A Magnificent Symphony

Time to watch today’s videos: Approximately 31 minutes

Additional time to complete today’s action steps:

Depends on where you are with ideas. Assuming you’re all caught up as you begin this day, you could spend thirty minutes on ideas…or 2-3 hours exploring…

Thirty Day Challenge PDF Transcripts are also available below each video.

Day 01 Introduction Video | Thirty Day Challenge

And so it begins…

2008TDC01_Intro_Day1

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A Magnificent Symphony In Four Parts…

2008TDC01_Four_Parts_1

The Key Concepts:

1) Market/Keyword Research

2) Traffic

3) Conversion

4) Product

If you follow these steps, in this order – the market will tell you what they want to buy. You’ll be in a position to offer them a product they are already prepared to buy. And that’s a good place to be…

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Tools Of The Trade…

2008TDC01_Tools_Of_The_Trade_2

Make sure you’ve installed the Thirty Day Challenge Toolbar.

It’s a good idea to go through and catch up on any Preseason training you may have missed – you can do that from the Preseason Catch Up Page.

Things to get and/or get familiar with:

Flock

Twitter and Twhirl

Google Reader

StumbleUpon

YouTube

Google Subscribed Links

Friendfeed

The Video Tips

and The 30DC Forums

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The Getting Of Ideas…

2008TDC01_Get_An_Idea_3

A great place for getting niche ideas is Amazon’s Magazines and Newspapers area.

Try to come up with 5-10 different niche ideas. You don’t have to be an expert, just curious…

One way to begin keeping track of information relevant to your niches is to search through Google News and use Google Alerts to create feeds for your Google Reader.

Add to FacebookAdd to NewsvineAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Furl

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We’re going to learn some more tips, tricks and techniques from Ed to help us get even more out of Friendfeed. Let’s take a look at the video below:

In the last video, Ed had said – he sees Friendfeed becoming this huge database of people and their interactions on the web. They’ve given us many, many ways to interact with that database and alert us to things that are relevant to us. That will have an important impact on us when it comes to our rankings in the search engines and general SEO (search engine optimization).

If you’re not sure about what we’re talking about – not a big deal right now. Don’t panic. We can worry about rankings and SEO later. For today, we’re going to be learning how to filter, manage and use Friendfeed in an effective way…Let’s get started.

The first thing we’ll be looking at is the “Friends” Tab.

Friendfeed - Friends Tab

Friendfeed - Friends Tab

This is a feed showing the different activities of all of your “friends.”

Ed teases us for a second about “Market Samurai” – a state of the art keyword research tool that is in a limited beta release at the time of this writing. Members of the “Immediate Edge” have access – and yes, it rules!

Over in the upper right corner, notice there are several “filtering” options available to you. You can see the “Best of the day,” or “week” or “month.” These are items that have shown a lot of interest during the timeframe. Anytime you use one of these filters, you can go and grab that RSS feed and add it to your Google Reader. If you have questions about how to do that, take a look at the Google Reader post.

Friendfeed - Kern-Rolled

Friendfeed - "Kern-Rolled"

Then he gets “Kern-rolled” by Nez – that’s just classic guys…a nice little ukulele video featuring Frank Kern.

Back to business, Ed scrolls down through that list generated by that filter. He then filters by the week. One of the cool things is how this web-based interface keeps the flow of the conversation steady and smooth. Ed mentions that there are applications, like Twhirl (which we ARE using for Twitter) – that can be used for Friendfeed.

Ed doesn’t like using Twhirl for Friendfeed because of how disjointed the conversation can become. It bumps you up whenever you comment – and that’s not really beneficial to your work flow. Part of this preseason training is about learning how to use these tools to help you work smarter, not harder.

Friendfeed is really designed to be used either from within its web-based interface at a time that suits you. Alternatively, you can use its superb search functions to create feeds that you can add to your Google reader and interact with them at a time that works well for you.

Notice how Ed is able to watch a video right from the feed – he’s able to stay within the flow of the conversation and read, watch videos, make comments, etc.

Let’s think about you for a minute – think about how you can use this in your niche. Anytime we’re watching Ed do this stuff, try to keep in mind ways to apply the techniques that are working for him – so you can translate this information into action steps you can take within your niche.

No niche yet? – not a problem. We’ll be getting into that soon enough within the challenge. In the meantime, if you familiarize your self with using these tools, it will be easy to go back and apply them within any niche you choose.

One of the ways Ed slices and dices the Friendfeed conversation is to look at anything he’s put up that has been commented on. Of course, he can go and grab that RSS feed. He can also look at the things he’s liked – and grab that feed…

Taking a look at the search box – he can search for anything containing the “#30dc” tag.

Friendfeed - Search Box

Friendfeed - Search Box

Friendfeed will deliver results containing that term, whether or not Ed has been following them. And of course, he can grab that feed and stay on top of anything happening around the “#30dc” tag.

Can you see how Friendfeed becomes this vast storehouse of data that you can slice and dice and mix things up? Then you can interact with that data, jump into the conversation – which translates into more exposure in the search engines, and more traffic for your site.

Now Ed loves the Friendfeed rooms – let’s look again at the Thirty Day Challenge room. This is a place where thirty day challengers can comment and interact on anything shared into this room.

Notice the “Share Something” button.

Friendfeed - Share Something

Friendfeed - Share Something

You can click and drag that button up into your Flock toolbar. That’s actually not easy to show with screen captures – but you can see Ed do it in the video. Now wherever you are in your browser, you can share something back to that room.

Remember, you can create your own room – maybe for your team, maybe for your niche. You can grab the “share something” button for that room too. I would recommend re-naming it after you drop it into your toolbar.

Simply drag the button into your Flock toolbar – THEN right click it.

The drop down menu appears, click on “Properties” and change the name. (There are also other options, like delete, etc. – pretty self explanatory. If you have any questions – feel free to post a comment.)

I’ve gone ahead and placed that button up in MY toolbar – now every time I make a new post to this blog, I’ll share it to the Thirty Day Challenge room. You can bet I’ll do it as soon as I publish this post. 🙂 You’ll see…

If I’ve done a good job, there’s a good chance people will leave a comment, and maybe share the link with others. Can you feel the power yet? Are you beginning to think about how you could apply this knowledge into your niche?

Ed does a quick search and shows how it is limited to the room or tab he’s in. He then goes to the “Everyone” tab and does a search for “thirty day challenge”, which brings up pertinent results and some YouTube videos from all Friendfeed users. And yes, he can grab the RSS feed….

Living on the edge, he does a search for “Trout fishing” and there are pages and pages of results. Trout fishing on Del.icio.us – tweets from Twitter, blog posts, Digg mentions – and as more and more people use it – more and more data is available and more conversations are happening. If you’re doing research into a niche, or trying to expand your reach into a niche – this is a powerful way to gather information and jump into the conversation.

Another technique is to use the advanced search – which give you several search options to filter your results.

You may notice that “Advanced Search” doesn’t appear on your pages or tabs. Not to worry – If you run a basic search – the page changes and looks like this – giving you the advanced search option….

Friendfeed - Advanced Search

Friendfeed - Advanced Search

I know this is probably getting old – but you can grab that RSS feed too. These advanced searches are available at all the various tabs, once you do a basic search. So you could do an advanced search through your friends, or yourself, or everyone, etc.

Let’s look again at the “room” level. You can “like” things, make comments, link and reshare – and filter in several ways – depending on your control level within the room.

Friendfeed - Other Interactive Options

Friendfeed - Other Interactive Options

Each of these options/filters can produce a customized RSS feed for you to grab.

Come the Thirty Day Challenge in August, we’ll be learning even more about using Friendfeed in our niches and/or within our teams. The thing to do between now and then is to get used to using it. Also, it would be a really good idea to create a room for your team – or join the room your team has already created.

How cool would it be to find something interesting, click on your “share something” button – each room gets its own custom button – and alert everyone on your team through Friendfeed? It allows you to connect with everyone while minimizing your own work flow interruptions.

That’s it for today’s Friendfeed tips. Remember to hug your kids…

Today’s training is all about Friendfeed, a service that will be a pretty crucial element for us in this year’s Thirty Day Challenge. Let’s take a look at Ed’s video below…

Using Friendfeed for the Thirty Day Challenge

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Before I start in with my notes, let’s take off our internet marketing caps for a second. I know it may not be easy – but shift gears with me here…

Internet marketing, making money online, affiliate marketing – call it whatever you want to. At the end of the day, money is moved whenever a sale is made. If nothing is sold – there’s no money to be made. So – to successfully make money online, you end up having to talk about a sale of some kind. Let’s talk about sales…

There are a few ways to approach sales – without turning this into a sales seminar…Let’s say there are approaches that could be described as “adversarial” and on the other end of the spectrum – there are approaches that could be described as “advisory.”

I don’t want to knock on any specific person or job – but one of the most prevalent stereotypes involving salespeople is the “used-car salesman.” The image brought to mind is the guy sitting across the table – being pushy, trying to close the deal – overcoming the objections – and creating urgency by limiting the time the price is valid.

I’ve met car salesmen who truly seemed to have my interests in mind. I’ve also come across a few who were out to sell me a particular car. They sized me up and decided what they wanted to sell me before I even had a chance to tell them what I wanted or what I could afford. In those instances, it felt adversarial – their intent was to line their pocket, not serve their (potential) customer.

An emergent sales approach in the last decade or two involves taking on the role of consultant or advisor. It means asking a lot of open ended questions, finding out what a customer is looking for, what they need. An advisor wouldn’t try to push any certain product or agenda – rather, through conversation – they would begin to work out a solution that is the ideal fit for the customer’s problem.

In one sense, it takes more work – more of an investment on the salesperson’s part to make sales this way. But if done well, if the salesperson has used conversation to connect with their client – to assess the problem and come up with a solution – the end result is a customer who trusts you, who is ready to make their purchase and will remain a satisfied customer.

It’s this idea of conversation Ed is talking about here. The conversation can now happen online. And that is the power of services like Twitter and Friendfeed. You get to have those conversations with potential customers. You get to create those relationships, and become known as a problem solver. Solve enough problems for enough people – the money will follow.

I know, I know – I’ve digressed from the lesson. I’ll get back to it in a few sentences. Just think about this – a conversation probably brought you here. Maybe a blog post or an interesting article or a search – whatever it was, you’re still reading this. So, something has held your interest. You’re seeing the process in action, you’re part of this conversation – and you’re going to learn how to put this process into action for yourself in your own niche….I’ll get off my soapbox now, let’s get back to Friendfeed…

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Friendfeed is a great way to communicate with a group of people. It will be an important tool for communication. We’ll take it kind of slow, because if you get into Friendfeed too far, too fast – it could be like trying to take a drink out of a fire hose. (I’ve heard that can really hurt.)

One of the key concepts to keep in mind – it’s not about the volume of content Friendfeed sends out – it’s about the ability to create conversations around bits of content. This is where Friendfeed excels as a conversational platform.

By the way, the use of the word “conversation” here implies a two-way communication.

People try to do this with Twitter, but Twitter isn’t designed as a conversation platform – like Instant Messaging or Skype. It’s a micro-blogging platform – designed around the idea of short, 140 character posts. People try to use it as a two-way conversational tool – and it can sort of work that way. But at the core, that’s not what micro-blogging is meant to accomplish.

Friendfeed takes any piece of content and provides a mechanism to filter and stream that content – allowing people to vote and/or comment on it. It doesn’t “generate” the content per se – it gives you a place to gather or aggregate this content from several sources, turning it into a feed – and then turning it into a conversation.

If you follow Ed on Friendfeed, you’ll see just about everything Ed is doing online. It could be a new picture on Flickr, a new video on YouTube, a new blog post, his latest “Stumble” – etc. It’s been referred to as a “Life-streaming” application.

When it’s all said and done – the more times you are able to communicate to your market in a non-threatening way – without getting in their face with a “hard-sell” – the more successful you will be. The more times you’re able to make contacts, build rapport and get your offer in front of them – and they can respond to you – the more likely you will be to make sales and the more successful you will be.

In this regard, Twitter and Friendfeed are two of the most powerful tools currently available for opening up the conversation and allowing online business people to interact with their potential customers.

As you read on, we’ll see how to create a Friendfeed account and sign in. We’ll also take a look at Ed’s feed, so you can get familiar with using Friendfeed. There are a lot of tools and options that we will be able to explore later on. But let’s take it slowly, to keep from getting overwhelmed and/or distracted…

So let’s get started – click the picture below – and let’s go sign in to Friendfeed:

Friendfeed - Sign In or Create Account

Friendfeed - Sign In or Create Account

In my case, I’m going to have to create an account. So – step one: create account

Friendfeed - Create Account

Friendfeed - Create Account

Step 2 – Find your friends – here, we can find Facebook friends and/or import our address book.

Friendfeed - Find Your Friends

Friendfeed - Find Your Friends

Friendfeed is a great way to keep your Facebook news feed up to date. It’s a bit advanced for today, but it’s something we’ll want to look at later. We could also add people from our e-mail address books. Again, we can come back to this step later.

Friendfeed - Popular Friendfeeders

Friendfeed - Popular FriendFeeders

We could also add popular Friendfeed users – but we’ll skip it for now to avoid getting overwhelmed. Beware the fire hose…

Next Step – Share something – here we can add things like our Google reader or blog or YouTube, Twitter, and many other services (Seesmic, Flickr, etc.)

Friendfeed - Share Something

Friendfeed - Share Something

Look at that list! I mean seriously, that’s a huge list!

I’m going to go ahead and share a few as I’m writing up this post. I’ve been dying to do this. Watch how easy this is…

First, Google Reader – I click on the link that says Google Reader and this pops up:

Friendfeed - Share Google Reader

Friendfeed - Share Google Reader

Uh-oh – so far I haven’t paid attention to my “shared items” page. Where do I find that?

Just log in to your Google Reader account – in the upper left corner, you should see something like this:

Friendfeed - Google Reader

Friendfeed - Google Reader

Notice the link under “Your stuff” – it says “Shared items” – go ahead and click that. Here’s what I got:

Friendfeed - Google Reader Shared Items

Friendfeed - Google Reader Shared Items

Nothing like Google letting me know I’ve been a slacker…

Okay, so I can do this two ways. I can select the link text above and copy it – or I could click the link. That would take me to the actual page and I could copy the link right out of my address bar. I chose to copy it from here – and paste it like this:

Friendfeed - Google Reader Added

Friendfeed - Google Reader Added

Click on the “Import Google Reader button and that’s it. Let’s do another one…StumbleUpon:

Just click on the “Share Something” link to StumbleUpon and here’s what pops up:

Friendfeed - Share StumbleUpon

Friendfeed - Share StumbleUpon

I just add my username and click the “Import StumbleUpon” button. That was easy. How about another?

Let’s try Twitter – I click on the Twitter link in the “Share Something menu and here’s what I get:

Friendfeed - Share Twitter

Friendfeed - Share Twitter

So far, so good. What about something trickier – maybe something like, oh – I don’t know – this Blog perhaps? Glad you asked…I click on the “Blog” link in the “Share Something menu and get:

Friendfeed - Share My thirty Day Challenge Blog

Friendfeed - Share My Thirty Day Challenge Blog

Seriously, that’s it – now whenever I update anything on any of those services – it will show up on my Friendfeed.

So now, I’ve shared the following services:

Friendfeed - My Shared Sites

Friendfeed - My Shared Sites

I could keep going – but I think you get the idea. You can always come back and add services as you start using them.

Now, just for giggles – I made a special Twitter post – just for you…

Friendfeed - Twitter Post Just For You

Friendfeed - Twitter Post Just For You

Now let’s see what happened in my Friendfeed:

Friendfeed - Message From Twitter

Friendfeed - Message From Twitter

So – I do something in Twitter, and it gets picked up by Friendfeed….

Now, let’s take a look at what Friendfeed pulled in from my shared items:

Friendfeed - My Friendfeed Page

Friendfeed - My Friendfeed Page

It actually went a brought items in from as far back as July 12th – let’s see, today is the 21st – so it went back a little over a week. That’s pretty cool – it keeps me from looking like a slacker, well – at least a little bit. just don’t compare me to Ed 🙂

Speaking of Ed – Let’s go look at Ed’s personal Friendfeed page:

Friendfeed - Ed Dales Friendfeed Page

Friendfeed - Ed Dale's Friendfeed Page

(You can click on the image above to go to Ed’s current Friendfeed page…)

So in looking at Ed’s page, you can see he follows several people and a lot of people comment on his items.

You know, sometimes I look in on stuff like this and feel like the nerdy little freshman who wandered into the cool upper-classmen party in high school. Oh well – at least I didn’t wake up on stage singing – and realize I was naked 🙂

The thing to notice here is the conversation that is taking place. Granted, the niche here is “thirty day challengers.” Well, that – and there are some people who are members of the Immediate Edge. But the key is the conversation. Ed posts something that should be of interest , something that adds value – someone else comes along and adds a comment – or adds a link to a related item. Friendfeed keeps the flow of the conversation going in a way that is “seamless.” Yes, I DID just use that word – if you watched the video, you know what I’m talking about…

Let’s take a look at the “rooms” functionality – using the “Thirty Day Challenge” room.

Friendfeed - Thirty Day Challenge Room

Friendfeed - Thirty Day Challenge Room

You can click the image above to go to the Thirty Day Challenge Room.

You can join the room – go ahead, join the room…the link is over on the right hand side.

Friendfeed - 30DC Room Share Something

Friendfeed - 30DC Room Share Something

You can take this little link (pictured above) and use it to share items to the thirty day challenge room. Everyone gets an opportunity to contribute and jump into the conversation.

Here’s the important thing – everything in Friendfeed is…..drumroll please…. an RSS feed. So you can add feeds from Friendfeed into your Google reader.

Remember how you can “share” from within Google Reader – that means you can interact with a feed from Friendfeed from within Google Reader. Talk about cutting out interruptions to your workflow…

We’ll be learning even more killer ways to use Friendfeed for our internet marketing endeavors throughout the thirty day challenge.

Ed encourages every team to create their own room – all the members of your team can interact and share. It’ll become a one-stop-shop for everyone to keep track of each other, their activities, and the sites they’re looking at. And with the commenting capabilities, the feed capabilities and the privacy options – it’s very powerful. It’ll be something to get used to, but it will be absolutely worth it.

Remember, once you create your team room – you can subscribe to your feed and interact with your teammates directly from Google Reader. Nice!

So if you haven’t done it yet – go get signed up for Friendfeed and start getting used to it. Share a few things like your Twitter, maybe your Google Reader – join the Thirty Day Challenge room and subscribe to Ed’s Friendfeed page.

The next lesson will take us deeper into Friendfeed….

If you got something out of this post, please take a moment and spread the word…

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This post will take us a little bit further into Google Reader by way of the settings. Here’s the video from Ed Dale:

Google Reader – Part 3

Hopefully you’ve had a chance to get started using to Google Reader. You’ve signed up for a few feeds and you’ve started using list view to get through your feeds faster.

Let’s take a peek under the hood and give it a few tweaks – to start, log in to your Google Reader and click on the “settings” link in the upper right corner:

Google Reader - Settings

From the Settings > Preferences tab you can set:

  1. Language
  2. Start page
  3. Scroll Tracking in Expanded View
  4. Navigation Pane Display
  5. Confirm when marking all as read

The key setting here is to set the start page to “All Items – as shown below:

Google Reader - Settings-Preferences-Tab

Google Reader - Settings-Preferences-Tab

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Next up, the Subscriptions tab – here you can really dig in and manage the feeds you are subscribed to.

You can perform various searches from the search box in the upper right corner.

Google Reader - Subscriptions-Tab-Search-Box

Google Reader - Subscriptions-Tab-Search-Box

You can also “add to folders” or create a new folder from the “add to folders” drop down menu
In addition, you can delete a feed or you can rename a feed.

Google Reader - Rename-Delete-AddToFolder

Google Reader - Rename-Delete-AddToFolder

You can select multiple feeds and perform “more actions” from the drop down menu – like adding or removing tags – for search and filtering purposes.

Google Reader - More Actions Menu

Google Reader - More Actions Menu

The example given involves adding a tag to the feeds you follow for a particular niche – this technique will give you extra search leverage later on. It sounds like we will hear more about this as we get into the thirty day challenge content in August.

Ed also touches on the issue of having multiple Google Reader accounts to cover multiple niches. His answer – and it makes sense – just keep one Google Reader account. It’s organizational capabilities combined with its search functionality will be more than enough for you to be able to keep track of lots of feeds from lots of niches.

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Let’s look at the “Tags” tab:

You’ve got tags that you can make “public” or “private” – you may want to keep some of your niche information “private” – here’s the place to do it.

So far, I don’t have any tags like Ed does – guess I’ve still got a ways to go…

Google Reader - Tags Tab

Google Reader - Tags Tab

You can view the public page of your shared items. You can also email a link and add a clip to your site. We’ll get into this later in the challenge – teaching you how to use Google Reader as part of your internet marketing arsenal. For now, we’re more concerned with getting used to using it.

Now, on to the “Goodies” tab:

At this point, we won’t be covering or using anything in the way of these goodies – unless you are lucky enough to have an iPhone. I hear the implementation is brilliant!

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Moving along, let’s click on the “Import/Export” tab – if you’ve been using another feed reader, this will be pretty crucial – and pretty painless.

A lot of people, myself included – have been using Bloglines as a feed reader. And now, I get to “Say Goodbye To Bloglines” by exporting my feeds as an OPML file so they can be imported to Google Reader.

First, I’ll open up a new tab so I can log-in to Bloglines.

Google Reader - Bloglines

Google Reader - Bloglines

Then, on the left side – I scroll down to the “Additional Features” section and click on the “Export Subscriptions” link.

Google Reader - Bloglines-Export-Subscriptions

Google Reader - Bloglines-Export-Subscriptions

From there, a dialog box opens called “Opening export.opml” I want to save this file to disk – (my desktop) – so I select that option and click okay.

Google Reader - Opening-Export-OPML-dialog-box

Google Reader - Opening-Export-OPML-dialog-box

Now that the export.opml file has been saved to my computer – I just click back to my Google Reader Tab – where I’ve left the “Import/Export” dialog open…I browse for the file and click “upload.”

Google Reader - Import-OPML-file

Google Reader - Import-OPML-file

I love it when a plan comes together… Now instead of 3 feeds, I have the 75 I know and love…

Google Reader - My Subscriptions

Google Reader - My Subscriptions

That’s almost too easy – can I just say thanks, Ed? – Thanks Ed!

By the way, this will work with any feed reader that will export your subscriptions as a .opml file. Nowadays, almost all will…

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The last tab in our Google Reader Settings is the “friends” tab.

Google Reader - Friends Tab

Google Reader - Friends Tab

We won’t be doing much with this tab for now – there are ways to maybe use this within your teams, but for internet marketing purposes – we’ll be using other, more effective tools…

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Back to Google Reader – one of the major issues with feed readers in general is that once you read a post, it goes away. If you decide you want to read it again, you pretty much have to go to the blog – which means you just left your feed reader.

With Google Reader, the items don’t get deleted. You can mark them as read, and still find them later. Oddly enough, with Google being “pretty good” at search technology – now that your feeds don’t get deleted from your reader, you can search and filter through in several ways.

You can search through all items for a particular keyword or phrase. You can also filter through posts that you’ve read or starred or shared – there really are a lot of filtering options for this. If you’re new to this, it may not matter much – but when you’re following feeds across several niches, this will be a powerful resource for you.

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“One other thing” – Google is pretty good at determining “relevancy.” Based on the kinds of feeds you are subscribed to, Google can help you find additional feeds that may be relevant to you. And they do it from the “Discover” link:

Google Reader - Discover

Google Reader - Discover

Once you have added several feeds to your Google Reader, try clicking the “Discover” link and see what kind of feeds Google suggests. You may be pleasantly surprised…

Now, on the one hand, you don’t want to get in over your head – there’s no point getting overwhelmed with feeds. But on the other hand, Google Reader makes it so fast to scan through posts and so easy to manage and search through your feeds – Ed basically says, “Go for it.” I guess all I would add to that is 1) Know your limits 2) Use good judgement 3) Prioritize 4) Make sure you’re focusing on taking action.

You can learn and learn and learn and learn – if you don’t do anything with that knowledge, you’ll never get where you want to go. Focus on taking some action every day. You’ll be learning specific action steps throughout this year’s Thirty Day Challenge – the best thing you can do for yourself once you learn them…is to take them.

Here’s an action step you can take away from this post – go hug someone you love. 🙂

And if you appreciate this post, please take a moment to spread the word…

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“This is it!” It’s the video Ed’s been looking forward to showing us since the thirty day challenge preseason started. Check it out below…

Google Reader Part 2

What’s so special about Google Reader? On Ed’s recommendation, I started using Bloglines. I like how it looks – it’s been working for me. I look at Google Reader and think to myself – it’s nothing special. Until today…

In the video, Ed’s got 376 items to read in Google Reader. Holy RSS feeds, Ed-man! That’s a lot to read.

Now I know that I would click on one blog, like Mashable – read through all those posts, then go on to the next. And just like Ed mentions, I’d either get information overload or decide I needed to get some actual work done. In doing so, some feeds would get neglected.

Bottom line, to become an expert, a guru, a maven – you need to be able to gather information, sort it and process it in an effective way – here’s how Google Reader will help us do this.

First, we start by looking at our “All Items” list:

Google Reader - All Items

Google Reader - All Items

Next, and most importantly – we’ll make sure we’re using “List View” not “Expanded View”

Google Reader - List View

Google Reader - List View

By viewing all of the items in list view, a few things happen.

1) You are able to scan the headlines, you don’t have to view the entire post. This allows you to filter information more effectively and can be a real time saver.

2) You can expand an item in your list with a simple click – view the post and keep going.

Google Reader - Expanded Post

Google Reader - Expanded Post

Here in the video, while scanning through Yaro’s feed – he mentions a couple of things: “Share with note” and Friendfeed. At this point in the preseason, we’re not set up for this – but it is something we’ll be learning about soon. Stay tuned…

3) You see all the feeds sorted by date order, not by blog or feed order – so no feeds get neglected.

Note how Ed is bringing in feeds for things like: Twitterly, Friendfeed, his Twitter conversations, blog comments, other Twitter feeds, etc. – it’s really an effective way to stay on top of trends and information – and this technique really does give you enough time to process information efficiently.

4) He shows how to mark an item “keep as unread” so he can come back to it later.

Google Reader - Keep As Unread

Google Reader - Keep As Unread

5) If a post has an active link – you can click it and Google Reader will open it up in a new tab. This allows you to go follow that link, and then come back to your Reader. A great way to minimize distractions and maximize your time.

6) After you’ve finished going through your list – you simply mark all as read , and you’re done.

Google Reader - Mark All As Read

Google Reader - Mark All As Read

In the video, he mentions the “sharing” function again. Then he shows us “Disqus” – an amazing system everyone should be using on their blogs because of the viral traffic generation. (Going to have to check that out – thanks Ed.) They’ve enabled video commenting and track-backing, nice.

He “shares with a note” and posts that without having to leave Google Reader.

Other things you can do from Google Reader:

Google Reader - Star-Share-ShareWithNote-Email-Tags

Google Reader - Star-Share-ShareWithNote-Email-Tags

1) You can add a star

2) You can share

3) You can share with a note

4) You can email

5) You can add or edit tags

All from within Google Reader – give it a few days to sink in. Then imagine being able to process information about your niche this way. As you continue with the thirty day challenge, you’ll see this being a crucial way to dominate your niche.

Next lesson, we’ll learn about how to import the feeds from your current feed reader.

Remember to hug your kids….

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If you followed along with the last Thirty Day Challenge lesson – or signed into Google Reader using your Google account, you should now have a blank Google Reader in front of you. Ed’s video is viewable below:

Google Reader – RSS Feed Reader

Like Ed says – We need to fill up our Google Reader with “RSS feeds.”  What does that mean – and what are they?

RSS is one of those “buzzwords” on the internet.  Originally, the acronym RSS stood for RDF Site Survey – where RDF stands for Resource Description Framework.  (You know it is getting complicated when you have acronyms within acronyms.)  It’s also been referred to as “Rich Site Survey.”  More recently, the term “Really Simple Syndication” has been associated with RSS.  To keep things simple, let’s assume we mean “Really Simple Syndication” when we talk about RSS here.

Almost every blog or website you see, news services, friendfeed, even twitter – they offer information as an RSS feed.  It’s a way to distribute or syndicate information.  RSS feeds are a simple way for you to stay completely informed about your particular niche, or about any topic or hobby you may be interested in.  You’ll be able to process so much information and leverage that knowledge in ways that will literally blow your mind as you continue this year’s thirty day challenge.

But not until we add some RSS feeds to this blank page.  The first thing we should double check is our feed set-up in Flock.  So go to the Tools menu and Options for PC or the Flock menu and Preferences for Mac.  From there, go to the “feeds” tab and make sure that we select “subscribe to the feed using” – Google.

Setting up the \

Next up watch the Google Reader Intro video on your log-in page….

Done yet?  It’s not very long….

Okay – let’s go find some feeds…

The first and most obvious choice would be the Thirty Day Challenge Blog.  So let’s go there, if you installed your Thirty Day Challenge Toolbar, you can use the handy link there – otherwise go to: http://www.thirtydaychallenge.com/blog

Once there, look up by your web address bar – you should see that RSS icon glowing orange.  This indicates the presence of an RSS feed on the current page.  (Flock makes it pretty obvious.)

Google Reader - 30DC RSS feed

You simply click that orange button to view the drop-down menu of available feeds – then click on the “Thirty Day Challenge” feed.  (Just like in the video.)

Up pops your Google options and you could either add the feed to your iGoogle home page or to Google Reader.  For today, we’ll focus on adding the feed to Google Reader…

Google Reader - Add To Google Reader

A sharing option pops up – we won’t get into that aspect for now.

Google Reader - Share With Friends

In future training, we’ll learn more about this feature and how teams can utilize it.

You now have the Thirty Day Challenge feed in your list.

Google Reader - Subscribed to Thirty Day Challenge Blog

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Let’s go find another feed – how about Ed’s Twitter feed:

You can find it here: http://www.twitter.com/Ed_Dale

Google Reader - Ed_Dale On Twitter

Locate the orange RSS button by your web address bar – click it.

Google Reader - Ed Dale Twitter RSS Feed

Then select/click one of Ed’s twitter feeds – add it to Google Reader, and there you have it – your second feed for Google Reader.

Google Reader - Subscribed to Ed Dale Twitter Feed

Let’s find some more to add – how about a funky “Summize” search.  Go to: http://summize.com/

Google Reader - Summize

This is a search engine that allows you to search Twitter in real time.  You can run a search for a particular term, in this case it’s “#30dc” – but what it you searched for a niche-related term? Think about it – you would know about current conversations going on about your niche or area of interest – very powerful stuff…

Back to the #30dc search:

Google Reader - Summize Search #30dc

Up comes a feed containing every tweet containing “#30dc” and lo and behold – there’s an RSS feed available.  Time to click the orange button, select the feed and add it to Google Reader.

Google Reader - Subscribed to Summize #30dc Feed

**Bonus time – if you actually watch the video, you learn about the “installable search engine.”  You can install the summize search engine and make it usable from your Flock search box.

Google Reader - Summize Installable Search Engine

Go ahead – click that little orange button – you know you want to…

Google Reader - Summize Search Engine f/video

If you just hover over it long enough, it’ll tell you what to do – “Click to view installable search engine”

Google Reader - Summize Search Install Button

Just click it and allow Flock to install the Summize Twitter Search Engine to your search engine pull-down menu.

It’s located in the upper right corner of Flock – and once you’ve installed the summize search engine to Flock, you can run a search on Summize, directly from your browser.  Just select the “Summize Twitter Search” from the search engine pull down menu in the upper right corner of Flock.

Google Reader - Summize In Search Menu

In this example, Ed uses the term “trout fishing” – he runs the search and adds the feed to his Google Reader.  Now, maybe “trout fishing” isn’t your niche – but you can run a search for your own niche keyword or phrase and subscribe to that feed.

Google Reader - Summize Results For Trout Fishing

Let the potential of that sink in for a while – for our next example, let’s use Google.  What happens if you just run a Google search for “trout fishing?”

Google Reader - Google Results - Trout Fishing

Pretty typical – let’s look up at our address bar…

Google Reader - Google Results - No Feed

Bummer, there’s no feed available for Google search results – BUT – if you click on the <more> menu and go down to
the <even more> option – you find “Alerts” at the top of the list on the left side.

Googler Reader - Google Alerts

Click “Alerts” – type in your keyword or phrase and create a Google Alert.

Google Reader - Create Google Alert

From the “manage alerts page”, click on the link to the “trout fishing” alert.

Google Reader - Manage Google Alerts

and grab that feed from the RSS button by your address bar.

Google Reader - Google Alerts Feed

You know what to do from here….

In the past, I’ve had these alerts e-mailed to me once a day – sometimes that can add dozens of extra e-mails a day.  Now, I can just add the RSS feed for the alert and add the feed into my Google Reader, freeing up some space and some time in my inbox.

A word of caution – you can go crazy with this.  So be careful not to go overboard at first.  Make sure you have the Thirty Day Challenge blog in your Google Reader.  We’ll learn a few more feeds to track in future lessons.

I suppose you could add the feed from this blog too – no pressure…

For those who participated in the Thirty Day Challenge last year – we learned how to use Bloglines.  You will see in the next couple of lessons why we’ve made the switch to Google Reader.  Pause and think about the awesomeness of this next few lines…

As you think about your niche, and begin to add related feeds to your Google Reader – you’ll see a paradigm shift in how you’re using the internet.  Instead of running around in circles, searching out information on the internet – you set up feeds and the information comes to your feed reader.  How’s that for making your time online more effective?

And in the next few lessons you’ll learn how to “churn and burn” through that information in a productive and effective way.

One other thing Ed mentions – you could track Ed’s feed, the sites he subscribes to.  That list of feeds is available as a feed as well.  Why would you want to do that?  Oh, I don’t know, maybe there’s something to the idea of modeling successful people if you want to become successful…Food for thought…

The next lesson promises to be a life-changer – or at the very least a big time-saver.  So stay tuned…and go give somebody a hug.

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