How to Hack Feedly

Wendy Kelly
Jul 09, 2015

How to Hack Feedly in Ways That Will Blow Your Mind

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Hyperbole much? Yeah, well, start texting me your hate mails. Oh, what? You can't because I don't have a phone? #SorryNotSorry.

Anyway - Read on. I'm seriously a Feedly Fanatic and I believe you will be, too by the end of this article.

Feedly Search

My Feedly Cred: I have loved Feedly since 2010. That's a long time, folks. I actually pay for the pro features and feel they are worth their weight in gold. (I love saying that in the digital age.)

Feedly Basics

Learn the basics here: First, the Feedly blog is only meant for people who like to be super frustrated and who feel they need to know absolutely everything that goes through  the heads of those involved with Feedly.

Back in 2013 when Google Reader died, Make Use Of wrote this incredible Unofficial Guide to Feedly. If you are at the stage where you're like, "What's Feedly?" then skim that guide. It's well laid out and answers everything you need to know.

Feedly + Buzzsumo hack

Buzzsumo is a goldmine of data that combines human with tech in this seamless way. Add in Feedly, and you've got yourself a veritable sluice box of shiny goodness.

Find awesome content via Buzzsumo and then add it to your Feedly lists. Over on the Buzzsumo blog, there is an awesome post about becoming a Content Marketing Precog which is hilarious and also, really, kind of what we are all striving for. So I like the honesty.

Start over on Buzzsumo and create feeds. You can create trending feeds to track emerging trends in your field. You can also create feeds for domains or topics.

You then take those feeds over to Feedly and subscribe. Voila! You've got a reading list that will take you closer to your goal of becoming the all-knowing content wizard.

Secret Buzzsumo Hack

I just had to use that header. Anyway, the other morning, I was sifting through Feedly, kind of wandering around and adding new blogs that I thought would be good to follow for various reasons when I thought to add Custom Fit Online. Okay, I'm an idiot. It had not occurred to me until that moment to add our own blog. But there, in front of me, were our latest articles, with that little grey number just to the left of the title. Yes, here it was, in grey and white (great metaphor for how, uh, cut and dry this method I'm about to divulge is, by the way) the number of shares* that post had gotten.

Now, obviously, Buzzsumo is much more comprehensive and accurate. But, in one quick glance, I could easily see which of our posts got shared the most.

That led me to a great idea. Yes. I clicked on the blogs of some of my favourites and was extremely surprised to find what is share-worthy and what, not so much. You might be, too. Some highlights:

Peg Fitzpatrick

Peg Fitzpatrick:

Rock Star. Okay, by this point, she's probably thinking I'm stalking her :) but honestly, I love the way this woman writes. What surprised me, though, is that her content is so shared. Of the blogs that I looked at, and this includes Digg, Verge, and Quartz, her stuff is the most consistently uber-shared (my term for over several hundred shares). What magic fairy dust does this woman possess? I ask you.

Brain Pickings

Brain Pickings

Who doesn't love Maria Popova's Brain Pickings? The fact that her concept is so wildly popular honestly warms my heart. Share after share after like after like. Intelligent, gentle and inspiring, Brain Pickings makes the world a slightly better place with every post. 

Now for some moments where I was able to start breathing again and realize that we're all human after all, and no one bats 100%. Well, okay, except the lovely freaks of nature (I mean that in the nicest way) above.

Neil Patel:

Neil Patel

Boy, was I a bit surprised. After all, it's Neil Patel. But seriously, I think I was a little surprised to see it laid out in a neat vertical line. Not always super successful posts. Not always shared super widely. Not even after 30 days. Honestly, I was surprised. Neil's blog is always full of solid information, read by a wide audience.



It just surprised me to notice that Quartz, which I believe puts out excellent content, consistently, doesn't always put out content that gets shared widely. Founded in 2012, Quartz is a news company that serves up excellent stories optimized for mobile devices.



Similar to Quartz, I expected completely consistent results from Verge, and was surprised to find out that their shares swing wildly from 19 to thousands. Certainly, they're no slouches, but I suppose this is why I expected to never see a post that didn't get shared wildly.

James Altucher: 

James Altucher

Well, on the opposite end of the spectrum from Peg Fitzpatrick, all I could think, over and over again, as I looked at James Altucher's shares, is "What is wrong with the world if this stuff isn't being shared from the highest mountain tops and shouted from the tops of the tallest skyscrapers?" He is a genius. Everyone needs to read what he writes. Everyone. Well, anyone with a soul, that is.

Obviously, there are blogs that do even better than Maria and Peg. Moz, for example, consistently gets thousands of shares. And of course, there are sites that are read less widely than James Altucher's blog.

*For some annoying reason, Feedly is a little bit secretive about this number. There's a fair bit of discussion out there on what, exactly, this number relates to. Officially, it is the number of shares via Twitter, Facebook (likes) and Google+ - or something like that. If you hover over the number, it says "likes". So whatever. It's a popularity number. Of some sort.

Feedly + IFTTT Hack

Okay. Now you've got the glittery gold of superior content flowing through your Feedly, what are you going to do with it?

Well, you're going to link it up with IFTTT recipes and make use of it, that's what you're going to do.

Do you love Flipboard as much as I do? You can set up a recipe so that every time a tag is mentioned, it gets flipped to that board. Here's the IFTTT recipe.

Other great uses include the obvious pushing to Twitter if an article uses a certain tag or hooking Feedly up with Evernote - which brings us to -

Feedly + Evernote hack

Feedly and Evernote play so nicely together that the save to Evernote function on Feedly is one of their most popular integrations. It makes sense. Feedly allows you to find and curate the best content on the Interwebs, and Evernote is the best place to store and sift through all the content.

From the Feedly blog, which I earlier disparaged, comes these 7 ideas of things to do with Feedly + Evernote. They'll definitely get things flowing for you.

  • Prepare a research report for school - Of course, the research doesn't have to be for a school project. But conducting research of this sort using the combo of Feedly + Evernote makes the whole sometimes daunting process seem like a walk in the park. You start by searching Feedly for relevant feeds. With their advanced search functionality, this is becoming a more and more powerful tool. Once you've homed in on some stellar sources, subscribe to the feeds and save them to a well-named folder. From there, whenever a story comes along that fits your project, clip it to Evernote where you can take notes, share your research and snip quotes.
  • Find a new job - The first step here may seem pretty obvious: subscribe to the RSS feeds for job search sites such as As interesting jobs come up, you can save them to Evernote and track the application process. But don't stop there. A successful application to any company includes getting to know that company. One excellent step in the right direction is to subscribe to that company's blog and follow it. Clip stories from the blog to Evernote and take notes.
  • Write a novel - The one-two punch of Feedly and Evernote for novel writing goes like this: Subscribe to writing blogs to hone your craft. Next, as you fine tune your novel, use the research capabilities of the combo to learn what you need to learn to really make your novel stand out. In Evernote, you can track setting, character and plot as well. I'll just add that once you've got everything organized in Evernote, use Scrivener to do the actual writing and compiling. You can thank me later in the acknowledgments section of your published novel. And please, please don't forget to take part in Nanowrimo if you're having trouble getting your novel started. Each November, for 30 days, you can experience the pure joy and exhilaration of writing 50,000 words - the rough draft of a finished novel.
  • Organize recipes - For some reason, this idea didn't gel completely with me at first. But now I'm sold. Subscribe to your favourite food blogs, like Smitten Kichen, Kitchn, the Joy of Baking, Simply Recipes, or whatever your go-to recipe source happens to be. Clip your favourite recipes to Evernote, save them in categories that make sense to you and add your own notes for changes you made or people's reactions. You could categorize your recipes for things like "dinner parties" "family meals" "brunch" or "vegetarian" - whatever makes sense for you. As the Feedly blog notes, maybe this could inspire you to create your own food blog.
  • Gather travel ideas - Oh, man. Almost self-explanatory. First you can use Feedly to find great destinations, find the best flights and hotels and car rentals, and then learn as much as you can about local culture before you go. On Evernote, obviously, you can organize it all into the ideal itinerary, clipping and sorting your finds into an easy to follow plan-of-action.
  • Find your dream house - Subscribe to local MLS or Trulia. Filter your search for the type of home you are looking for, and when you find homes that interest you, save them to Evernote. You can then organize them and when you are ready, share them with your real estate agent.
  • Decorate or renovate your house - The project management capabilities of Evernote when used for a home decoration project basically equal a stress-free experience. Subscribe to the sites that most inspire you: Apartment Therapy, Novogratz, or Design Sponge. Then, when you come across stories that work for your project, save them to Evernote and use all the tools available to track costs, organize, and monitor your progress. You can also, of course, share all of this with the people you live with. They'll be glad to know, trust me.

Feedly + browser extensions hack

I wanted to write "Feedly + Chrome" but why not include Firefox? There are a few extensions and they each have uses.

  • The Chrome Notifier alert you when a feed you subscribe to updates. This could be very useful if you are doing a research project that requires you to act on news right away.
  • Feedly Mini makes it super simple to add to your Feedly from anywhere.
  • Feedly Counter gives you an unread article count.
  • Feedly - You can also access Feedly as a browser extension. Just one more way to access great content.
  • Sortly - This'll help you sort your feeds and posts by popularity. Just like in high school. But actually, super helpful for making content marketing decisions.

Feedly + Publishing Hack

One aspect of Feedly that I had never really thought about is the publishing capabilities. Seeing Feedly from the "other side" as it were, things look really interesting. Feedly is interested, of course, in courting publishers of great content. Why not? And so, there are several things you should be aware of as a publisher (not just consumer) of great content.

  • First, you can create a Feedly button for your site, which makes it that much easier for readers to subscribe to your feed.
  • Second, and this really seems interesting to me, you can claim your hashtag through Feedly. It's a simple process that takes you through a Google Form.
  • Third, It's entirely possible to optimize your feed, your way. I have to admit that I have noticed that every feed I subscribe to seems to have different settings. Did you realize that you control this? You can choose to have a partial or full feed -- include the entire reading experience on Feedly, or try to draw readers back to your site. Your choice.
  • You can alert Feedly if you think your blog should be featured. I would think everyone would do this, as you must consider your content to be worthwhile, or you wouldn't write it, right? It makes sense to take advantage of this option and submit your site.
  • Last, you can submit your story to Feedly about how great you think Feedly is. Why not? This is also as simple as a Google Form you fill out letting them know your story and why you think Feedly rocks. Yes, I am considering doing this.
  • Last, Last: Weirdly, to my mind, you can monetize through Feedly. I'm not sure why I find this odd, after all, all of the Interwebs is monetized. Still, it just seemed incongruous.

Feedly as Google for Stories

Lastly, remember in my last post where I wrote about the future of search? One interesting thread in that story is Feedly, which has just unveiled a really interesting approach to search: "Google for Stories" - in other words,

you can search across 40 million sites, magazines and blogs and find the best content related to your industry, a brand or a product. 

Not really much else to say on that subject. Just watch the video.

Feedly For the Win

I cannot imagine that anyone has anything unnice to say about Feedly, so I'll just open up this discussion to the glowing praise you want to lavish on Feedly and all the things you can do with it.

Bring it on.

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