I’m hoping you’ve already heard of Google Alerts. If you haven’t, allow me to provide a summary: Google Alerts is a free and open online tool (no Gmail account required), which automatically delivers new online content to your inbox based on search words you select. You can set up a Google Alert in more or less the same way you would search for something in the Google search engine, and how often you receive these search results and from which sources is up to you, making this tool incredibly handy.
I’ve used Google Alerts for years to find inspiration for blogs and other content for clients, and the more I use them, the more I realize just how many ways there are to incorporate them into a marketing program.
10 ways to use Google Alerts in your marketing strategy
- Find inspiration for blogs or other content. Look at the analytics for past blogs and other content to see which topics are resonating with audiences. Then, set up Google Alerts around related keywords. When new blogs, events, research papers, whitepapers or other content is published to the web, you can write a reaction piece about it. Just be sure to follow common courtesy and copyright law by writing about the topic from your own point-of-view, in your own words, and include a link to the article.
- Keep an eye on the competition. Did your competitor just release a product or service that will compete with yours? Or did they put out a new blog or whitepaper that you can draw inspiration from? The more you know about the competitive landscape, the better, and Google Alerts with keywords like your competitors’ company names ensure you’re in the know.
- Manage your brand identity. Some social media websites allow you to track how many times and in what context your company name was mentioned, but not all. And social media monitoring tools won’t capture instances of mentions elsewhere on the web. So why not set up a free Google Alert to monitor what people are saying about you or your company? If you identify positive feedback early on, you can leverage it by mentioning it on your own networks. If you identify negative feedback, you can take steps to mitigate the damage before it gets worse.
- Find event marketing opportunities. If speaking engagements, event sponsorship or networking are part of your marketing strategy, you can set up a Google Alert to help you find upcoming events you may want to sponsor or attend.
- Keep up to date on a trending news story. Will an ongoing news story or trend impact your company? You can set up Google Alerts to send you new information on the story as soon as it becomes available.
- Find guest post opportunities. Some companies or associations will announce opportunities to contribute articles for publication on their blogs or news websites. Set up a Google Alert to find these opportunities as they are announced so you can take advantage of them. Just be sure to follow Google’s latest recommendations for posting on external sites to avoid being penalized from an SEO standpoint.
- Find potential employees. Often a marketer’s job involves more than just finding new customers, and will entail playing an active role in recruiting new talent. When you set up Google Alerts for the skills and education the HR team is looking for in a new employee, you can be notified when a potential fit posts their resume to online job-hunting sites. Just think of how much the HR team will appreciate it!
- Find commenting opportunities. Commenting on other blogs is a great way to build links back to your site and add your voice to the conversation, building brand awareness. With Google Alerts, you can find blogs that cover topics relevant to your business that are also open to commenting (more on how to set that up next week).
- Track the progress of your marketing efforts. Measuring the return on your marketing investments can help you justify them. If you can show your boss, for example, that your press release was picked up by multiple large news outlets (and demonstrate the extra traffic or conversions that resulted), they will be more likely to support your future efforts. Another example: If you see that another company or influencer mentioned your recent blog on their website, you can reach out to thank them, and perhaps provide a link back to their website from your own, building a relationship that can benefit both parties.
- Guard against plagiarism. Did you take time to produce high-quality content from original research that your competitors may find tempting to claim as their own? Use key phrases from your content as Google Alert keywords to make sure that if others are using your content, they are using it fairly (and linking back to the original source). If you find a problem, a polite email to whoever is using your content unfairly is often all you need to get it resolved.
Are you excited about setting up Google Alerts to fuel your marketing efforts? Next week, we’ll dive into how to set up Google Alerts, including examples of which keywords to use and how to use Google search operators. Sign up for our email newsletter to be notified when that blog is posted.
Have you found another creative way to use Google Alerts? Email me – I’d love to hear about it!