My Strategy (5 Best Apps) for Staying on top of Trends

Often, after speaking at a conference, I get folks from the audience come up and ask the inevitable question: “How do you stay on top of it all?”. The real answer is that I have superhuman abilities allowing me to receive a WiFi signal specifically engineered to feed all the latest news, developments, insights and ideas directly into my brain. I guess it’s a side effect of all the “random” airport searches… whether I’m just there to pick someone up or travel myself (…weird).

Without further ado, here are my 5 favorite apps for staying on top of social media marketing trends and developments:

Zite – This is a really cool iPad app that learns what you like and doesn’t like, customizing your feeds according to your preferences. Pretty cool hey? You can create a number of channels which all feed into your “home” tab, pushing your preferred content, sources, and authors to the front. My channels are Social Media, Entrepreneurship, Business and Investing, Psychology and Mind, Technology and Blogging. Chose from an existing set or create your own filters.

Pulse – Another great iPad app which I used it religiously every night before passing into dreamland. This one works differently then Zite in that you actually have to point it to feeds you wish to receive. You’ll have to look up some of your favorite sources and search for them in the app in order to bring the feed in. There are some presets, but just like everything else… I prefer the cut of my own jib… so my feeds include Mashable, Brandchannel, LifeHacker, Gizmodo, and AdFreak. Worth a look.

Google Reader – I actually use this in conjunction with Google Alerts. So I’ll set up alerts for specific keywords and click on Show in Reader. This imports that alert’s feed into the Google Reader. You can set up alerts for keywords relative to your industry, market, news or competitors (by setting up an alert for their name, wink wink). Since I’m an ego-maniac, as many can attest, I have feeds for my company’s names, my own name and certain industry related keywords all feeding into the Reader.

Instapaper – Well… now you have 4 billion news articles coming at you from all directions… what do you do with them??? I sift through various articles and feeds for interesting bits of information. Things I can use in my business, that can help my clients or just cool, new ideas to experiment with. Articles I like and see as valuable, I send to Instapaper. A little while ago, they released iPhone and iPad apps (and I assume support for other platforms as well, but who cares about those?), so you can access your saved articles on your computer, phone or tablet. You can further sort these saved articles according to the topic. Instapaper is my vault of good ideas, the creme de la creme.

Kindle, Kobo & iBooks – Of course, if you want to go all old school on me… you can buy books. BUT… you can now buy them FASTER! Without waiting in line, driving to the bookstore or whatever it is you kids do these days. You can get a book the second it’s released and start reading immediately. In my experience, Kindle is the better app out of the three and supports some nice features such as night-reading and social media integration (to share your highlighted content for example). Of course, I am still a fan of physical books and have driven for 45 minutes to a neighboring town because their Coles had the only copy of “Resonate” available in the 100km radius.

There you go… that’s how you too can stay on top of it all. Don’t blame me if your spouse starts yelling at you while they’re trying to sleep and you’re bathing them in lovely, warming LCD light. Now go on and plug in, I’ll see you online :)

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