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Using Google Alerts for DIY PR

One free tool I always recommend for DIY PR outreach is Google Alerts. Why? It may not be perfect, but it’s free, extremely easy to use and works automatically once you set it up.

You’ve may have already set up Google Alerts for various things in your life, but if you haven’t tried this Google tool or haven’t thought about it specifically as something you could use for your PR and media outreach strategy, here are a few quick tips to help you get started.

Set Up Your Alerts

  • Visit Google Alerts
  • Choose 2-3 keyword phrases you want to monitor.
Tip

I recommend choosing phrases that will be extremely relevant to your business. Be as specific as possible. Don’t set up an alert for “fashion brand” when what you really want to monitor is “eco-friendly fashion brand.”

Tip

Experiment with creating one alert with keywords that will return mostly consumer-facing results. By that, I mean news and blog posts created for consumers to read. For example, “sustainable shopping” or “eco-friendly gifts.” Then create a second alert with keywords that will return results mostly addressing a business audience. For example, “fashion tech startups” or “sustainable fashion trends.” This will help you monitor both consumer and B2B news sources.

Tip

If you live in a major market with multiple media outlets such as New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Dallas, Miami and others, you may want to create a geography-specific alert such as “San Francisco fashion” in order to gather local results.

  • Add your keyword phrase and select the sources you want to monitor by clicking the link to “options.” I recommend selecting news and blogs. Also select the region you want to monitor at this stage.
  • Once you’ve created your alerts, head to your email inbox and set up a filter that will collect all incoming alerts in a single folder.
  • Check this folder either daily or weekly to quickly skim through the results.
  • Look for headlines and posts that are not only interesting to you in general, but are relevant to your brand. You are trying to find media outlets, journalists and content creators who are demonstrating that they are likely to be interested in your brand news by virtue of what they’re currently publishing. Good questions to ask yourself as you skim the list are: could this story have featured me/my brand? Is this about a brand that does something similar to what my company does? Could I have been a good person to interview or talk to as part of this story or post?
  • When you see a headline or post title that sounds relevant to you, click on it. Make a note (I recommend doing this in a spreadsheet) of the publication and also the author or content creator. Include a link back to the story or post so you can easily find it again.
  • You can come back to the spreadsheet of media targets on a weekly or monthly basis and fill in the remaining contact information you need to begin attempting to connect with this member of the media. Typically, you’ll want to collect both contact information that’s publicly available and social media information so you have that at your fingertips when you’re setting and executing your ongoing daily media outreach goals.

A Free Alternative to Google Alerts

If you hate Google Alerts or just want to be as comprehensive as possible, you can experiment with another free service, TalkWalker Alerts. It functions in much the same way, though it does not let you select multiple information sources at a time. Because of this, you may need to set up two alerts for the same keyword phrase in order to monitor, say, only blogs and news sources and not web and discussion forum sources.

Premium Options

If you’ve got budget for a premium tool, there are a number of companies that specialize in media monitoring for businesses. A few to research are Muckrack, Mention and Meltwater.

4 Comments
  • Elizabeth
    Posted at 19:29h, 08 January Reply

    This has been so helpful! Thank you

  • Dina
    Posted at 00:09h, 24 January Reply

    Thank you! This is truly helpful information on how to use Google Alerts.

    • Lorraine Sanders
      Posted at 17:40h, 27 January Reply

      Glad it helped! It’s a great free method when you don’t want to pay for the enterprise solutions out there.

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