How to Create Your Podcast Reading List With Feedly & Instapaper

You know when people open a sentence with “unless you’ve been living under a rock these past few days…”?

Well, I am the one who pops his head out from beneath the nearest boulder.

I don’t read social media feeds, so most of the things that are “breaking”, “trending”, or “latest news” will pass right by me, unnoticed.  

You might think that’s akin to burying my head in the sand. But that’s not the case. I am very much open to new information – I just try to be as deliberate as possible about it.

That’s one of the many reasons I love podcasts. You can get up to speed on the latest happenings in your field, industry, or areas of interest. And, you can really get into a topic, deliberately and deeply, spending as much time as it takes to understand the finer points and nuances of someone’s argument, analysis, or perspective.

But I also like to read, and there’s undoubtedly a lot of fantastic written content out there on the web. I mean, it’s literally my job to try and contribute to that.

I don’t want to miss out on the latest news or updates in podcasting. In fact, if I’d like to stay useful and employed, then it’s vital that I don’t. But I’d prefer for it to be served up in a format that isn’t sandwiched between the rantings of some furious arsehole and a cat meme.

I’m a big fan of email newsletters. There are a lot of great ones out there in the podcast industry. These help keep me in the know whilst I lounge in cool darkness under my rock. But even then, I’m not going to log into my inbox to do an hour of informed, deep-dive reading. Even if I did, there would inevitably be other correspondence in there that would demand my attention, so newsletters alone can’t be the solution.

Fortunately, as a podcaster, I know that there are few problems in life that can’t be solved by the RSS feed. And once again, I’m leaning on this venerable technology to stay informed in words as well as sounds.

To optimise my workflow, I use two other tools – Feedly and Instapaper.

Using Feedly to Follow Your Favourite Websites

Feedly will be old news to many, but a revelation to some. It’s an RSS-reader tool that lets you “follow” websites or blogs in the same way you’d follow something on a social media app. The crucial and glorious difference is that it comes without all the horrible baggage those platforms drag along with them.

You can start using Feedly for free. Or, upgrade for an extremely reasonable $8 a month (annual savings are available) if you want to follow more than 100 websites or more than three “topics”.

So, how does Feedly work?

Well, when I say “topics”, the correct term on Feedly is “Folders”. You can create a folder to group together blogs and articles that follow a similar subject matter or theme. This makes it much easier to curate.

You might be really into the nuts and bolts of the podcasting industry, so you can have a folder for that. Then, you might want to keep up on a sport or certain sports team. Or the latest music news in your genre of choice. The World (Wide Web) really is your oyster.

Once you’ve created a folder, you use the search bar in Feedly to find or paste the content sites you’d like to hear from. In my case, I made one called “Podcasting” and hooked it up to all the good podcast blogs out there. When any of them publish new posts, they drop into my Feedly folder within minutes. Feedly’s “Similar Feeds” feature means you have the opportunity to constantly discover new content to add to your reading rota, too.

I’ll then check in on Feedly deliberately and on my own terms to find a fresh batch of interesting, informative, and well-written articles waiting for me.

But – here’s my next barrier – I hate reading on a computer screen. So, I use a second tool in my arsenal: Instapaper.

Instapaper to Send Articles to Your Kindle

Instapaper is a superb app that lets you send lists of articles directly to your Kindle. As a side note for podcast enthusiasts, it was founded by Marco Arment of Overcast fame.

So, I simply look at my “Podcasting” folder on Feedly and copy the links that catch my eye to Instapaper. I’ll probably give posts like “How to Start a Podcast” a miss (not through any disrespect to the author, of course!), but the latest edition of Podnews is always a must, and I see Castos has a compelling new roundup of the best chairs for podcasting, so that gets added too. Then, I hit “Send articles to Kindle”, and off they go.

My Kindle was built in a Clyde shipyard at some point in the 1930s, but it still easily handles regular deliveries of Instapaper-compiled posts for me to take away and read at my leisure. Usually, this is when my daughter is watching Peter Rabbit. I mean, it’s not that I take no interest in the show. But on around my 800th watchthrough, it became apparent that Mr. Tod was never actually going to eat Peter and his pals.

So, whilst they go through the motions in the background, I can catch up on the latest podcasting news without being distracted enough not to notice she’s started juggling flaming knives on the arm of the couch.

No Stress RSS

This is yet another way RSS technology can work for you. Just like your favourite podcast episodes, you don’t need to go out there into the irradiated wastes to scavenge for them – they can be delivered to you automatically the minute they’re published.

If you also deploy this tactic to compile your reading lists, you can win back so much time from the doomscroll and all its accompanying horrors. And more time gives you the freedom to create much better content, which, in turn, grows your audience. Or, you can just kick back and watch some Peter Rabbit. It’s entirely up to you.

So, at a minimum, get signed up to Feedly, then build your list of “must read” resources to follow (add us, please!). Then, if you want to make the experience even better, try out Instapaper too. And if you like it, be sure to let me know.

You’ll find me under that rock over there.

Originally posted on August 31, 2023 @ 12:24 am

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