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RSS Syndication Made Simple – Finding Content Made Easy

Steve Rubel (one of my newest favorite reads) has a very useful post on RSS Syndication Made Simple. It is one of the best and easiest to follow, descriptions of how to use RSS to find and read content of other bloggers and news sources.

Steve writes – ‘RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. It is a new technology standard that enables any online publisher (corporate, blogger, media, etc.) to broadcast information onto the Internet in “feeds.” Users can elect to subscribe to as many feeds as they want and view them all at once or individually using one or more different RSS readers, or news aggregators. Such readers include high-end dedicated desktop software applications, mobile devices and increasingly sophisticated Web-based applications. No matter which aggregator you choose, you get the same great benefits: 1) you are alerted to new content from your favorite sites as soon as it hits the web and 2) you can aggregate all your favorite sources of information together and peruse them on one page.’

95% of what I write in my blogs I find through RSS – following specific blogs and using news alerts targeting keywords that my blogs are interested in. Every morning I wake up to a fresh stock of starting points for my days research and postings.

Within minutes of a news article or blog post hitting the internet I can know about it and be posting a link, quote or comment on my own blog responding to what is happening.

So if you’re not using RSS to find content for your blog you’re probably giving yourself a whole heap of work that you don’t need to go through each day – head over to RSS Syndication Made Simple and take a load off!

Product and Brand Names are Best Keywords

The Daily Rundown (link removed as the site is no longer there)has this interesting piece of analysis about what people are searching for on Google.

‘ 28% of Google searches are for a “product name”, 9% are for a “brand name” and 5% are searches for a “company name”. “Brand” keywords also have a 8x higher ROI than generic keywords. Not sure if that is for all searches or just consumer-product related searches, but either way it demonstrates the importance of making sure your site shows up on the SERPs for your brand.’

Now that is some useful information that fits pretty well with the anecdotal evidence that I’ve seen over the past year. So if you’re reviewing, previewing or just talking about a product you should be as specific as possible with your keywords – put them in your title, in your image tags, and make sure they’re included numerous times in the body of your post.

Writing Tips for Bloggers

Poynter Online is one of the best resources around to help you with your content development. It is actually a tool for those wanting to improve their journalistic skills – but as is often the case – it is easily adaptable to the blogging medium.

Their section on writing is especially useful. Check out their latest tip for example – its on the use of repetition in your writing – I said the use of repetition in your writing (sorry). They write:

‘The repetition of key words, phrases, and story elements creates a rhythm, a pace, a structure, a drumbeat that reinforces the central theme of the work.

Such repetition works in music, in advertising, in humor, in literature, in political speech and rhetoric, in teaching, in homilies, in parental lectures – even in this sentence, where the word ‘in’ was used 10 times.

Writers use repetition as a tool of persuasion, few as skillfully as Michael Gartner, who, in a distinguished and varied journalism career, won a Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing.’

Hmmm – the other bonus of repetition is that if you repeat the right word it is good for your Search Engine Optimization and Google ads.

Generating High Quanitities of Blog Content – Recruit Writers

This is the Fifth post in a series of tips on how to generate higher quantities of content for your blog. Check out the previous posts at Set Targets, News Sites and Aggregators, Start a New Blog, Break Down Your Posts and Ecto.

Get others to write content for you. I’ve often asked other people to write an article, review, reflection or rant for me on a topic that they have a passion or interest in. I don’t pay for content (some people do) but I try to make it worth the writer’s while by giving a link back to their site or by promoting them and encouraging them. I’ve also bought gifts for one or two people who’ve written me significant amounts of content over time.

Some writers will also allow you to co-publish posts. In this way they their post would appear on both their own blog and yours.

Generating High Quanitities of Blog Content – Ecto

This is the Fourth post in a series of tips on how to generate higher quantities of content for your blog. Check out the other posts in this series at Check out the previous posts at Set Targets, News Sites and Aggregators, Start a New Blog, Break Down Your Posts, Ecto and Recruit Writers.

Use a blogging tool like Ecto. I’m a big user of this tool. It is blogging tool that allows you to post offline (ie I can take my laptop to the cafe where there is no wireless net connection and still blog – to upload later).

It also has a nifty two click ‘blog this’ function that lets you highlight text in an article that you want to quote. With just one key stroke you can import the highlighted text, article title and a link to the article into your blog tool from your browser (in a pre-determined format) to be posted with just another click (some editing is sometimes needed depending upon how the article is formatted). They also have a ‘what you see is what you get’ editing feature and a drag and drop image uploader.

I use the Mac version (version 2 – still in beta) which has a few extra features than the Windows one but I’ve heard the Win version is just as helpful. I know that using Ecto during the Olympic games enabled me to post over 100 posts per day on our Olympics Blog.

Update: Check out my more recent post on other Blog Desktop Editors.

Generating High Quanitities of Blog Content – Break Posts Down

This is the third post in a series of tips on how to generate higher quantities of content for your blog. Check out the other posts in this series at Check out the previous posts at Set Targets, News Sites and Aggregators, Start a New Blog, Break Down Your Posts, Ecto and Recruit Writers.

Break your longer articles down into smaller bite sized posts on more targeted topics. When I first started blogging I used to write very long rants and reflections on topics. These days I still do occasionally but as I do I always now ask myself – ‘can I break this into a series?’ There are multiple reasons to write a series of posts rather than a long article including:

1. You’re more likely to keep your readers attention with some short sharp bursts of writing than a really long diatribe. I rarely get all the way through reading a long post of someone else unless its compelling reading.
2. You might generate some repeat visits to your site if you post on the same topic over a few days telling your reader to come back tomorrow for the next installment.
3. You’ll generate more page views this way which is good if you’re running impression based ads on your site and link from one post to the next in the series.
4. You individual pages will rank higher in Google usually with a more targeted post than a long one that has many themes. ie a post with one point is more likely to rank well on that point than an article with ten points.
5. You will probably get better and more relevant ads from contextual advertising like Google.

Of course this is partly personal preference – a lot of people like the long rant and are frustrated by having to navigate numerous pages of a series. Your choice. Let us know what you think in comments below.

Generating High Quanitities of Blog Content – Start a New Blog

This is the third post in a series of tips on how to generate higher quantities of content for your blog. Check out the other posts in this series at Check out the previous posts at Set Targets, News Sites and Aggregators, Start a New Blog, Break Down Your Posts, Ecto and Recruit Writers.

Start a new blog – Many of the successful professional bloggers that I’ve observed over the past few months have highly targeted topics and themes for their blogs (for example Weblogs Inc’s stable of blogs). There are many benefits of having a niche blog both in terms of getting ranked in Google and getting quality contextual ads. However there is only so much that you can blog about each day on most topics.

I realized a few months ago that most days I could find quality material for at least 5-10 posts on my Digital Camera blog but that unless there was a trade show on that I generally had a lot more time to blog each day than it took for those posts. As a result I’ve diversified my blogs and have started another four blogs (including this one) in the past fortnight. Now rather than just posting 5-10 posts on Digicams each day I can post 5-10 posts on four subjects. I’ve just quadrupled the amount of content that I could post each day.

Of course you need to be careful that you don’t bite off more than you can chew – add a blog and see how it goes. If you find you’ve still got time to post more add more until you hit a level that doesn’t burn you out but that gets you generating an optimum quantity of content each day.

Generating High Quanitities of Blog Content – News Sites and Aggregators

This is the third post in a series of tips on how to generate higher quantities of content for your blog. Check out the previous posts at Set Targets, News Sites and Aggregators, Start a New Blog, Break Down Your Posts, Ecto and Recruit Writers.

Use News Aggregators (like Bloglines), News Services (like Google News, Daily Yahoo News or Topix) or other Blog tools (like Technorati) to follow subjects that you like to write about. The majority of posts on my commercial blogs are links to articles, blog posts and other sites around the web that write on the topics I’m interested in.

Using the above tools I generally know if someone has written something of interest about one of these topics in a newspaper or blog around the world pretty quickly after its been written and then its not too hard to link up to it with a few comments attached or maybe a quote from the relevant article. It’s great to be able to follow specific blogs of interest using News Aggregators or to be able to have more general alerts on specific keywords.

The great thing about some of the news services is that they are quite automated and will email you any relevant articles – what could be easier!

What tools do you use to find content for your blog?

Generating High Quanitities of Blog Content – Set a Target

Check out the previous posts at Set Targets, News Sites and Aggregators, Start a New Blog, Break Down Your Posts, Ecto and Recruit Writers.

Set yourself a target of how many pages you’ll add to your blog per day or week. I aim for a minimum of 10 pages of good content across my blogs every day including weekends – I see it as a discipline and set time (usually an hour or two) aside most mornings and evenings to complete my task. Some days I set myself bonus targets of 20 or more in a day like yesterday when I did 50 because of the release of some new products on one of my blogs.

10 pages of content per day is 3650 pages in a year! If for instance each page posted were to generate you 2 cents per day 3650 pages would make you $73 per day (7 days a week). 20 posts per day is 7300 pages….you do the sums. Of course some blogs won’t generate 2 cents per page per day – others will generate significantly more – the principle remains however. Also its worth remembering that you don’t suddenly have 3650 or 7300 pages – it takes time. But if you’re willing to take a long term project and see each post as like a deposit in the bank you might just find that down the track you’ll have built yourself a nice little earner.

Setting yourself a target and making it a discipline you stick to is just one way of generating quantities of content. How do you do it? I’ll share more of my tips shortly.