags that I define. It’s a place to categorize content, find new content and create custom RSS feeds of the content you find. If you are trying to create pages for customers you simply define a tag for the customer and then set-up an RSS feed that streams your hand picked content.

StumbleUpon – A service that helps you stumble upon content related to topics of interest that you define. Browser toolbar makes it very easy for you to go looking. I’ve used this technique on numerous occasions to find unique content to share on Twitter.

Business Exchange – Business Week’s community platform allows users to submit content related to specific topics.

Kurrently – Once of the first search engines that allows you to find what’s being said on Facebook

Twitter Advanced Search – Using the Twitter advanced search function you can set up a search like this: “small business” OR entrepreneur OR “start up” filter:links to bring you tweets for a specific topic that contain links. This is a great way to keep up with what’s being shared on a specific topic and since the search produces an RSS feed you can send it to your Google Reader or even publish it to an HTML page.

Google Reader – Subscribe to relevant industry blogs and have a library to read any time you have some down time. You can also set up a custom TwitterFeed to tweet your shared Google Reader items adding a hand selected way to share more content as you read.

Google Alerts – Create custom searches for things like brands, people and products and have any mentions delivered to your inbox or reader.

Google Insights for Search – With Google Insights for Search, you can compare search volume patterns across specific regions, categories, time frames and properties

Instapaper– A simple tool for saving web pages to read later but in a nice custom newspaper kind of format. Phone, Kindle and iPad apps available.

Feedburner – This is Google’s tool that allows you to enhance your RSS feeds. For purpose of this post I point to the Feed feature that makes it very easy for your to take and RSS feed and publish to a web page. Here’s an example where I’ve take hand selected delicious feed mention of my book, The Referral Engine, and streamed them on a web page. Bonus: Notice the RSS feed of Twitter mentions doing the same thing.

62 5 Ways to Use Social Media for Things You Are Already Doing

One of the biggest road blocks facing small businesses when addressing social media is the question of return on investment. With so little time devote to what’s crying out to be done, adding something else or something new like social media can feel like a real burden. Sometimes the only way to rationalize and prioritize something new is to understand the benefits in relation to everything else your doing and take a new view based on that understanding.

puzzleSo much of what’s written on social media amounts to lists of things you should do, get on twitter, blog, create a Facebook fan page, and not enough on why you might consider doing it. While all those tactics may indeed be wise, I would like suggest a number of ways to use those actions to do a better or more efficient job doing things you’re already (or should be) doing.

Start to think in terms of doing more with less effort, not simply doing more. If I can let small business owners get a glimpse of social media through this lens, they might just decide to go a little deeper. Here are five ways to look at it.

1) Follow up with prospects

I love using social media tools as a way to follow-up with prospects you might meet out there in the real world. So you go to a Chamber event and meet someone that has asked you to follow-up. Traditionally, you might send an email a week later or call them up and leave a voice mail. What if instead you found them on LinkedIn, asked to be connected and then shared an information rich article that contained tips about the very thing you chatted about at the Chamber mixer. Then you offered to show them how to create a custom RSS feed to get tons of information about their industry and their competitors. Do you think that next meeting might get started a little quicker towards your objectives? I sure do.

2) Stay top of mind with customers

Once someone becomes a customer it’s easy to ignore them, assuming they will call next time they need something or, worse yet, assuming they understand the full depth and breadth of your offerings and will chime in when they have other needs. Staying in front of your customers and continuing to educate and upsell them is a key ingredient to building marketing momentum and few businesses do it well.

This is an area where a host of social media tools can excel. A blog is a great place to put out a steady stream of useful information and success stories. Encouraging your customers to subscribe and comment can lead to further engagement. Recording video stories from customers and uploading them to YouTube to embed on your site can create great marketing content and remind your customer why they do business with you. Facebook Fan pages can be used as a way to implement a client community and offer education and networking opportunities online.

3) Keep up on your industry

Keeping up with what’s happening in any industry is a task that is essential these days. With unparalleled access to information many clients can learn as much or more about the products and solutions offered by a company as those charged with suggesting those products and solutions. You better keep up or you risk becoming irrelevant. Of course I could extend this to keeping up with what your customers, competitors, and key industry journalists are doing as well.

Here again, new monitoring services and tools steeped in social media and real time reporting make this an easier task. Subscribing to blogs written by industry leaders, competitors and journalists and viewing new content by way of a tool such as Google Reader allows you to scan the day’s content in one place. Setting up Google Alerts and custom Twitter Searches (see more about how to do this) or checking out paid monitoring services such as Radian6 or Trackur allows you to receive daily email reports on the important mentions of industry terms and people so you are up to the minute in the know. (Of course, once you do this you can teach your customers how to do it and make yourself even more valuable to them – no matter what you sell.)

4) Provide a better customer experience

It’s probably impossible to provide too much customer service, too much of a great experience, but you can go nuts trying.

Using the new breed of online tools you can plug some of the gaps you might have in providing customer service and, combined with your offline touches, create an experience that no competitor can match.

While some might not lump this tool into social media, I certainly think any tool that allows you to collaborate with and serve your customers qualifies. Using an online project management tool such as Central Desktop allows you to create an entire customer education, orientation, and handbook kind of training experience one time and then roll it out to each new customer in a high tech client portal kind of way. This approach can easily set you apart from anyone else in your industry and provide the kind of experience that gets customers talking.

5) Network with potential partners

Building a strong network of strategic marketing partners is probably the best defense against any kind of economic downturn. One of the surest ways to attract potential partners is to build relationships through networking. Of course you know that, but you might not be viewing this kind of networking as a social media function.

If you identify a potential strategic partner, find out if they have a blog and start reading and commenting. Few things will get you noticed faster than smart, genuine blog comments. Once you establish this relationship it might make sense to offer a guest blog post. If your use a CRM tool (and you should) you’ve probably noticed that most are moving to add social media information to contact records, add your potential partners social media information and you will learn what’s important to them pretty quickly.

If you know how to set up a blog already, offer to create a blog of network partners so each of you can write about your area of expertise and create some great local SEO for the group.

So, you see, you don’t have to bite into the entire social media pie all at once. Find a tool, a technique, a tactic that makes your life easier today and provides more value for partners, prospects and customers and you’ll be on the path to getting some real ROI on your social media investment.

What social media tactics have you discovered that allow you to do more of something you’re already doing?

30 A Beautiful Way to Read More Blogs

If you use an RSS reader to subscribe to and read blogs (and you should) then you know what a great tool it can be to keep you up to date, well-read and inspired.

I’ve used the free Google Reader tool for a long time and love it’s simplicity. However, a reader of this blog (Rob Kirby) pointed out a very cool tool called Feedly that takes my subscriptions and creates a much better looking magazine like interface. To me better looking translates into more useful when it comes to scanning a hundred blogs or so. Feedly immediately brought all of my feeds and organization folders over from Google so set-up was instantaneous.

But that’s just the beginning. Feedly is a Firefox add-on that functions using my Google Reader account so all my Feedly activity is still saved to Google Reader. Adding blog subscriptions as simple as a click, but I can also pages I find, video, images, anything I want to bookmark and organize. I can share and email articles I find and the tool analyzes the content I seem to like and gently suggests where I might find more.

The two images below give you comparison views of Google Reader and Feedly (Click to enlarge)


Google Reader


Feedly

31 A Twitter Sharing Time Saving Tip

One of the tactics I enjoy using on twitter is to bookmark blog posts and web sites that I think are amazing and share them with my followers. This is one part of my overall twitter posting strategy. (Having a strategy for twitter and employing tactics to meet objectives kind of sounds like how you would approach any aspect of your marketing doesn’t it?)

While I firmly believe this is worth the time it takes to hand select these links, I’m all for finding tools that help me do these kinds of things more easily. There’s a twitter based tool, called twitterfeed, that’s been around for a while that essentially allows you to automatically publish any RSS feed to twitter. Now, it’s easy for me to imagine some silly and spammy uses for this. Blindly autoposting a bunch of blog feeds into twitter doesn’t smack me as a very good tactic, but people do it all the time. That’s not what I’m suggesting here at all.

There are lots of ways to create RSS content, including ways that allow you to hand curate and bookmark content that goes into a feed.

I use Google Reader to subscribe to and read lots of blogs. One feature built into this reader is the ability to “share” posts I find and mark them for others to see. I can make my shared marks public and people that interact with on my Google Profile or through GMail can view what I thought shareworthy. The shared items category also produces it’s own RSS feed. More on Shared Google Readers items. (To find your shared items feed url, click on shared items in “Your Stuff” in the left sidebar and then “details” and you will see the url for your shared items feed. Make sure to check your shared settings are set to public. )

share

So, you know that means, right? I can be waiting in line somewhere, scrolling through my blog subscription on my phone and decide to hit share on one that I really like, and because I’ve set that select RSS feed up on twitterfeed, it posts that hand selected item to twitter. Mind you, this is something I do on twitter anyway, but now there are less steps involved.

Twitterfeed has settings that allow you to add a little text before or after each tweet, something like: Reading or Liked . . . and the link is automatically shortened. You could do this kind of bookmarking to twitter just as easily with a delicious tag feed to twitterfeed also.

85 5 Tips for Getting More From Your Blog

notebooksIn a further continuation of my series of quick social media tips (check out 5 Tips for Getting More from LinkedIn, 5 Tips for Getting More from Facebook, and 5 tips for Getting More from Twitter), I’m returning to my old pal the blog.

Seems like blogs have kind of made it into the main and don’t get talked about as hot social media plays, but in my mind, a web hub of education based information, easily created and housed on a blog, is the ultimate social media foundation element and probably the key to success when you engage prospects in other social media platforms.

1) Read, follow and listen – you probably won’t get much in the way of results from blogging until you know what and how to write. The best way to do that, and by the way something I’ve done and continue to do daily, is read lots of blogs, follow lots of people who point out interesting reads and listen using RSS, bookmarking sites like delicious, and every question your prospects and customers voice. Use an RSS reader such as Google Reader to make it very easy to listen to lots of content and then get a little notebook and carry with you at all times so you can jot down every question customers and prospects ask.

2) Write what people search – If you’re one of those folks who’s resisted blogging because you don’t think anyone would read your blog, don’t worry, they probably won’t. Most blogs aren’t read like a magazine, or like you might view it, they are found. In other words post the answers to the questions, problems, and challenges that you know your market is asking and seeking and your blog content will become the single greatest online lead generation tool in your mix. Discover the exact phrases people in your market are using when they search and write valuable content around that and people will find your blog before they know your competitors exist.

3) Ask for participation – Blogging is one of the first ways to build an engaged community. People talk about building community on twitter and other social sites, but few things can compare to the engagement that can surround healthy debates, reader generated content and suggestions in blog comments. Write your blog posts in ways that invite people to comment, ask for their ideas, and even ask them to give their opinions. Often, some of my points are amplified and made better through the comment stream that can surround them. Over time, you will build community participation and you may find that blogging is more fun when it becomes a conversation.

4) Engage your comment community – When people take the time to offer thoughtful comments take the time to respond when appropriate. If a debate is in order it’s okay to start one. Visit the sites of your comment community and engage in their writing. Link to their content in your blog posts and on twitter. You might also find that using comment enhancing plugins such as Disqus – the commenting system I use or Top Commentators, which shows a list of the people who comment the most, can make your comment community more active. (I wrote a post long ago called 7 ways to get more blog comments that you might also find useful)

5) Amplify your message – one obvious way to get more exposure for your blog is to post links to twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn with each new post and, as long as that’s not all you do, this can be an effective traffic strategy, however, another great way to amplify and broaden the exposure for your blog is to guest blog. Many, sometimes high traffic, blogs welcome well-written content from guests. Look for blogs that should have your same type of reader and offer samples of your writing. Be sure that your posts will receive a byline and link back to your blog and then also promote the heck out your guest appearance.

Image credit: Dvortygirl

18 The New Marketer's Toolbox

toolsMore than once those that follow what I do have asked me how I seem to get so much done in a day. I have to admit that I get a lot of help from the man behind the curtain and from you my readers and subscribers. That’s the part that many don’t see, but the rich set of, often free, tools out there now make it much easier to run your business and increase your productivity.

I use a power set of tools throughout the day to write, collaborate, bookmark, filter, find and conduct commerce. Here is my current list of favorites, although like so much on the Internet, some of these could change in the blink of an eye.

Google Alerts – Free service from Google allows you to conduct customer searches for your brand, competitors, industry mentions, and journalists and have any mention of these terms online sent to your email inbox on a daily or as it happens basis. Key tool for monitoring your reputation in real time but it can also serve as a great client relationship building tool as well.

Central Desktop – I use this tool to collaborate with providers and clients alike. The set of features and flexibility from this tool is incredible. I was a hard core Basecamp fan, and still am, but Central Desktop just does so much more. You can manage projects, teams and schedules, but my favorite use is the built in WYSIWYG wiki editor. I use this to build web based operations manuals and document processes for my team.

Google Reader – I subscribe to and scan and read about 100 blogs and think you should too. I get some great ideas, hear about the next new thing, and find tools like I ‘ve listed here by adhering to this practice. Google Reader puts them all in one place and is very mobile browser friendly so I can jump on the site and read a few blogs any time I’m standing in line.

TweetDeck – This desktop application makes it very easy to keep up with what I want to follow on twitter. I create searches for key terms and form groups of people I want to follow closely. The tool also allows you to RT, tweet, DM, follow and unfollow directly from the interface. A mobile app is available as well.

Firefox – Firefox is, as I’m sure you’ve heard by now, simply a browser, but it’s so much more due to the fact that you can extend its functionality through plug-ins and add-ons. I use it subscribe, blog, bookmark, filter and aggregate much of what I find online all day. I use it to help with web design, SEO and competitive analysis.

Flickr -In addition to optimizing and sharing images online I use the Creative Commons Licensing of images on Flickr to grab great photos for my daily blog posts. (I wrote about how to use Flickr for blog images here)

Snapz Pro X – This $29 software sits in the background and allows me to do screen grabs and video screencasts with the push of a few keys. There are free programs that can do some of this but the added editing and file format options of this program make it worth the money. I’m always adding screenshots in my blog posts and PowerPoint presentations.

Adium – I’m a pretty big fan of IM for internal office use as well as to use with my key collaborators. Adium is nice as it allows me to communicate with people using IM no matter if they are on Yahoo, AOL, Skype, or GTalk.

ScreenFlow Pro – Another paid program but this is simply the easiest, yet feature rich, video screen capture program I have ever used. I use it to turn many of my web and offline presentations into short movies to share on YouTube.

su.pr – This is a my tool of choice for much of my tweeting. When I use su.pr to post a tweet with a link it shortens the link bu also sets up a rich set of tracking so that I can view how many view, retweets and mentions the tweet received. In addition, because the tool is part of the StumbleUpon network it gives me the opportunity to receive or send traffic from this network to the pages I link to.

Email Center Pro – This tool allows me to create mailboxes for departments of information, such as sales, service, media requests, etc. and then, if I choose, assign emails to those addresses to various internal and external resources to address. I can create responses to many common questions and allow anyone to interact from that department. In addition, I can see the entire archive of any of the discussion threads that might occur in any conversation from a dashboard. Great customer service tool.

Jott – This tool allows me to use my phone to “jott” a message that is transcribed and sent to my email. I use this all of the time when I am driving along and am hit with a thought for a blog post. Additionally, you can set-up groups and contacts on Jott so you can send anyone you set-up emails via your voice messages. You can post appointments to Google Calendar and, if you speak very slowly and use simple words, post tweets.

SimpleNote – Every morning I make a to-do list based on what I want to get done that day. I’ve been doing this for years and it keeps me productive. I started using note pads but now I use SimpleNote on my laptop because it is simple (duh) and it syncs to an online page and my phone so I can have access to my daily list no matter where and how I choose to access it.

WordPress – There are many ways to create web sites and blogs but I just love WordPress. In addition to being one of the simplest ways to create and manage all your web pages and content, the developer community that creates add-ons, themes and tutorials is hard to beat. I encourage most businesses to use it for their entire site, it’s that good.

Google Analytics – Tracking traffic, trends, searches and conversions is a necessary and basic marketing tactic if you want to grow your business. Google’s free analytics package is a no brainer and can give you so much feedback you’ll wonder how you lived without it. Take the time to read and understand everything it can do and you will get even more. Combine it with Site Optimizer and you can begin to do the slightly more sophisticated A/B split testing and find out how to really fine tune your web site.

InfusionSoft – I use Infusionsoft to run the CRM, ecommerce, email marketing and affiliate tracking aspects of my business. There are individual tools that do each of these functions quite well (In fact I also use ACT!, SwiftPage and Vertical Response), but Infusionsoft is the one tool that brings all of the functions under one roof. It’s not for everyone, but it is a nice tool that keeps getting better.

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18 My Top 10 Sources of Content Inspiration

blog inspirationI’m often talking about producing high quality, education based content as way to draw leads to know, like and trust you. So, for example, I always advise small business owners to create and populate a blog because I happen to think it’s one of the easiest and most effective ways to both create and optimize content.

Some of the questions I still receive frequently however, are one like – how do know I what to write about, where do I get all those good ideas or how do I uncover trends, tools and tips that might appeal to my audience?

So, for today’s post I thought I would share the tools I use to get my brain thinking about what to write about. My favorite strategy is to mine these tools and sites for seemingly unrelated ideas. I can’t tell you how often I’ve uncovered the seed of an idea from something totally unrelated to marketing that I could twist to apply it in a totally new and relevant way.

  • Customer feedback – I love to turn customer and prospect questions into blog posts and more. You should be keeping track of those FAQs and answer every single one and some that don’t get asked as content.
  • delicious – this old school bookmarking site is still my favorite place to go and see what other folks are finding and saving.
  • Bing/xRank – I have to admit this is a new one as Bing, the Microsoft relaunched search engine is new, but for now, xRanks seems to be turning up trend faster than Google Trends
  • Blogs I subscribe to – I use Google Reader RSS reader and anytime I can I check in with some of the 100 blogs I subscribe to
  • OneRiot – another fairly new real time search engine that I use to find the links that people on twitter are discovering and retweeting
  • Keyword Phrases – Google’s free keyword search tools can give you phrases that people are actually using to find your products and services and offer some tips for what to call your blog posts
  • SmartBriefs – subscribe to a daily briefing on a variety of topics and see what some pretty smart editors are turning up
  • Business Week’s BX – Business Week’s social network allows anyone to submit content to a large group of subjects
  • Twitter follows – I follow some folks that are always finding and tweeting good stuff. By setting a select group up in TweetDeck I can always stay on top of these important tweets.
  • Magazine pile – I subscribe to Wired, Inc, Entrepreneur, Business Week, and Fast Company and while I sometimes get behind on the pile, I love to go there for inspiration.

Image credit: USMarine0311

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