What Authors Should Do Before Google Reader Goes Away
Ever since Google announced on Wednesday that it will be shutting down their Google Reader service on July 1st, the blogosphere has been all a twitter about this very unexpected announcement. I know I was incredibly disappointed by this announcement because, as a faithful Google Reader user, I consumed most of my blog updates through this easy to use service. But as a blogger, I know this change is going to effect our readership as well. As an author who blogs, you need to pay attention to these changes and prepare yourself before the July 1st shutdown.
There are several things you can do...
GET YOUR NEWSLETTER ROLLING
If you have been putting off starting a newsletter, now is the perfect time to start. A newsletter is a direct link between you and your fans, connecting with them directly in their in-box. They have to opt in for this service so you know that they are interested and hungry to know more about you, your books, and other information you might offer. They don't have to go anywhere...the information goes right to their inbox.
We are huge fans of an excellent service called MailChimp and it's free for the first 2,000 subscribers. It's easy to use, has great templates, and provides a fantastic service. Best yet, what fixes our Google Reader dilemma, is that MailChim offers a RSS to email option which will service your blog directly to your subscriber's email.
TAP INTO TWITTER
I follow several bloggers who personally did away with their Google Reader feeds a long time ago. What they did to replace it was tap into their Twitter feeds to stay updated with news, blogs, etc. It's really easy to do when you curate your own news feeds by creating lists.
Lists are very easy to create. Simply go to your home page and find the "lists" page.
Below your avatar and Twitter info you will see an option to "create a list":
Create lists of topics, industries, genres, etc., that are important to you, your brand, what you're interested in, and so on. Add a description of who is included in this list. It's a great way to organize the information you follow. Note that these lists will be visibile to anyone who wants to see them, so if you want to make them private you can. Once you land on the lists that you want to create you can start adding to your lists. When you follow someone there is a little icon next to the "follow" botton that you will select. A menu will show up and you select "add or remove from lists":
Once you have that selected you can pick which list they want to go on and you will be off to the races!
LET YOUR READERS KNOW
It's great to communicate where fans can connect with you and what avenues you have lined up for them to stay in touch. Encourage them to sign up for your newsletter where your blog will be emailed directly to them. Keep them posted on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+ and more. Make sure they are aware!
SIGN UP FOR GOOGLE+
If you aren't familiar with Google+ I've found that Guy Kawasaki's book What The Plus! Google+ for the Rest of Us to be very helpful. By setting up specific "circles" within your profile of certain topics, genres, industries, etc., (much like your Twitter lists) it will help you organize and categorize the information that you follow and help you connect with a specific group of people.
With the ever changing technical landscape, it's important to stay on top of changes and advances to make the most of your online platform. Stay tuned to Mixtus Media and we will be sure to bring you the latest and break it down for you so it is easy to understand.
OTHER READER ALTERNATIVES
Lifehacker.com shared a great article on alternatives to Google Reader, which we found very helpful.
QUESTION: How are you going to stay connected with blogs that you follow? What do you recommend? What is your reaction to this announcement? Leave a comment below to let us know!
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