To manage a successful online brand management campaign, it is essential to know when and where a conversation related to your website or company is sparked; if for nothing else so you can positively engage into the conversation, giving a “human feel” behind a virtual webpage. While many mainstream sites have made this process seamless by offering search services internally, blogs must adhere to a separate set of rules. Despite the fact that blogs are usually interconnected, they are largely viewed by the search engines as separate entities and therefore lack an integrated search feature.
To address this problem, specific online services have been developed to monitor not only the entire blogosphere, but specific weblogs as well; monitoring the Internet for buzz on your personal brand and related keywords. Utilizing these tools makes it easier than ever to respond to comments on blog posts, research material for new content or even arrange link exchanges to boost visibility.
Although there are several services available for use, here are the three that HostLabs found to be the most beneficial:
As one of the most popular tracking and monitoring tools online, Google Alerts allows individuals and companies to follow their brand across the entire Internet (news items, general searches, blogs, Google Groups, videos, etc.). When setting up the search preferences Google Alerts offers some easy customization features. Users can quickly choose their result type (blogs, news, videos, books or “everything”), frequency of alerts and finally how many results (only the best results or all results). All it takes is an email address and Google Alerts will deliver the news right to your inbox, as soon as it happens.
When dealing with strictly blogs, Technorati is presumably the most powerful means of searching the blogosphere for buzz phrases in new posts. In addition to indexing several thousands of blogs, Technorati will keep one update with news clippings containing related keywords. Because the database on Technorati is so large, it’s easy to quickly search for appearances of your brand name. It is even possible to create an RSS Feed that automatically updates a user when a post containing your brand is updated on the web.
If you’re only interested in monitoring a few select blogs, as opposed to the entire blogosphere, then WatchThatPage may prove more beneficial to you. This service gives users the opportunity to compile a list of weblogs to watch for updates ranging from general to very specific changes. In terms of online brand management, one can use this tool to monitor competing blogs and business pages so that you will be immediately notified should they try to generate a negative spin for your brand.