Free search tools can open up a new world of content discovery. It has for me. Becoming a content sleuth equips you to respond early and stay current. More than tools, this is a process where content becomes a controllable, valued asset. Learn how to search industry news, monitor social media, and organize real-time syndicated content in one place – Google Reader. You can subscribe to websites, blogs, social media networks, and video feeds.
1. Establish a Google account. All you need to set up an account with Google is an email address. At the top of your Google page select Reader from the menu bar. Near the top of the page click the + Add a subscription button. Enter a search word or phrase. Suggestions might be your industry or product, company name or competitor’s name, depending on why you are searching. For example, if you supply solar panels enter those words.
The syndicated feeds that appear include Internet sites with the number of subscribers. Look at the URLs (website addresses) to see if you are interested in subscribing to any. If so, click on Subscribe under the feed listed. The name of the feed you just subscribed to appears under “Subscriptions” (left column) on your Google Reader page. Also, look directly on websites and when available click on the RSS feeds icon on the website page or in the URL address bar.
2. Add keyword alerts. From the top of your Reader page, select “more” and then “even more”. The Google Options page appears. Select Alerts. Enter your same keyword. In the Deliver to box, select Feed and then Create Alert. This directs your alert to appear on the Reader page, not your email.
3. To find bloggers, go again to the Google Options page (more, even more) and select Blog search. Click on Search Blogs. Type in your same keyword, e.g., solar panels. Click on Subscribe to a blog search feed in Google Reader at the bottom of the page. Then click on the + Subscribe button. This is a good way to find people (including members of the media) who write about your keyword subject. You can subscribe to any of these blogs individually by clicking on the headline and looking for the RSS feed icon on the website page or address bar.
4. To monitor social media, go to the Google Options page (more, even more) and select “Real Time”. Add your same keyword and click on Create an email alert at the bottom of the page. Under Deliver to select Feed. Click on Create Alert.
5. To add videos feeds to Google Reader, select Videos from the menu bar. Enter your same keyword. A list of video URLs comes up. Click on Subscribe to a video search feed for [your keyword] in Google Reader at the bottom of the page. Click on the + Subscribe button.
6. Get industry news by selecting more from you Google Reader page menu, then News. The Top News Stories feed appears. Enter the same key word as before. Click on the Search News button. Then the “Follow [your keyword] news” button. This adds the keyword search to your list of “News” items. For some unknown reason, I can only access this feed from the “News” page and not in Google Reader. I add the Top News Stories feed to Google Reader anyway so I can open it from my Subscriptions list and then select my keyword subject from the News page.
Take Control, Organize
From the Google Reader page, you will see all of your keyword-designated feeds listed in the “Subscriptions” box. Create a directory folder to organize your feeds. At the bottom of the Subscription box click on the “Manage my subscriptions” link. Your feeds appear in alphabetical order. Click on the Add to a folder button. Then select New Folder and give it a name, e.g., Solar. This becomes your directory folder name. Add the others to this folder. When you subscribe to anything related to your keyword, add it to this directory folder using the Manage my Subscriptions link.
You now have the latest Google syndicated news coming to you in real-time for free. Check the feeds every day. Do you have other methods for gathering news that work for you?