New content strategies tool: The Gramanator

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Ian Lurie Jul 27 2011

Announcing a new tool: The Gramanator

During my MozCon content creation session today, I announced a new tool: The Gramanator.

It is mighty.

It is the Gramanator:

the grammantor

Bow down before it.

What it does

The Gramanator will take any public Google Reader Shared Feed and:

  1. Clean it up, removing stop words.
  2. Assemble all of the different feed items in the feed into a single ‘corpus’ or index.
  3. Pull out the top 20-30 terms in that corpus and show frequency.
  4. Retrieve the top 20-30 bigrams (two word phrases) and trigrams (three word phrases) from the corpus.

Why it’s useful

You can use Google Reader to assemble lots of different RSS feeds—from Google Alerts, Twitter, sites like Hacker News and other sources—into a single aggregated feed. See the e-book I wrote about this a while ago for more information.

Once all that stuff is together in one aggregate feed, you can mine that text for all kinds of useful information. Here’s an example where I pulled the 2- and 3-word phrases from an aggregate RSS feed I assembled about the debt ceiling crisis:

the grammantor report

I haven’t seen the news today, but I’m guessing from the noise that the stock market fell about 200 points. Things don’t sound too optimistic, either, with phrases like ‘dour tone’ popping up.

That report is great brainstorming fodder, if you’re looking for writing ideas. It can also help you figure out trending topics, if you run it regularly.

More information coming soon

I’m working on a longer blog post for tomorrow that will outline my presentation at MozCon. That will explain a lot more about why this tool is useful, and how to use it. For now, I wanted to make sure I got the link up for folks who want to have a look.

Enjoy!

The Gramanator – free, no signup required.

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4 Comments

  1. Huh. I must have been getting the wrong URL out of Google Reader. I had the wrong URL for A List Apart. I tried this and it worked: http://www.alistapart.com/site/rss
    Any tips for where to get the URL from Google Reader (argh, I hate sounding like a newb…)?

  2. Hi Ian
    The Gramanator looks like a great tool, but if you write about what everybody else is writing about, wont your post be lost in amongst all the others, or even worse, totally out ranked by them because they are the leaders in what they talk about. I have thought about chasing trends, but it seems like I would have to be well established before it would have much of an impact on my numbers.
    I recently wrote a post that made my monthly traffic sore from 500 visitors to 2000 because it was something that people were suddenly looking for, but there weren’t many post about it. For a un-established blog like mine, that was a total win. Unfortunately it was a total fluke and I only wrote about the problem because one of my twitter followers asked me to.
    Now I’m trying to figure out how to find Phrases that people are looking for that have relatively low competition so that I can build my blog up to be one of the bigger boys on the playground.
    Do you have any advice on how to do this?

  3. Ian

    @Carl That one post wasn’t a fluke! That’s how it works. Keep at it, and you get the occasional win. Over time, those wins accumulate, you add subscribers and readers, and traffic – and conversions – go up. It takes time, but it works.

  4. So, so, so, I am probably being a bit of a dufus here but… the idea is that you easily mine a load of feed data to get an idea what is currently hot in a topical area?
    Is that right, or have I missed the point? :)
    Will have a play thought, sounds groovy.
    Marcus

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