Search for “B2B Marketing” on Google and this is what you get:
- 390,000 results in the last 30 days
- 124,000 in the past 7 days
- 18,700 in the past 24 hours
This staggering flow of information consists of content such as white papers, research, agency solutions, advertorials, case studies, blog posts, editorial stories, news and real-time content. You’d be forgiven for feeling intimidated, out of the loop, ill informed or left behind. I asked a number of industry professionals, clients and business friends how they keep up with B2B marketing and industry news each week; most can manage just a quick flick through a magazine and a skim through a couple of email newsletters.
Enter mobile RSS. I switched from web-based to mobile RSS a year ago and it has transformed the way I consume business-related content. Mobile RSS has allowed me to browse and read more content, to easily archive and retrieve items of interest and to constantly optimise my list of feeds so that I read what’s relevant to me and weed out what’s not.
Here is how you can embrace mobile RSS reading and never look back:
Step 1: Define your mobile reading behaviour
Before diving straight into mobile RSS you need a little bit of behaviour planning; decide what your reading patterns currently are and what you want them to be:
- How much time could you have available each day to read?
- W here are you most likely to read?
- Which part of the day?
After a few false starts, I dedicated most of my commuting time and any idling time (while not at home or the office) to mobile RSS reading. Initially, this included commuting, queues and waiting rooms, but lately I have also added walking. Constantly staring at my mobile’s screen while walking has worked wonders for me, but it comes with obvious dangers, so I am not sure I would recommend it! Either way, you need to find what works best for you and trial and error is the best way to achieve it.
Step 2: Select a mobile reader
There are three kinds of readers: desktop, web and mobile based. I never bothered with a desktop reader (like Outlook) as I prefer the web-based ones for allowing me to access my feeds from anywhere. I have been using Google Reader for a while (a great tool – highly recommended) but after a few months I realised that I wasn’t actually reading anything. Content started gathering dust, unread items hit 1000+ and guilt started building up. In the end it became just another list of stuff I planned to read but never did, like my saved email newsletters, digital clippings and downloaded PDFs. Then I bought MobileRSS (£1.79 from iTunes Store) which syncs seamlessly with Google Reader and puts all my feeds in the palm of my hand. I haven’t tried any other readers, but never needed to and from what I have read MobileRSS is by far the best.
Step 3: Create your first RSS feed list
Fact: there is no such thing as a best list. Your list must evolve with time as you add new exiting feeds and remove poor, irrelevant or time-wasting ones. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Publishers whose email newsletters you already receive are guaranteed to have RSS feeds
- Feeds from B2B Marketing magazine, Business Exchange, Duct Tape Marketing, Econsultancy, MarketingProfs, Social Media B2B and others
- Feeds from your industry’s portals, magazines and blogs
- Google Alerts of your brand, competitors, customers and prospects
- Twitter users and Twitter searches you have set up
- Feeds from your customers, prospects and competition
And for your extra curricular enjoyment you can add feeds relevant to other topics of interest such as hobbies, sport, gossip, news, etc. I personally use my mobile feeds only for business-related content and get my other news from publishers’ own mobile apps.
Step 4: Make a clean start
Don’t let the past weigh you down and hinder your well-meaning efforts:
- Delete any old, unread PDFs rotting on your computer. If you haven’ read them by now, you never will
- Unsubscribe from any newsletters coming from publishers whose RSS feeds you have subscribed to. Try and keep your email inbox for normal communication and send other content to your mobile reader
- Empty those folders of emails and newsletters you’ve been saving to read when you get a chance
Step 5: Observe and refine
Watch how you use mobile RSS and turn your behaviour patterns into rules. Here are 6 rules I made for myself:
- You missed it, you delete it. Looking at 500 unread feeds on a Monday morning after a two-day break is enough to wreck your otherwise upbeat mood. My advice is don’t try to retro-read; DELETE!
- Things worth keeping stick them in favourites (all you need to do is star them)
- Things worth reading in detail and exploring further, email them to yourself so that you can read them later on when not on the move
- Delete feeds without introduction copy. Some publishers offer feeds that include only a heading forcing you to click through to the actual web page to read any further content. I find this rather inconsiderate and prefer feeds where either the full story or a substantial introduction is included
- Delete feeds where the content depends too much on visuals, like photography or graphs. Such content is not suitable for a mobile screen so you are better off keeping the respective email newsletters
- Keep your feeds as specific as possible. Subscribing to the generic Digg feed you’ll end up reading Digg news all day which will suffocate any other feeds you have. For example, I subscribe to Digg/Technology instead, which produces a much smaller, and more relevant to me, number of posts
Your mobile RSS feeds can very quickly reach unmanageable numbers, as adding new ones is easy and often very tempting. Ultimately though, it’s not about quantity, but quality and relevance to your needs.