When it comes to figuring out great topics to write about, there are tons of resources you can turn to. One great resource is an RSS feed. By subscribing to RSS feeds, you can collect a vast array of information in one place. The following are RSS feeds that you can use to discover content ideas that are not only interesting, but even hot, trending topics.
Choosing an RSS Reader
Before you get started subscribing to RSS feeds, you need a good RSS reader. Google Reader is a good one to turn to, especially if you are already always signed into your Google account for Gmail and Google+.
I like it because you can easily organize your RSS subscriptions into groups by topic, source, and any other grouping you choose. It also has a great search feature that allows you to search across all of your feeds, within a specific folder / topic, or within just one particular feed which can come in useful if you are searching for specific content ideas based on keywords.
Also, if you’re using Google Chrome, I would suggest getting the RSS Subscription Extension by Google. This puts a little RSS icon in your browser’s address bar so you can see how many RSS feeds are available on any page you are viewing.
If you’re not a fan of Google Chrome, Firefox has a similar RSS icon built into their browser’s address bar that will do something similar. These will both help you discover RSS feeds that may not necessarily be published obviously on a website, blog, or news site.
RSS Feeds for Content Idea Discovery
Now, let’s look at some RSS feeds you can subscribe to for content inspiration.
Top Industry Blog RSS Feeds
The first thing most people will start with is blogs. Subscribe to blogs in your industry and simply browse through the titles of new posts every day. This will help you quickly see any new trending topics as many blogs will jump onto stories as quickly as possible. If you’re not sure what the top blogs are, start with sites like Alltop where you can browser blogs by topic.
Need a quick content idea? How about a roundup post? These are generally daily or weekly posts where you simply curate the latest posts on a particular topic and share it with your audience. Well-known examples of roundup posts in the online marketing industry include SearchCap from Search Engine Land and Marketing Day from Marketing Land. They make the best of it by posting links to their own posts first, then links to other sites beneath them. You can also do them as a one-off post for a particular topic, such as this one with 79 link building resources.
Do you want to subscribe to a blog, but they have an overwhelming amount of posts published per day? Try finding category-specific feeds so you can get to just the topics you want. Sites like Mashable offer several RSS feeds for different topics. Alternatively, you can go to a specific category on the blog and try the RSS icon in your browser’s address bar to see if that category has its own feed.
This can help you reduce the number of new items in your RSS reader so it will not be as overwhelming.
Official Blogs and News RSS Feeds
If you want to be sure you’re up to date with the latest news from a particular social network, tool, or other source, don’t forget to subscribe to their official blogs. This can help you either be the first one on top of a new story or at least the only one writing their post from the official word of the company vs. off of other speculation.
Blog Comment RSS Feeds
Guess where some of the best topic ideas come from? The people who comment on blog posts. Let’s say you are looking for more content ideas about social media, so you want to follow comments from a top social media blog. You’ll probably see questions like this one which was asked in the comments on a post about Facebook Engagement.
You can now see that there may be interest in a post about how musicians can increase engagement on their Facebook pages. Chances are, if you monitor comments, you’ll get lots of great ideas just like this.
So how do you subscribe to comments? It varies on different blogs. On this one, for example, you can use the RSS icon in your browser’s address bar to see an RSS feed specific for comments.
You can also use this to get the comments feed for one particular post instead of all of the posts on the blog.
The typical structure for a comment RSS feed (if the blog is on WordPress and uses the /%postname%/ permalink structure) is http://domain.com/comments/feed/ or sometimes http://domain.com/comments/feed.
The RSS feed for comments on blogs using different platforms or those with third party comment systems can vary or even be impossible to find. But some third party comment systems can make it easy. For example, if you’re having an issue with the default RSS feed URL but the blog uses Disqus, you can go about subscribing to it a different way. First, view the blog’s source code and do a CTRL+F to find disqus_shortname.
Then enter the following address into your browser’s address bar and replace shortname with the shortname you found in the code.
Now you will have the RSS feed for all comments on the blog.
Google Alert RSS Feeds
Google Alerts doesn’t just deliver to email – you can get it to deliver to your RSS reader as well. This means that you can perform any search query and be the first to know when Google indexes a new web page about that query. For example, if you want to write about new features on LinkedIn, create a Google alert for intitle:new linkedin and choose result type news. Then be sure to select Deliver to Feed.
Now you’ll get new Google Alerts for any topic you choose delivered right to your RSS reader.
Forum RSS Feeds
Many forums have their own RSS feeds so you can see new posts within specific topics in your RSS reader. Take Digital Point, for example. Their feeds are right on the homepage – you don’t even need to register to see the latest topics.
Unfortunately, not all forums have RSS enabled and, if they do, it’s not that easy to find the feeds. For those that don’t make the RSS feeds obvious, you will want to navigate to the forum topic of your choice to see if the RSS icon pops up in your browser’s address bar.
Why are forums great for content topic ideas? They’re the place people generally go with questions. Not only that, but if you can publish your post quickly, you might even be able to sneak it in as an answer to the original poster’s question. Just watch out for forums that are strict on self-promotion. Ironically, you would be better off using a pseudonym that has nothing to do with your website and posting the link as just a helpful answer vs. “We just published a blog post that might answer your question…”
Q&A Network RSS Feeds
Speaking of places where people ask questions, question and answer networks are a hotbed of content ideas. Sites like LinkedIn Answers, Quora, and Yahoo Answers all have RSS feeds for questions within specific categories / topics. Simply navigate to the category / topic of your choice and use the RSS icon in your browser’s address bar to subscribe.
Now you will receive content ideas from the questions that people are asking about those topics on a daily basis.
Social Bookmarking RSS Feeds
Want to see topics getting added to or discussed on social bookmarking sites? Subscribe to their feeds. Some social bookmarking networks that have RSS feeds based on topics include the following.
- Reddit – Visit the Subreddit related to your industries and use the RSS icon on your browser’s address bar.
- Inbound.org – Social bookmarking for Internet marketing. Use the RSS icon on your browser’s address bar on the homepage and you will see all of the RSS feeds per topic.
- DZone – Social bookmarking for developers. Using the RSS icon on your browser’s address bar, you can get RSS feeds for topics using the tags.
- Designbump and Design Float – Social bookmarking for designers. Designbump has one main feed and Design Float has Subscribe links in each category.
- Hacker News – Social bookmarking for technology. One main RSS link in the footer of the website.
There you have it! If you subscribe to RSS feeds for related sites in your industry that fit the above descriptions, you’ll be on your way to creating a RSS reader full of content ideas just waiting to happen. What other sites would you suggest subscribing to? Please share in the comments!