We live in a competitive world, right? Sometimes its a downright dog-eat-dog world. Each day as business owners and entrepreneurs we are trying to figure out what is going to make us better than our competition. In my personal experience understanding what is going on in your industry and knowing what your competition is up to are two key steps into doing better and being better than your competitors. I don’t know about you but I’d rather not be the dog eaten.
Previously I wrote a blog post titled “4 ways an RSS feed can help you become an industry expert.” If you didn’t get a chance to read that blog post I’d say head on over and spend a few minutes absorbing that info as well as it ties into this post really well.
In this post I would like to share the 6 types of Google Alerts I have set up for my business and how you can set up Google Alerts in 6 steps or less for your business! Let’s first start by defining with a Google Alert is. This definition of a Google Alert is straight from Google’s website.
Google Alerts are emails sent to you when Google finds new results — such as web pages, newspaper articles, or blogs — that match your search term. You can use Google Alerts to monitor anything on the Web. For example, people use Google Alerts to:
- find out what is being said about their company or product.
- monitor a developing news story.
- keep up to date on a competitor or industry.
- get the latest news on a celebrity or sports team.
- find out what’s being said about themselves.
So now that you have a definition of what a Google Alert does you may be seeing how the sky is the limit in how you can utilize this in your business. Here are 6 types of alerts I have set up in Google. You may find a need to use all of these or just one, it all varies based on your business.
I have alerts set up for all variations of my name. I do this so if my name is mentioned on someone’s website I know about it. This is good because you know what the word on the street is about you, but it’s also good if there is a press mention with you in it. Knowing this will help you use it t your advantage in your PR strategies and outreach.
I have alerts set up on my business names – all of my DBA’s as well as the legal names with and without the LLC at the ends. This is for the same reason above. You want to know if your name is being mentioned anywhere. This helps you stay on top of what’s being said, so should something unpleasant be said about you, you know before it becomes a big issue.
I have alerts set up for my clients. All of my clients who have an active presence on the Internet I have alerts set up. This is for the same reasons noted above. If they are clients of mine I need to have their back should something come up and I want to know when something comes up right away so I can be proactive in utilizing the new found information.
I have alerts set up for the names of products, projects or services I offer. For example I have an alert set up for “30 days – 30 voices” which was a June pride month project I did. It is important for me to know who is reading/listening and sharing that information.
I have alerts set up on the topics and trends within my industry. For example I have a Google Alert for “Gay Business” so anytime gay business is mentioned in an article I get notified. This allows me to know what is happening in the industry before waiting for another media outlet to pick up the story for me to find out at a later date.
Finally, I have alerts on those that have similar offerings to me. Whether these individuals or businesses be actual competition or just someone in the same niche, it’s good to know what is happening in the industry so you can stay fresh and current.
So now that I’ve shared the secrets of what I am doing with Google Alerts I am going to show you how to set them up in a few easy steps.
Step 1. Make sure you have a Google account. Don’t have one? You can do it here.
Step 2. Go to the Google Alerts page here. The page is super simple.
Step 3. Add the term you want to be notified of in the “Search query” box. For exact matches use quotes around your term. For example “Gay Business & Marketing” versus Gay Business & Marketing. These will yield different results just as they would using them as search terms in a search engine.
Step 4. Drop down the “Result type” which has a range of things you can choose. On the right hand side you will see a preview of the results. I always choose “Everything” but you could set up separate alerts for just news, just blogs, etc. It depends on how detailed you want to get.
Step 5. Choose how often you’d like to receive the alerts. Depending on the pace of your business you can choose as it happens, once a day or once a week. I have mine set to once a week so my inbox is not overwhelmed with notifications. (In a future blog post I will cover an easy and effective way of sorting your Google Alerts in your inbox so you don’t become overwhelmed.)
Step 6. Finally, set which e-mail address you would like the alert to be sent to. Then click “Create Alert”
Next to the “Create Alert” button there is a “Manager your alerts” button as well. Here is where you can see everything you have set up. You can edit it with ease by clicking on “Edit” on the far right.
I hope this post has helped you stay up to date on what’s happening in your industry and with your competition. Don’t forget to take a look at the blog post on RSS feeds for additional ideas on how to stay ahead of the competition.
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