In Defense of RSS: Why I’m Still a Google Reader Junkie

A 2011 University of Southern California survey found that the average American is bombarded by the equivalent of 174 newspapers worth of data a day. I can only image what the number looks like for a typical public relations professional.

Every PR person I know has their own method for staying on top of news for clients and personal interests. Without consuming all this information, we limit media relations’ effectiveness. How else can you be aware of the trends unfolding in the media and on social channels? From Google Alerts to Twitter, your options are varied and expansive. However, I always find myself turning back to one tool: Google Reader.

Some might say that Google Reader is outdated; who cares about RSS anymore?  But thanks to a variety of features and a simplistic design, you will be hard pressed to convince me of a better way to digest the news.

Here are a few reasons to consider Google Reader:

  • It is simple. While RSS might not be top of mind for you, most Web sites, especially those that develop their own content, have RSS feeds on their Web page. By adding the Google Reader app to your Bookmarks Toolbar, you can subscribe to feeds on almost any site with one click. Even better, you don’t need to share your personal information to gain access to content, as you do for newsletters or e-mail alerts. Need to also monitor Google Alerts? You can direct them, along with Twitter feeds, to Google Reader too.
  • It is searchable.  Being able to search all the content in my Google Reader is critical because I scan a lot of news on a daily basis. Sometimes I remember part of a story but forgot the outlet or the author. Thankfully, I can search in Google Reader and find the content I am looking for quickly. Even better, I can limit my search to items I have read or items from a particular feed.
  • It is social. If you read something interesting you can also share it with your friends and colleagues right through Google Reader.  Integration with Google + makes syndicating with people in your circle easy, but you can also synch your Reader with Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and Instapaper, amongst others. Fans of FlipBoard can also synch Google Reader with the app for reading on the go.
  • It is smart. Interested in a particular topic but not sure who else is writing about it? Based on your current subscriptions, Google Reader will recommend other feeds you might want to subscribe to. Google Reader also reports trends based on your content so you can see what feeds you read the most, what time of day you are using the tool and what tags you are using frequently.

The next time you complain about how much information is hitting you inbox on a daily basis, take a moment to consider a transition to Google Reader. As a media relations professional, I believe Google Reader is an invaluable tool in your PR arsenal. Start small, dedicating 10 minutes a day to transition your reading to Google Reader and, in no time, you will be telling your coworkers all about it.


Connect with Erin:

Phone: 212.584.5477
Twitter: @erin_e_burke
LinkedIn: Erin Burke