Do you ever sit down to write a blog post or share something interesting on Facebook and absolutely nothing comes to mind? It happens to me often enough, and I’m sure it happens to everyone else; from small business owners just doing what they can to seasoned marketing professionals. So, what do I do when I’m looking for something share-worthy to post or write about? Same as you: Google search. But this method can be hit-and-miss.
When all we do is occasionally type in a keyword and read the first page of results, we’re really just dipping our toe into a pool of information that gets deeper by the day. If you’d rather dive in head first and swim laps in this pool, you’re going to want to set up Google Alerts.
Now you can also get email alerts about Google’s trending searches! Go to http://www.google.com/trends/hottrends and subscribe at the top right corner. (Warning: select as-it-happens at your own risk!)
By automating the regular delivery of pinpointed search results to your email, Google will fill your editorial calendar with news, ideas, and useful info your fans and followers will love. Not only that, but there are three other clever ways you can make the biggest search engine in the world work for you.
Side note: Here are 5 More Tools for Sparking Content Ideas
4 Advantages of Using Google Alerts
What do they all say is the first step in creating a successful marketing campaign? Listening. We could all be monitoring our industries a little closer, and setting up an Alert can help us keep our ears to the ground. Use it to discover new product and service developments as well as the needs and desires of your target audience. If you find people asking questions relating to your industry on advice and Q&A sites, answer them and you could get yourself some new leads.
Like I mentioned above, using Google Alerts is an efficient way to find interesting content and social sharing ideas. Set up an alert to help you find timely stories you can tweet about or “jack” for your blog.
If you work on behalf of multiple clients like we do, set up an Alert with your client’s business name, domain name, or social handles to help you monitor their reputation. When any blogger, social media user, or directory mentions your client, you can stay on top of it and build relationships (or put out fires).
Lastly, you can turn the reputation management advantage around on your competitors. By setting up an alert with a competing business’ name you can keep an eye on their campaigns, partnerships, and high-value endorsements.
Sold? Okay, Let’s Get This Party Started!
Go to Google.com/alerts.
You’re looking at seven fields that can influence your results. Here’s what they mean and how to use them.
1. Search Query: Here’s where you put in your keyword. If you have a high-volume term, you may want to consider choosing more specialized or long tail keywords so that you’re not flooded with irrelevant content. Use the + and – filters and other search operators to pinpoint exactly what you’re looking for. You could even use the asterisk “wildcard” command to discover questions being asked and answered. Ex: “How * dental” will return questions and answers like, “how do dental implants work?” “How to become a dentist” “how are dental fillings made?”
2. Result Type: Go with “everything” to make sure nothing gets past you, or narrow it down to News, Blogs, or Videos to get more focused results.
3. Language: A lot of us will stick with English, but you can request results in any language, which can certainly be helpful if you operate in a diverse community.
4. Region: Do you have customers in Canada? Are you competing with a Chinese manufacturer? If you have customers or competitors in other countries, use this function to get results from international sources.
5. How Often: Choosing “As-it-happens” makes me feel like a news reporter on the leading edge. Now, this could be helpful and exciting, or it could just be a constant distraction. For this field, consider your keywords. Newsjacking on an obscure topic could be great for “As-it-happens,” but for more common queries you may want to go with once a day or once a week.
6. How Many: Do you want only the best or all of it? Again, consider your keywords. If you go with the default, Google only will offer you the most relevant, high quality results. Or you can select “all results” and see what might be lower-quality or less relevant. You won’t be getting everything on the internet in every email, just what’s new since your last alert.
7. Enter your email and wait….
If after a few days of emails you feel you’ve made a mistake, don’t worry! You can always make adjustments with the “Manage Your Alerts” function.
I hope your experience with Google Alerts is nothing but inspiring! Good Luck 🙂