Each day, I get a digest delivered to my email inbox containing the latest news and information relating to my industry, my competition and my business. Thousands of news articles and blog posts are written everyday and I simply don’t have time to scour the web looking for all of the information that relates to me, and thankfully I don’t have to.
Google has a very useful, but under utilized tool called Google Alerts. If you don’t use this tool yet, today’s a good day to start, and it’s really easy.
Go to Google.com/Alerts and type in a search query. You’ll need a Google account to have your alerts emailed to you, so create one if you’ve been holding out. You need one for your Google+ profile anyway, which I’ll discuss in a different blog post.
You can select the type of results you want to receive, as well as how often and how many. I usually select “Everything”, “Once a day” and “Only the best results” for my standard industry searches.
For industry searches, use keywords that are relevant to your business. For example, I have alerts setup for “online business”, “entrepreneur”, “web startup” and “internet business”. By using quotes in your search query, you’ll only get results with the exact term instead of everything containing each of the words.
The alerts I use for my business name, RipenWay, and my personal name, “JP Stonestreet” are setup to send me everything as soon as it’s found. That allows me to know immediately if I’m mentioned in a news article or blog post so I can respond accordingly. This is the most important alert you can receive so even if you don’t want to use this tool for industry searches, at least use it for your business name and your personal name.
Staying on top of your competition is really easy using this tool. An alert I received today for the “online business” search term contained an article written about a new competitor of mine that I may never have heard about. Thanks to my quick perusal of my daily news digest, I know what my competition is doing and how they’re doing it.
Spend 5 minutes right now and setup a few alerts using the Google Alerts tool. You’ll be glad you did!