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Content Curation For Newbies: 3 Easy Steps To Build Your Content Strategy

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 09:54:37 +0100

“I’m a firm believer in the notion that editorial judgment augments automated search. It makes all the difference between curation and aggregation strategies, and readers can tell.”   Michael Kolowich     We have been thinking a lot about how we connect with our clients, what content we create and curate, and how we share it. It seemed such an easy task at first - we haven’t considered we would need to create a special strategy for this sort of things.   Social media and communication should be fun, why bother, but we have to admit, having made some mistakes, you should bother, although content curation can still be fun.   What is content curation and why bother?   Content curation basically includes monitoring news outlets, mass media, social media, blogs or other information resources to select and share the most valuable information with your followers, customers or subscribers.   When they say that technology must give 'unlimited possibilities' to everyone, they never explain how normal people should be dealing with all that ever-growing ocean of user-generated content of all sorts and keep themselves sane (just think about this single fact: 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute!).   It leads to a higher competition between content producers, and also a higher role of content curators who are in charge of helping people to get only the best content out of everything we can find online, including audio podcasts, youtube videos, various blogs and posts in social networks.   You may need to include content curation into your content marketing strategy when you want to: Build better connection with your customers and get better engagement Save time from creating duplicate content Build important links with other professionals Become an authority in your industry   A simplified guide to content curation for everyone   It usually takes 3 steps to curate content:   Step #1: Content Exploration   This stage takes the lion share of the time you will spend curating content: your task is to search for the best content to deliver to your subscribers. Usually, you have to look through endless dozens of resources till you find truly valuable content.   To be effective without spending day and night browsing and scrolling,  you’d better set the time limit from start as well as limit the number of sources you will need to look through: something between 20 and 30 sources is more than enough to cover all topical and valuable content.   It is a must do for any content curator to build their own basic list of writers, bloggers, websites, and just outstanding people to follow in the same business area.   We at Feedreader can share a bit of our personal experience: using RSS subscriptions helps us to monitor major news feeds and marketing blogs, also we use Twitter and Facebook to follow influential people in our area of interests.   How do you select the sources? Identify your target audience Understand what your and your audience's key values are Define what message you want to send to your audience Look for the sources (sites or online influencers) which share the same values and help you deliver your message.   The next task is to choose the info to make a connection with your customers and improve communication with them. A selected story should be meaningful and unique - that’s why people are following someone: they come to get exclusive and powerful content. Nobody wants to look through the same replicated info 10 times a day, but for you, as a content curator, that’s part of the job.   The process of exploration means digging deeper than other people normally would as the most precious things usually lie below the surface: it would be really great if you could find some secret sources of yours - resources or people that are not yet popular but provide trustworthy and high-quality stories (tips, insights, or whatever you call it).   If you are specific[...]



How to beat angry Writer's Block knocking on your door

Thu, 14 Sep 2017 09:18:29 +0100

 “Creative people do a lot of trial and error and rarely know where they are going exactly until they get there.” Scott Barry Kaufman     This one time we are going to tell you a story about a blocked writer. There lived a guy called Tom. He had a passion for writing and enjoyed all the pleasures of it till the very moment he was hit by this evil force usually known under the name of Writer’s Block. Tom has heard about it but never met the creature himself. He turned to historical mentions of the mysterious Block and found out that Block existed a long time before it was even given the name. It tortured poor writers and made them feel miserable and self-doubtful.   Once successful and productive they couldn’t write a word. “Oh my God, - poor Tom thought. The beast has come for me. What can I do now? Google help me!” Usually, it does. Tom was amazed how many techniques and strategies to beat Writer’s Block were invented. He read them one after another and started drowning in the letters H-O-W-T-O.   He started shaking in fear dreading that he would never ever write a word. Although, some Block beaters suggested to write any words that come to your mind to win the battle. So Tom finished the evening with five pages filled with word ‘words’ and nothing else. “Tomorrow is another day”, he thought and went to bed. He was having bad dreams struggling with unbeatable Writer’s Block all night long.   Tom’s story is typical for many of those whose work involves writing (it doesn't matter whether you write a serious novel, school essay, or a short post for your blog). Coleridge, Joseph Mitchell, Mark Twain, and many more famous writers, poets and journalists had to face writer’s block (you may also call it a creative slowdown or burnout) and some of them just couldn't find the way out. Were they not talented enough or persistent enough, what are the reasons for creative block and does it exist at all? Maybe all these writers, bloggers or journalists were kind of lazy or untalented?   That’s what we are going to find out in this article.   A brief history of blockage   Approximately since the Age of the Enlightenment, literacy began to spread wider, and so did the writer’s block (writing was no longer an occupation of a limited circle of scholars and clergy).   Before the early nineteenth century, writing was mostly considered as an instrument of a rational, moralistic or naturalistic research (for example, French Encyclopédistes who wanted to describe literally everything in the World). With Romanticism came another generation of writers who preferred focusing on their inner emotional or imaginary experience: from that moment the writing process involved magic and an author demanded a muse for inspiration.   Due to the increasing popularity of French symbolism in the beginning of the nineteenth century, the writer’s image was that of a deep, clever but miserable person. Arthur Rimbaud is one of the most famous and tragic depictions of the said lifestyle.   “The idea is to reach the unknown by the derangement of all the senses. It involves enormous suffering, but one must be strong and be a born poet. And I’ve realized that I am a poet. It’s really not my fault.”   He wrote most of his revolutionary poems between the age of sixteen and twenty and gave up poetry to become a trader (it’s hard to say why, but allegedly it might have been because of a lasting writer's block). Rimbaud did a lot of things that were considered inappropriate those days. The young man was involved in a relationship with a married poet Paul Verlaine, he showed little or no respect towards his confreres and even bullied them publicly, drank a lot and smoked weed trying to find inspiration. When he was nearly twenty Rimbaud gave up his old habits, broke up with Verlaine and stopped writing. He died of bone cancer when he was th[...]



8 Biggest Reasons Your Website Needs RSS Feed

Fri, 08 Sep 2017 10:26:46 +0100

If a site does not offer an RSS feed, more often than not, they lose me as a reader and subscriber. Devoted RSS user   Some website owners are wondering whether they should have an RSS feed these days or is it better to follow with a regular newsletter? We gave it a thought and this is what we have to say about it.   Despite the rumors that 'RSS is dead/dying' (the funny thing is that we have been constantly hearing this story for ten years or so), RSS feed still can be a content spreading and marketing tool of unparalleled functionality.   Unfortunately, many site/blog owners decide not to syndicate RSS feeds on their projects at all, or hide RSS buttons away, giving higher priority to email or social media subscriptions (as they believe they are more efficient in some respect), and thus they provide their followers with less choice/freedom. Such website owners lose the opportunity to deliver their content in a convenient and user-friendly way. It is quite logical that site owners would better promote usage of RSS among their users, instead of rejecting it, as they can obtain some delicious benefits in addition to other existing channels. Content spreading triangle: RSS + Email + Social Media As the amount of content in social media is overwhelming, so the competition between businesses is severe, and the user attention span is short. Although social media are used by almost everyone, they serve different purposes than RSS readers: they are great at connecting people, but miss the mark when it comes to mass delivering of your business content to the users (unless you’re using paid options to promote yourself on Facebook or Twitter).   There is a similar issue with the email newsletters: often a user’s inbox receives so much spam or other correspondence that the risk of your message to be deleted unread is pretty high. Moreover, real-life users are sick and tired of all those websites begging for their email addresses, so they may not appreciate another subscription that requires giving the personal info away.   That’s why a good few users may find that getting site news via an RSS feed is a great alternative to hectic and cluttered social media feeds, or intrusive emails, as it allows them to check the updates in a more time-efficient and organized manner. With RSS reader a user can scan through the whole stack of a site’s or blog’s headlines whenever he founds convenient, select what he is interested in, and follow the direct link to the original post if he wants to learn more.   After all, RSS feed aggregators offer such features that most of social networks simply do not support: read/unread news status, private star/saves, and organizational folders.   Here are some more reasons why RSS feeds are convenient and useful both for website owners and visitors.   For site owners: A route to a wider audience: by not using RSS feed on your website, you narrow the marketing toolbox, and lose a free yet powerful instrument to build a stronger connection with the existing audience, or get a portion of newcomers - there are many RSS directories and catalogs out there, including Feedreader Observe, giving you more space for promotion. Unlike email newsletters RSS feeds can never be marked as spam (about 21% of emails worldwide fail because of spam reports). People tend to skip emails that are not their first priority as they are fed up with spam and rubbish, so your regular newsletter may automatically go to spam folder and never be read. Also, every bulk email provokes a number of spam reports sent to your provider, which a bit spoils your reputation and carries a variety of other risks.   Less privacy concerns: Your visitors feel control over their information as they don’t have to share it with other parties they cannot fully trust. RSS serves news, not ads or spam: it delivers your high quality content directly to users, without tricky medium or uncertainty. You can provide them wit[...]



Why is TRUMPery all around us: fake news fever, how to fight it, and whom to blame?

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 12:52:29 +0100

There’s nothing you can’t write about now that people won’t believe. Paul Horner, fake-news writer   We live in the world where we get news nonstop. But is it actually the news we get? How can we be sure some piece of information is true while the Web provides everybody with an opportunity to be a reporter, political analyst, pro blogger, photographer, or an ‘expert’ in any other field. Several studies have shown that 62% of Americans get the news from social media such as Facebook or Twitter.   These platforms allow anybody to create fake news groups and pages almost indistinguishable from the real news outlets. The scheme is quite simple: fake-news makers build websites that imitate corporate styles, colours, and fonts of mainstream media, such as The New York Times or The Huffington Post, and fill them with loads of juicy content. Then, for example, Facebook’s algorithm recommends such news to the followers/readers of the said popular media. These articles are a pure clickbait, so the enticing headlines make 99% of their success, therefore they must be shocking, sensational or just hilariously improbable - something like this one: “BREAKING: Supreme Court To Nullify The Election… They Are Actually Doing It”.   When you open such posts, they may look like the trustworthy newspaper articles, but in fact, they can be full of misinterpretation, farce, straightforward lies, or propaganda. This kind of writing has nothing to do with journalism at its best, as the real journalists adhere to higher professional standards and ethics. They are obliged to: tell the truth check the facts verify the sources they are representing in their articles or reports Fake media have no such responsibility (and obviously no ethics): their only aim is to get more attention converted into clicks, likes, shares, etc, which means earning more money from ads, or more success in spreading some misbelieves. Most of the mainstream media cannot play by the same rules, and thus can never compete with the hoaxers that have no legal responsibility over the information they spread, but they had to adapt to not so fair algorithms of social media promotion in fear of losing their audience.   According to The Pew Research Center, traditional journalism as we knew it before goes through a dramatic change: the digital era created new challenges for people of this profession, such as widespread of nontraditional outlets and digital-only media, increasing number of amateour/private reporters, and state officials producing their own newsfeeds. In this context, the existence of fake news puts us in a dangerous position where we can't simply rely on everything we see on the web, no matter how real it may look. So what is the new meaning of TRUMPery? 2016 US election became a turning point that showed us how deep the pitfalls of the fake media influence can be. The fake news industry turned a group of ordinary Macedonian teenagers into prosperous businessmen - they organized a very successful fake media campaign to spread pro-Trump (and anti-Clinton) clickbait-type stories. Many of these baseless ‘news’ went viral on social media, brought traffic to certain domains, and generated thousands of US dollars in return. Well done guys!     That might sound shocking, but those teens had no political interest or dividend from it. The only reason for them was good old money, while Trump supporters were a convenient marketing group to target. As one of the most successful hoaxers from Macedonia stated in his interview for NBC: ‘Nothing can beat Trump's supporters when it comes to social media engagement, so that's why we stick with Trump’. The story of those kids was just one of a few that came to the surface, but the fake news market is pretty much saturated with other players.   Spreading false news is not against the law in many countries, so there is a lack of instruments to [...]



Information Overload vs Human Brain: infobesity causes, symptoms, and how to beat it.

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 14:51:46 +0100

It’s been a few decades since we were introduced to some iconic yet doubtful products of the modern accelerated lifestyle, including ‘fast food’ and ‘fast cars’ (not to mention a pure disaster of ‘fast loans’, of course). Then, some evil geniuses of IT made things even worse: they released a new plague - fast Internet connection! It’s free, unlimited and gets you literally everywhere: on a bus stop, on a roadway, in your favourite coffee shop, in a park, hospital, school, library, restroom… and it’s ready to eat your brain hit you with the information anxiety syndrome making your life even more turbulent and hectic.   Seriously though, the rapid technological progress just gives us another bunch of powerful tools to be used for either good or evil - you choose. So-called infoxication, infobesity or information overload is the dark side of staying online 24/7: your devices might be beeping, ringing, and vibrating all at the same time, many times a day, all day long - email notifications, social media updates, breaking news, working and personal messages keep coming nonstop (by the way, only 13% of US residents prefer to stay offline).   Our mind struggles to absorb such a massive amount of information but fails somewhere in the middle of it: you’re getting tired, while switching between different sources/tabs/devices, and trying to process the abundance of information that pretends to be important or useful (in fact, it is not), and thus it becomes even harder for you to concentrate and differentiate what is really essential from unimportant or disturbing stuff.     Irritation, disturbance, poor concentration, inability to make an informed decision - those are the main symptoms of 'information fatigue syndrome' and the cost of being constantly exposed to too much information. We may find it similar to the classic multitasking issue: heavy multitaskers can suffer a poor productivity, hurry sickness, and decreased cognitive ability. Managing several tasks at a time (e.g. scrolling down through a piece of content along with checking emails/messages on your phone) will definitely do no good to your learning capacity.   It is not only the Web that causes infoxication - TV channels, radio stations, and outdoor advertising generate tons of informational noise. According to Daniel Levitin, a psychology professor at McGill University, ‘infobesity’ symptoms can simply occur because of a growing variety of brand choices in our grocery stores today - there are almost 5 times more products on the shelves comparing to 1970s. Information hygiene - how can it help?   One of the main infobesity reasons is information pollution and evolving from it ‘multi-tasking’ (or heavily fragmented/mixed learning activity) leading to multiple distractions or context switching, which can quickly exhaust your brain, paralyze your movement towards important goals, and negatively affect your decision-making process.   You can cope with the information pollution/overload problem by applying a few simple rules in your daily life. It’s hardly possible to solve it radically (unless you're ready to live in a high-mountain monastery), but you can adhere to an information hygiene policy that would allow you to manage the incoming flow of information efficiently, and thus win extra time for self-development or spending it with your family and friends. 5 healthy habits of information hygiene   1) Identify what info really matters to you in terms of personal and professional life, and get rid of everything excessive.   We may find ourselves subscribed to dozens of news outlets which can daily flood us with a real tsunami of pushy yet useless content. Analyze your subscriptions (both RSS and social media) and find out which of them provide you with a duplicated, reused, or very similar content. You'll be surprised h[...]



What is RSS? And why it deserves a try

Thu, 06 Jul 2017 15:21:08 +0100

A bit of explanation for RSS newbies: RSS stands for Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication and means a web-based technology of delivering news of various kinds from their sources directly to the users, in the form of a simple feed - that’s it!   You can use an RSS reader of your choice to subscribe to your favourite sites, blogs, job listing portals, online shops, etc, and thus get all their news collected in one place. That would help you to keep abreast of the latest events, hot deals, digital media updates, and fresh articles without actually visiting all those websites one-by-one.   How to subscribe? It’s a cakewalk: there might be an orange button with a text suggesting that you ‘subscribe via RSS’ on a site, but most of feed reading tools can automatically check a website to see if it syndicates an RSS channel and then you can go on by adding it to the subscriptions. Why Social Media can never replace RSS Today more people than ever get news from social networks and that might be an issue: the content of social media feed heavily depends on our (and our friends’) reactions and votes (i.e. likes, shares, reposts, etc), which is not bad at all, but it may lead to formation of so called ‘echo chambers’ keeping us within a narrowed and manipulated scope of interests, so it seems that we started to miss a lot at this point. Unlike most of the social networks, RSS does not include any mechanism that can automatically promote, filter or ‘micro-target’ certain content at a specific user according to trending opinions or his\her recent actions, location, and personal preferences.   It’s as simple as that – Really Simple Syndication. You only have to choose the resources and get the information you’re purely interested in, with no additional moderation or limitations, except for those you set yourself.   RSS technology can boast of a few strong advantages over the social media (as a news source, of course), making it a favourable choice for users who still appreciate their personal freedom of choice: No ads or promoted content mixed into your newsfeed. No personal data tracking or questionable censorship policies. No deceptive SMM strategies or shady inner algorithms trying to take advantage of your attention. No issues with sudden account bans, fake users or dishonest reports. Let us be clear: the point of social media is to create a safe environment for people to communicate (and they are pretty great at it), while RSS is a rather simple way to control the incoming flow of information and build a news digest with your own rules.   Once you decide to give RSS a try, it won't take long to realize the benefits: you may save so much precious time and nerves by getting rid of all those useless content, rubbish clickbait, and annoying ads that are flooding the social media. With the help of feed readers (aka RSS aggregators) you can manage your news feeds wisely and focus on things that really matter. How to keep the Simple Syndication really simple If you feel excited about the ideas of RSS, and would like to follow a few worthy sites, then you should begin the journey with signing up for a nice feed aggregator.   We at Feedreader believe that simplicity is the key virtue of RSS, so we created Feedreader Online that lets you check the news on the go, without hassle, personal data collection or overwhelming functionality.   Here are some Feedreader Online features for you to enjoy RSS: Radically simplified and streamlined user interface. Easy to sign up and use (no need to read any lengthy manuals). Clean and uncluttered view: no banner ads or promoted content. Safe and anonymous usage: keep all your personally identifiable info to yourself + benefit from https encrypted data transmission. Responsive support service providing timely assistance to everyone. Free of charge for a[...]



Meet the Feedreader’s news observing service!

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 20:56:43 +0100

After a few months of hard work and dedication, we are delighted to announce that the instant news observer from Feedreader is available at feedreader.com/observe.

 

We hope you will love this new service that lets you research and observe website news, stories and media buzz based on your own choice without subscribing to every particular site (once you find a good source you may click ‘Subscribe’ button to add it to your Feedreader Online).

 

Here are a few examples of news profiles you may start with: Make Use Of, Business Insider, CBS Sports.

 

It helps you preview any site’s RSS digest + find alternative news/feed sources for a wider range of media opportunities and choices; it also features a few important analytical and safe browsing options to make sure you can keep abreast of reputation, availability, and attitudes of every site/source you might subscribe to.




Feedreader website goes fresh, clean and mobile

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 19:01:16 +0100

Our team has recently renovated the Feedreader website’s UI in order to streamline and adapt it for mobile devices. We hope you will love our new elegant and modern look!




Get ready for the news observer by Feedreader!

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 13:51:07 +0100

Just imagine a service, which on the one hand lets you preview any site’s RSS feed without even subscribing to it in Feedreader Online, and on the other hand helps you broaden your horizons by suggesting some alternative news sources.
 
Such a “quick view” service would allow you not only to check the availability or activity of a certain website’s RSS feed (to make sure it’s not broken or outdated) before adding it, but also to find and observe more feeds\news related to similar subjects. Feedreader team is on its way to launching such an instant feed observer in early 2017, so stay tuned!




We are glad to present Deets Feedreader!

Fri, 22 Jan 2016 09:47:23 +0000

Feedreader has proudly expanded its platform with a new service - Deets Feedreader!

 

We take the challenges of user safety very seriously and that’s why we decided to start a free service that would allow you guys to check the websites’ statuses (e.g. 'live' or 'stale', safe or dangerous) before subscribing to their RSS feeds.

 

Here we go: Deets Feedreader is intended to help you delve into any website’s most important details, such as the most visited pages, safety insights, traffic stats, Whois lookup, preferred language, and more. It allows you to check all 'deets' in one place (and in a single click!) - just enter an URL and discover everything we managed to learn about that site.