Plus 11 Insanely Useful Tools To Use Twitter RSS Feeds With. Saving You Hours With Content Discovery and Marketing.
In most circles, Twitter lists have kind of a bad rap. Of all the Twitter notifications out there, the one saying you’ve been added to a list is probably the least sexy.
Lacking the reach boost of a Retweet or the dopamine hit of reading a Like-able reply, it’s all too easy to see that you’ve been added to a Twitter List and think “Meh.”
The trouble is that marketers carry the same sense of banality over to creating their own, so most don’t even bother at all. Unfortunately, this means they’re missing out on one of the most powerful sources of content discovery available, of any free or paid tools.
In this post we are going to show you why most marketers overlook this source of content discovery, and why you really shouldn’t. We’ll also cover the best practices in using Twitter Lists, and a little known secret of how generating a Twitter List RSS Feed will revolutionise your processes. As well as the tools you’ll need to maximise your efforts and save hours every day.
Twitter Lists 101
For marketers, potential uses for Twitter lists are pretty obvious. For anyone following more than a couple hundred people, the standard timeline moves way too quickly to follow in real-time. Lists allow you to break things down or segment sources in a way that can be seriously useful.
For example, you might use Twitter lists to create dedicated feeds for:
- Event/conference attendees
- Different disciplines e.g. social media, email marketing, copywriting, design etc.
- The best content from key influencers or companies
- Plenty more great ideas over on this Buffer blog post
There’s no right or wrong way to use Twitter lists but what many of these uses have in common is that they are valuable for your own content curation process. Helping you to keep your content pipeline well stocked and/or generate ideas for future pieces of your own.
If Twitter Lists are such a great source of content, why are they so under-used?
Simply, because the way we currently use Twitter Lists adds more effort and steps to our processes. Which means we don’t necessarily feel the benefits.
Here are the TWO key reasons why you probably don’t use Twitter lists:
- On top of the other places you use to find great content, like RSS readers, you now also have to visit the lists on Twitter to see what content has been posted
- When you find good content in the list, there are too many clicks involved to action it in all the marketing tools that you need to use
However, with this one simple trick – converting your Twitter Lists into an RSS Feed – you can easily overcome both of these hurdles. Removing the manual labour that stops you from enjoying the really valuable benefits of Twitter Lists.
(If you’re already a Jedi of Twitter Lists, feel free to skip to the “Now for the magic!” part)
First things first, set up your Twitter lists
We won’t go into the step by step process of how to actually create a list on Twitter, you can find details on that here. Instead, we’ll show you the key steps to making sure you are adding the right sources to your lists to keep them focused and relevant, not overwhelming.
Have a plan for what lists you need to create
All good marketing starts with a plan, and Twitter Lists are no different. Start by asking yourself these questions:
- Who are your customers/audience, and what content resonates with them?
- What do you want to use Twitter Lists for: fresh content for your social media or newsletter? Weekly roundups? Inspiration for your next blog post?
- What lists do you need to create to satisfy these needs?
- Clarify the purpose of each list
Think about creating several different lists if it makes sense. Segmenting lists by topic or use-case will help you stay focused and on top of the content.
Find the right sources and maintaining your list
Once you have the answers to the above, it’s time to add sources to your Twitter Lists.
The most important part of getting the right content in your list is who you add to it. Don’t just add sources for the sake of it, and it pays to keep your list maintained. Here are some tips for getting it right:
- Start with bloggers and influencers you are already a fan of, or whose content has performed well with your audience before
- Steer clear of adding publishing or news sites. They publish A LOT of content, and you want to keep the stream focused and relevant
- Use Buzzsumo‘s ‘Influencers’ search to find influential people on key topics. It also has links to their Twitter accounts and will tell you how engaged they are on Twitter, with things like number of followers, and Retweet/reply rates
- Find the best blogs on specific topics. Hitting Google (or Buzzsumo) and searching for posts on “Top content marketing blogs” etc. The results will be filled with curated lists that other people have taken the time to find
- Review each source for its relevance to the purpose of the list before adding
- Once you have added a decent number of sources, make sure you schedule a small amount of time to just ask yourself if each of the sources are still relevant. Maybe you need to find some new ones, or remove some unhelpful ones.
Spending some time upfront to add the right sources and maintain your lists will really pay off in the long run. As you’ll see in the next half of this post, most of the legwork is really over once your lists are up and running.
Now for the magic: Convert Twitter Lists into RSS feeds
Changes to the Twitter API a few years ago mean that there’s no “official” way for converting your lists into RSS feeds. There are some tools out there that will let you do it, however most charge or have hefty restrictions on them.
But… as we have found this tactic so valuable for our own content discovery, we decided to open up the software and make it available to everyone, completely free.
You can access it here:
What’s the big deal about turning a Twitter List into an RSS Feed?
The answer is that it addresses the two core problems that stand in the way of you and the power of Twitter Lists:
You have to regularly visit the lists on Twitter to see what content has been posted. In addition to the other places you use to discover great content.
Add the converted Twitter List RSS feed to your favourite RSS reader.
Now you don’t need to visit Twitter AND your RSS reader.
RSS readers are pretty much unrivalled when it comes to putting all of the content you want to see in one place. By converting a Twitter List into an RSS Feed you can now also send all of the Tweets to your RSS reader of choice, keeping everything in one place.
But the benefits don’t stop here. RSS readers will help you to group your Twitter lists into broader categories like this example of ‘Tech’ sources in FeedReader:
RSS readers will also help you to keep the incoming content more organised. As Feedly users will already know, it’s possible to use the service to tag articles and add them to boards. Helping you to organise interesting content by relevant topics, making it easier to find again later.
Another great tip is that, if you don’t have time to check your RSS reader as often as you’d like, services like Blogtrottr or FeedMyInbox can deliver feed updates directly to your inbox. Plus, you can set how often you receive summary emails – daily, weekly, monthly etc. – so you’re not bombarded by emails all the time.
RSS readers make the experience of scanning Twitter lists more customisable, less ethereal, and all in all more useful.
But thats not all you can do with your Twitter List RSS Feed, remember the second problem…
When you find great content in the list, there are just too many clicks involved to action the content with your marketing tools; it becomes too laborious
Add the converted Twitter List RSS feed directly to your favourite marketing tools.
Now the content is where you need it, when you need it. Without you having to do anything. There are lots of marketing tools out there that will help you to action or automate the content as part of your marketing processes.
When you connect Twitter List RSS Feeds directly to your marketing tools, you bring quality content right to the heart of your efforts. With obvious benefits like being able to;
- Instantly schedule content to your social profiles
- Create newsletters and web roundups from it
- Automatically publish it onto your blog or website
- Automate the content into infinite processes and tools
Lets take a look into how with these 12 of our favourite apps, that will help you to unlock the true power of Twitter List RSS Feeds.
11 Useful Tools To Connect Your Twitter List RSS Feed To
As mentioned above, RSS readers are fantastic for reading everything in one place. Platforms like FeedReader and Feedly also add a further level of customisation to your reading experience. Offering different reading views like; List, Flat and Snippet. As well as stripped back visuals that put content centre focus and removes ads and fluff.
Aside from the enhanced reading experience these kinds of readers also add a further level of usefulness to your content. Offering additional integrations that allow you to action content as you need. Integrations differ depending on the reader you use, but many connect with tools like:
Integrations, daily summaries and the various other advantages offered by RSS readers all help to make your Twitter list more actionable. With just a couple of clicks, you can send content to wherever it needs to be.
Plus, in the case of Feedly, you can use the Feedly-Publicate integration to automatically add any of the best bits straight to your content library in Publicate. Ready and waiting for when you want to create email newsletters or web roundups.
Any readers who are part of a team, particularly a remote team, will probably be familiar with Slack. What you may not know is that you can automatically pull an RSS feed into a Slack channel.
This allows you to add relevant content from trusted sources to a Slack channel automatically, which you could use with your team to:
- Keep an eye on competitors
- Source relevant content for newsletters or roundups
- Get inspiration for future blog posts
- Filter out quality content for social profiles or company communication
You can now bring great content to where team members spend their time, particularly team members who might not use RSS Readers or Social Media.
We mentioned above how using Twitter List RSS feeds can help you share to social media more easily. If that’s something that’s important to you, consider adding it to Buffer or Dlvr.it directly.
From there, you can grab content right from feeds and post it (or schedule it for later) straight to your social media feeds.
Probably the best thing about this is how easy it makes having a stream of fresh content for your social media channels. With a single click, you can either add a link to your schedule (and edit the content associated with it, if required) or dismiss it if it’s not relevant or appropriate to your audience.
Well, you probably knew we’d bring this one up eventually! We touched on this above, but one of the biggest problems content marketers face is creating and delivering valuable content to their audiences regularly. That was one of the primary drivers behind creating Publicate and we believe curation is at the heart of the solution, hence why we are so excited about Twitter List RSS Feeds.
Just about every marketer in the world has an email list, but many of us neglect our list because of the perceived effort and commitment of finding the right content and creating a regular newsletter.
Combining Twitter List RSS Feeds with Publicate will turn that neglect into love. With this combo all of the relevant and engaging content shared by the Twitter list will automatically appear in your library. Ready for you to drag and drop to create beautiful email newsletters and web roundups.
If you want to take things even further, you could experiment with automation and use IFTTT or Zapier. They enable you to push content from a Twitter list to social bookmarking sites to automatically build your audience on other platforms. As well as other tools like Evernote, Google Sheets and Trello to bring content straight into your workflow and processes. The use cases and combinations here really are endless.
Zapier is a nice addition to the syndication mix because it allows you to filter, combine or tweak RSS feeds to create what they term ‘superfeeds’. That means you can, for example, use Zapier to filter the content that you want to post before pushing it out to various platforms.
And that’s really only scraping the surface of what you can do with Zapier. For example, you could apply a filter so that the RSS feed only updates when your brand is mentioned directly.
You can post new RSS items to Yammer for internal dissemination. Get text message notifications when your Twitter list updates or…well, pretty much anything you can imagine; with over 750 actions and triggers, you’ll never be short of ways to experiment with your RSS feeds on Zapier.
Crafted what you believe to be perfect marketing Twitter list? First off, congrats! Second, you might want to consider sending the well tuned stream of content to your blog. Keeping your readers entertained with quality fresh content.
The above services all support the addition of RSS feeds to pages/blog posts. Enabling you to have an automatic, regular flow of fresh and relevant content on your website.
It’s probably worth highlighting to your readers that this section of your site/blog is automated. Containing content that you’re re-sharing, rather than it’s all be written by yourself.
Since Google Reader shuttered back in 2013, people have been talking about whether or not RSS feeds are dead.
We always think it’s exciting to find new uses for something that’s fallen by the wayside. Like our floppy disk coasters and Power Mac G3 cat bed. This whole space is a really powerful example of that. Armed with nothing more than a solid Twitter List RSS Feed and a few handy tools, you can:
- Create a more aesthetic, trackable and organised way to digest content and tweets
- Power up your social media channels with great content
- Automate aspects of your content marketing funnel
- Build compelling newsletters and web roundups featuring curated content
- Send a regular flow of fresh and relevant content to your blog or site
The really exciting thing about converting Twitter Lists into RSS feeds is that there’s still so much untapped potential here.
Imagine, for example, an RSS reader integrating with a service like Klout or the Twitter API to examine the number of engagements a particular tweet has had. Order tweets by engagement, cross reference follower count and you’ve got yourself some serious insight into influencers.
Twitter lists and RSS feeds might not necessarily seem like obvious bedfellows. But, we hope that you’ve now picked up a few new ideas on how to put them to work!