This week saw the death of Google Reader, an RSS client to help you follow all your favorite blogs. The Internet was up in arms when Google made the announcement, and many went to social media to voice their frustration.
I first found out about Reader on Twitter, and will be the first to admit I wasn’t a happy blogger when it happened. For me, I relied on Reader to keep updated on all my 100+ blogs I’m subscribed to and share useful content on social media.
My RSS client of choice for Mac is the popular Reeder, which lets you sync your Google Reader account with the application. It was a seamless integration, you only needed to have a Reader account and you were all set. In fact most RSS clients relied on Google Reader’s back-end which allowed you to use pretty much any news reading application.
But herein lied the problem, these apps on delivered a front-end interface which relied on Google’s API. There also wasn’t a need to build a competitor since Google offered the service for free. So when Google decided to pull the plug on Reader, it rendered all these applications useless. No wonder it got loyal users of RSS feeds upset, some of these app didn’t come free.
Why RSS Matters For Inbound Marketers?
One of the main goals of inbound marketing is to establish thought leadership. Which often involves content curation, that is cherry picking the most useful and insightful posts to share with your audience. Doing so, not only helps you stay abreast of all industry news and developments – but also helps you position yourself as trustworthy source of information.
For every inbound marketer, an RSS reader is an invaluable tool because it keeps you updated with all your sources in one place. You also don’t need to remember visiting every single blog individually. And it serves as a place of inspiration for your own content.
Now that Google Reader is no longer in use, it’s time to look at the alternatives. And yes, there is hope, although nothing will truly replace Reader, the scramble to claim the RSS crown has started. Here are the top picks of Google Reader alternatives available:
Feedly (Free – Web, Android & iOS)
Since Google announced it’s impending retirement of Reader, Feedly has attracted 8 million users to its RSS reader service. It has also come to introduce its own backend called Feedly Cloud to handle all your subscriptions – much like Reader used to do.
Feedly’s back-end allows you sync your feeds with other applications such as Reeder for iPhone and NextGen Reader for Windows 8. Although it’s still early days in terms of syncing options for 3rd party applications, Feedly appears to be in the driving seat to take over from Google Reader.
It offers a web application, along with an iOS and Android application. Feedly also integrates with social sharing services like Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn which allows you to share directly or through Buffer, Instapaper or Pocket.
Digg Reader (Free – Web & iOS)
For the past 3 months, Betaworks (the folks behind Digg) have been very busy getting Digg Reader ready for the public.
While elegantly designed, Digg Reader lacks some of the social sharing options which are available on Feedly. It does enable you to save posts to Instapaper, Pocket and Readability. And also lets you link your Twitter and Facebook accounts.
However the RSS reader is built into the Digg experience instead of being a standalone app. Digg is basically a news aggregator and link sharing website, whereby the most popular articles that get the most diggs are displayed on the front page.
Digg Reader displays red dots next to the news item that are supposed to indicate the popularity of each post to help you filter out the news worth reading.
Fever ($30 – Web)
Unlike the other options, Fever is something you need to pay for. Another distinguishing feature is it’s a self-hosted service, meaning you install Fever onto your own server which you pay to keep it running.
This may put off some people because of the technological know-how involved in setting up and configuring the app. However folks have reported the process is relatively easy, and takes a a couple of minutes to set up.
The main appeal with Fever is it doesn’t rely on third party services. You’re in full control of the data and the server you maintain. And you don’t have to worry about your RSS reader ever shutting down due to a low adoption rate.
Feedly appears the best equipped to manage the tasks of the inbound marketer through its vast sharing abilities. Whereas Digg Reader delivers an easy way to discover new content. And Fever is a self-reliant way keeping your RSS subscriptions safe.
It’s only been a couple of days since Google Reader shut down, and new RSS readers are popping up from every corner. From an inbound marketers perspective, the ability to share posts within the reader is essential. It’s convenient and is a real time saver for curating content.
Do you use an RSS reader? Which one is your favourite? Let us know in the comments below.
Image by mattgalligan