There are a lot of bloggers out there. Chances are one of them is saying something about your brand. They’re starting a conversation, whether you know it or not. The question is, are you listening? If you are, you can observe and adjust.
It’s easier than you might think. Here’s how I do some very basic reputation tracking using Google Blogsearch and an RSS feed reader:
Get A Feed Reader
First, you need an RSS feed reader. I use Google Reader, which you can find at www.google.com/reader. It’s free, and gives me some great tools for paging through lots of stuff.
In your feed reader, add a folder. You’re going to track conversations about you here, so name it something that makes sense. I use ‘clients’ because I track buzz about my clients, as well as my company.
Bug the Blogosphere: Start Listening
- Go to Google Blog Search: blogsearch.google.com.
- Search for your name, your company name, or the brand you need to track:
- On the search results page, click ‘sort by date’. It’s a link at the upper-right. That’ll order the search results by date, descending, instead of by relevance. Now you’ll see the latest stuff, first.
- Now for the cool part. Look on the left-hand side of the page. You can subscribe to this search result using RSS:
- Right-click on the ‘RSS’ link. In the context menu that appears, select ‘copy link location’, ‘copy URL’, ‘copy link’ or ‘copy address’, or whatever equivalent your browser offers.
- In your feed reader, click ‘subscribe’ or ‘add feed’ (or, again, whatever equivalent your reader offers).
- Paste in the URL you just copied.
That’s it. You’ve now got an RSS feed that tracks all mentions of that phrase. Check it each day, and you’ll get a quick, high-level view of who’s saying what:
You can add feeds for other phrases as needed. I usually track:
- The names of corporate officers
- The company name
- Any brands or products associated with that company
A Quick Case Study: Conversation Requires Listening
A client didn’t know it, but they had a fan club. We set up blog search feed tracking for them, and they immediately saw they had dozens of bloggers who loved their product. We contacted these bloggers, sent them new stuff for free, and expanded our client’s reach, and incoming links, by a factor of 2. All because we took 10 minutes to set up these RSS feeds.
Get out there and start listening!