Most companies need to track their market, clients or competitors to grow revenue and expand or improve on their offerings. Having the right industry data or market insight at the right time can often make or break your chances of winning new business. If you’re in a competitive market, it’s also crucial to understand trends that are happening so you have time to adapt.
We’ve written before about some of our favorite places to find email news digests, but in this post we’ll discuss a different aspect of getting relevant content at work: email alerts. While news digests push information to you based on your industry, preferences, or recommendations from colleagues, news alerts won’t trigger until something relevant appears on the web. They can be dormant for weeks or months until a relevant term pops up. That said, poorly designed alerts can inundate you with irrelevant information based on overly broad keywords or phrases. This makes it important to test your alerts using Boolean operators, which any reliable alerts tool should have available.
This post outlines some of the best tools for creating news, blog and web alerts to help you stay on top of relevant developments at work. Note: since this list is focused on your professional life, just a few of the services are free.
Google Alerts. This is probably the most widely known alerts tool. It’s free to use as long as you have a Google account. Google has updated the service over the years to the frustration of many users, and others have raised questions about its comprehensiveness and reliability. Still, Google Alerts remain a mainstay for many professionals who want to keep abreast of developments involving their company, key executives, trends in their field, and other news. One of the nice features of Google Alerts is the ability to create an RSS feed for your alerts, which allow you to track your alerts in an RSS feedreader or newsreader.
Mention. Another near real-time media monitoring app, Mention is a Paris-based service directed mainly at providing brands with “filtered, organized and prioritized information from the web and social networks.” Mention supports dozens of languages and allows you to customize your alerts and reports to a high degree. For example, if you’re interested only in specific social networks in certain languages, you can quickly adjust those settings. This makes Mention particularly useful for larger companies looking to track news and social discussion across regions, languages and preferred networks. Free accounts are available, though only a certain number of mentions can be tracked per month without upgrading.
SocialMention. If you’re looking for instances of specific keywords being used on social media, Social Mention might be the right tool for you. It’s a social media search and analysis platform that combines social content from different sites into a single newsfeed. According to its website, the service monitors more than 100 social media services directly. Social Mention is well known for their daily social media alerts, though this appears temporarily disabled as of this writing.
Talkwalker. Billing itself as “the best free and easy alternative to Google Alerts,” Talkwaker monitors the web for relevant news and other content in a similar way. Creating alerts are very familiar to the Google process, with the ability to customize result type, language, frequency, and relevance. Unlike Google Alerts, however, Talkwalker’s free service doesn’t include real-time, as-it-happens alerts — only once-a-day or once-a-week monitoring. Talkwalker appears geared toward social media monitoring as its primary use-case and claims many notable brands as its clients.
Bloomberg Professional. A juggernaut in the world of financial information, Bloomberg Professional is well known for their robust alerts functionality. The platform allows email alerts to be created for virtually any financial event, including changes in the trading of individual instruments in the commodities, derivatives, equities, fixed income and FX markets. Other events, like corporate announcements, earnings releases, capital raises and the like are also easily tracked with custom alerts.
StreetAccount. Designed to track market-moving information in real-time, StreetAccount is targeted at institutional investors, equity analysts and other financial services professionals. For that reason, the service is focused mainly on tracking different types of company news. In addition to serving as a corporate newsreader, StreetAccount pulls from sources as diverse as court rulings, FTC antitrust decisions, analyst presentations, earnings transcripts and the like. StreetAccount also helps manage its flow of email alerts by allowing users to create filters for specific items like stocks, indices, keywords and keyphrases.
Public Relations, Media Relations & Marketing Professionals
Cision. This alerts tool is offered by a giant of the PR monitoring landscape, Sweden-based Cision, as part of their full software suite. Primarily focused on tracking the media landscape, distributing press releases and managing publicity campaigns, Cision also offers robust media monitoring tools. Alerts can be set to track the social web, print media sources, broadcast outlets, and blogs in either near real-time or daily reports.
Meltwater. One of the established players in the PR media monitoring field, Meltwater alerts are designed for PR professionals to easily monitor breaking news and updates about key client accounts, competitors and industries of focus. The service tracks thousands of news publications along with the major social media networks. Meltwater puts a focus on Boolean logic to allow for more quality in their search results, along with translation and archive features. As part of their broader PR-oriented offering, Meltwater’s alerts are integrated to allow easy social sharing of the content it uncovers.
Vocus. Another stalwart of the PR- and marketing-focused monitoring space, Vocus’s software tracks and scans thousands of news sources, including television and radio stations in both the U.S. and internationally. Not surprisingly, Vocus also tracks blog mentions and the social web. If you’re a public relations professional or work in marketing for a major brand, chances are you’ve encountered Vocus at some point. The company offers a range of other PR and marketing-automation services.
Sales & Marketing Professionals
Colabo. Founded in 2010, Colabo is designed for sales and marketing professionals. It gathers data from any web source and sends alerts when changes occur in the pages you track. According to its website, Colabo is used primarily for sales prospecting, lead qualification, lead generation, and named account tracking. Other interesting use-cases include simplifying market and industry research by gathering many different sources into a single dashboard, and enabling alerts.
ContentGems. Closer to marketing than sales, ContentGems provides a platform to help marketers discover, organize and share relevant content to help build their brand leadership and inbound web traffic. To help track relevant ideas, trends, products and industries, ContentGems provides advanced Boolean syntax, a common feature for most alerts services but something particularly useful for analyzing text for content marketing. The service boasts the ability to track thousands of news sources, blogs and social media accounts, as well as any website with an RSS feed. You can also configure ContentGems to send a single daily email digest with your results.
GageIn. This list wouldn’t be complete without GageIn, a company that calls itself “Google Alerts on steroids.” Aimed primarily at sales and marketing professionals looking for events, trends and triggers to facilitate introductions to potential leads, GageIn offers a SalesForce integration to begin recommending news about your specific companies and people of interest. The service also lets you zero in on different types of sales triggers, from executive moves, product launches, capital raises and other events. GageIn also uses machine-learning algorithms to help suggest alerts based on the ones you previously found most relevant.
Did we miss any? Let us know: nat [AT] getwiser.com.