For a while now I’ve been using Google alerts to keep tabs on the PR generated about clients and competitors. Whilst there were a few flaky results, in general it’s been pretty good as a web-clipping service, especially considering its price. It’s free.
Recently Google expanded the reach of the service to cover any mention of the company names across blogs and forums as well as the better known news services. At first I considered turning these off, as most were just re-hashes of releases seen earlier on the ‘professional’ sites. However, after not getting round to culling these sites from the service, I’ve now decided not to.
The alerts service is turning out to be a useful way to see how news disseminates across the web, building links from little niche sites, and helping our SEO efforts. It has also thrown up a couple of sites worth approaching for direct relationships. Whilst it has thrown up very few sites with real ‘clout’ it’s been a useful education in where and how some of my client’s brands are being talked about.
That’s one step away from part of the conversations themselves, but at least they now feel like they’re in the same room as their customers.