RSS-ing yourself is not an exercise in vanity. It's your no-cost, real-time way of monitoring – and engaging with – the blogosphere. Set up keyword searches on your name, company, brand, product or service. The results you'll get via RSS may surprise you. Step two is to leave comments on a blog where someone mentions you. The blogger will be astonished that you've discovered his/her blog and taken the time to visit.
How to RSS Yourself
There are two steps to RSS'ing yourself:
1. You create persistent keyword searches
2. You subscribe to those search results via RSS
The basic idea is that you use RSS (RSS 101) to set up persistent keyword searches. You search on your name, your company name, product, brand, service, etc. And any keyword phrases related to your industry or your interests.
I have keyword searches set up on “debbie weil,” “the corporate blogging book,” “corporate blogging,” “corporate blogging guidelines,” “ceo bloggers,” etc. You get the idea.
Then you have the results of those keyword searches delivered to you through your RSS newsreader. Technically, you “subscribe” to your keyword search results just as you would subscribe to a blog.
Set up persistent keyword searches using Google, Bloglines and Technorati
For example, type your name “in quotes” into the Technorati search bar (as below). When the results come up, look for the little orange “Subscribe” icon on the right. Click (or right-click) the icon to copy the link. Then insert that link into your RSS reader of choice as a new “subscription.”
I use Bloglines because it's Web-based and I find it simple to use. Some folks like Google's Reader. (Both are free.)
Below are what my keyword search results look like in my Bloglines account. The first screenshot shows you the RSS results for a Google news alert search on “debbie weil.”
1. Google News Alert on “debbie weil” viewed through Bloglines
2. Technorati results on “debbie weil” viewed through Bloglines
3. Bloglines search on “debbie weil” viewed through Bloglines
Why three separate searches? They deliver different results
If you're wondering why I use Google news alerts, Technorati and Bloglines to do the persistent searching, it's because they deliver different results: mentions on blogs, in news articles, in other languages, etc. RSS searching is still an imperfect science. But hey, it's free. And it's useful. No more excuses… go for it in 2007!
P.S. Another useful idea
Anil Dash, VP and Chief Evangelist for Six Apart does something clever. Instead of trying to list every mention of his name in the press, he uses the results of a Google news search as a short-hand link to the most up-to-date list of articles mentioning or quoting him.
To do this, go to news.google.com. Type your name or company name (inside quotation marks) into the search bar. When the results page comes up, look in the browser window. That funny looking URL is the link to your Google news results.
Click the Google News link below and you'll see how Anil does it:
RSS 101 (my 5-step guide to get started)
RSS: Should You Bother? (great round-up by Mark Goren)
Untangle the World Wide Web With RSS (Reuters – Dec. 29, 2006)
Blogging, Podcasting & RSS 101 (my round-up of links)