As authors, we like to know what people are saying—good and not-so-good—about us. Luckily, Google Alerts is a fantastic free service that can help you not only monitor the buzz around your book but also check out your competition, and even discover possible speaking opportunities from your platform as an author.
You just need a Google account to sign up for alerts. To get started, go to http://alerts.google.com. If you want better reporting on your website traffic, you should also have your website designer install Google Analytics, which is also free: http://analytics.google.com.
Here are some Google Alerts you should be sure to create:
1. Author Name – Track your name so you see when it’s mentioned online.
2. Website URLs – Create alerts for your website(s) and/or blog(s). You can leave off “www” or “http” and simply create the alert for “mywebsite.com.”
3. Book Titles – Whether you have one book or twenty, track mentions of your book online with an alert. This gives you the opportunity to thank reviewers and others who mention your book. You may also want to write a blog post for your own blog and link back to any major media mentions.
4. Industry Statistics – Depending on the subject matter of your book, create alerts to track what’s happening in the industry. For example, if your book is about small-business financing, you might have alerts for “business loans statistics,” “angel investing,” etc. When you’re alerted to new statistics, you can use them to write a relevant blog post, share on social media, or as fodder to create a new PR campaign. Sharing statistics and then providing supporting data or tips can be a great way to capture media attention.
5. Competing Titles/Authors – If you’re serious about book promotion, it never hurts to keep an eye on the competition. If a competing author lands an interview with a major media outlet, see if you can follow up on that with a slightly different perspective.
6. Article Titles – If you distribute articles to sites like ezinearticles.com, ideamarketers.com, or any other content distribution service, create an alert for the title of each article to find out where it appears online.
7. Speaking Opportunities – If you speak on the topic of healthy living, create an alert for “call for speakers health” or “health conference” or “healthy living event.” Use Google Alerts to uncover new opportunities for speaking, contributing articles, etc. This takes some creative testing, but can bring you some fantastic opportunities.
8. Blogs and News – Staying on top of news for your industry is a great way to learn and get engaged with your target audience. Create alerts that lead you to news stories, whether from major media sites or blogs. Then, take time to comment on related stories. And don’t just say, “Nice article!” Instead, demonstrate your expertise and contribute to the conversation. Add a missing tip that the writer didn’t include. Make it interesting and valuable and readers will notice.