One of the most effective ways to tap into news about your industry is through Google Alerts. Not only is it free, but also provides you with some valuable insight and enhances your PR efforts.
Using Google Alerts will help you…
- Know what media coverage your competitors are getting.
- Monitor a developing news story about your products and services.
- Find out what news angles are of interest to journalists for your industry.
- Target reporters and editors who are interested in your space.
Here’s how it works:
- You enter a query that you’re interested in.
- Google Alerts checks regularly to see if there are new results for your query.
- If there are new results, Google Alerts sends them to you in an email.
I recommend to all clients who want to stay abreast of what’s happening in the news to set up several alerts. At minimum, you should set up one alert targeting your competitor, and another for your industry. Be sure to choose “News” for the type of alert you want to create, otherwise, you will get a ton of results from the web that can be daunting to pour through. It takes time to get the right results and you will want to alter your alerts through trial and error until your search provides you with the most relevant content. Try to be as precise as possible. The more precise your search terms are, the more relevant your alerts will be. Here are some helpful tips:
- Use quotes around words if you are looking for them together.
- Use a minus sign (-) in front of words that you want to exclude.
- Put a plus sign (+) immediately before a word to match that word precisely as you typed it.
Google Alerts gives you the nifty option to preview the results before you set up the alert. Here is an example. One of my clients is in the renewable energy field here in Ottawa. (Click the image to enlarge it).
In the above screen shot, I have put quotations around their industry “solar power” and only want local news, so I added, “+Ottawa” in the search terms. My client likes to know what is happening in their backyard as it is published, so selecting “as-it-happens” in the “How often” field provides me with the alert instantly so that we can respond to issues and news topics together quickly.
Advance Warning: If you choose the “as-it-happens” option, you may receive multiple emails per day and might want to adjust your settings to “once a day” or “once a week” – depending on your thirst for knowledge.
Another simple way to monitor industry news without setting up an alert is to use Google News Canada http://news.google.ca/ – but be sure to click the “advanced news search” under the “Search the Web” button. This will give you the opportunity target specific news you want to retrieve using some of the search tips above, without overwhelming your inbox or news feed. Personally, I like the alerts. With the right search terms, we can address media opportunities as they arise.
What do you do with all this information? Good question.
When you find relative news, read it. Understand the news angle and take note of the reporters name and contact information so you can start creating your own media list. Chances are, if the reporter has written an article relative to your industry and you have something to contribute to the topic in a timely fashion, the more apt he/she will be interested in what you have to say. The pitch becomes easier as does the likelihood of getting media coverage.
PS. If you are looking to contribute and comment on blogs, why not find influencers who are blogging about your industry? Simply change “News” to “Blogs” and create a new alert. Your social media presence will get Google juice working for you!