Thu 13 Apr 2006
You've probably read a bit about RSS feeds and podcasting on my site in the past. Podcasts are audio shows (like radio-based talk shows, but usually in mp3 format and often specialized for a certain niche) that you can download and listen to on your mp3 player. RSS feeds are computer programs that act like homing pigeons, bringing the podcast mp3 file (or other file formats) right to the computer of the person who has subscribed to the RSS feed.
I've suggested that podcasts (and text-based subscription content, too) are great ways to promote your expertise to your niche, and RSS feeds allow you to do two things: get the file to your subscribers, or post fresh, revolving content on your site to keep the search engines happy.
But what if you want to receive news and podcasts yourself? You need an aggregator, which is what allows you to subscribe to the RSS feed. The feed will return to your aggregator on an ongoing basis, as long as you remain subscribed.
One free aggregator that I really like can be found at www.feedreader.com. This aggregator is really lightweight, meaning it won't take up a lot of space on your harddrive, and it's very easy to use, so you won't be fiddling with it constantly. Also, Feedreader lets you enjoy podcasts right on your computer, instead of on your portable mp3 player.
Once you've downloaded the "binaries" file, they have some good default subscriptions (to BBS and the Wall Street Journal). But you can subscribe to the ones you like by going to an RSS directory (there are so many, just Google "RSS directory" or go to www.2rss.com) and looking for some news or podcasts you'd like to subscribe to. Although you may want to look for one or two that are humorous to bring some levity to your day, make sure you are subscribing to text or audio files in your industry and especially to podcasts by your competition.
Find news and podcasts at www.2rss.com
Need more help? Try:http://www.feedreader.com/node/19 which can take you through the steps quite clearly.