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Setting up Google Alerts
Google Alerts is a handy tool, especially if you’re trying to keep track of who’s talking about you online and in the media. You can add a Google Alert that keeps track of your company name, website, blog, your name or just the research that you are doing.
To set up a Google Alert, follow the below steps:
- Go to www.Google.com.
- On the top of the page, click more.
- On the page that comes up, click Alerts.
- Type in your Search Term (what you are searching for), the type of mentions for which you are looking (comprehensive, news, blogs, etc.), how often you would like the alerts sent to you and your email address.
- Click Create Alert, and you will start receiving your alerts.
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Effectively Using Search Terms
What’s so useful about Google Alerts is that you can see if your media message is being effective. Let’s say that you sent out a message to bloggers or even the media about your latest event. As opposed to going to every news outlet online or the blog pages themselves, Google Alerts will let you know if your event has been mentioned based on the search terms that you specify.
To most effectively use search terms on Google Alerts, you need to ensure that what’s being given back to you is relevant. Let’s say that your company name is Earth Fare, which actually is a grocery store in North Carolina. If you just put in the term Earth Fare, you will get every mention of “earth” and “fare”, whether or not those terms are together.
But, if you put in an Exact Key Phrase Search using quotes (“Earth Fare”), your alerts will only come back when the whole term Earth Fare is found. You can also do similar searches like this with other search actions.
For example, you can search for one term and not its derivatives, i.e. book versus booking, by using a plus sign. This way if you search for +life, you won't get the derivatives living, live, etc.
You can also search for more than one search term by using the word OR. You can also search for synonyms to terms for which you are searching by using a tilde (~). For example, if you search for the term ~earth, you will get results for land, soil, etc. as well.
You can also search for a specific term on a single site. This is especially useful if you pitched a story to let’s say The Wall Street Journal, and you want to see whether or not this one outlet ran your story. If you pitched a story about healthy food, you can put the following phrase into the Search terms box on Google Alerts: “healthy food” site: online.wsj.com/. This will ensure that you will know whether or not your story was run.
Google Alerts is one of the best ways to follow your media and blog mentions. Plus, it’s free and easy to use.