Posted on 16th February.
By in Content, Featured, Online Marketing

Most brand blogs or magazines can be subscribed to with a trusty RSS reader. Sign up to all your competitor’s feeds, and you can know where they’re up to! Simple.

Why RSS readers are super handy:

  1. You can see what your competitors and information sources are publishing, in real time.
  2. When someone sends you the above content later in the day, you can say ‘yes, I saw that. How interesting.’ and not ‘how did you find that?’
  3. You can do both 1 & 2 with your morning coffee, and feel like you’re on point before the day has started.

RSS readers are not a new thing and this isn’t a new technique, yet a surprising amount of businesses who invest in brand content don’t use them, only to be surprised when their agencies can cite the latest successful content pieces from their competitors. That’s not unexpected – it’s what a good agency should be able to do – but marketing managers and everyone around them not using RSS readers in-house is like trying to guess what’s in The Independant by buying The Sun. That’s a terrible analogy, as you could guess they’d publish the complete opposite view of every piece, but hopefully you can get my meaning. These RSS readers, they’re dead good.

Here’s how you do it.

Get yourself an RSS reader

There are tonnes of these things, all of which have unique features. If you’re only using it to watch your competitor’s content, however, I recommend something simple. I use Digg Reader as it’s super simple and also because I’m a Digg fanboy.

If you’re not feeling Digg or need other features, read MakeUseOf’s 5 Minimalist RSS Readers post, although I’ll be assuming you’ve picked Digg Reader for the below points.

Dear clients, once you have an RSS reader set up, give me a shout. Digg Reader lets you import lists, so I can send you a list of your competitor blogs to save you the steps below.

Create A Folder

Create a folder for your topic or list through the add button (bottom left) . This is less important if you know you’ll only be using Digg Reader for competitors, but be aware you may start to use RSS readers furiously from this point, so it would be good to start best practice now.

I’m re-doing my productivity folder as an exampleDigg add folder

Add your sources and competitors

Using the same add button, start searching for your competitor blogs/magazines. Todoist is a great productivity blog with a unique name, so they show up easy:

Add sites to your RSS reader

If you can’t find them in a search, find the blog in question through your browser, then copy & paste it into the reader search bar. This solves most issues with not being able to see the blogs you’re looking for.

Once added, drag and drop into the folder and you’re done!

Final step: spy away!

That is all you need to do. Bookmark your reader and quickly scan through the competitor with your morning coffee every day so you never miss a competitor’s beat.

If you’re looking for an agency who keeps you up to date on competitor content, get in touch. Competitor content audits are one of the very first steps we take in a new content campaign.

Think I’m missing a trick by using Digg Reader? Let me know if other readers have better functionality while retaining this simplicity.