Imagine if you had the ability to find out every time someone mentioned your name or your book on the Internet.
This would give you access to reviews, or even a random comment on Twitter.
You could find situations in which to engage with those that think positively or negatively about your works.
Basically, you would have complete access to all things on the internet involving you, your books, or your brand.
I understand that ignorance is bliss, but we’re talking about our author brand and our business.
So, in this article, I am going to show you exactly how to setup something like this that will alert you every time someone mentions a particular word on the internet of your choosing.
Oh and did I mention it’s all free and will only take 5 minutes to setup?
What you will learn in this article
- How to setup Google Alerts
- What to monitor
- How to use this to increase your author brand
- Another option that is better than Google
How to Setup Google Alerts
A while ago, Google created a free service called “Google Alerts.”
Basically, you tell Google what words or phrases you want it to monitor and every time those words or phrases are mentioned on the Internet, Google will alert you.
To many, this is used for research or for news feeds, but for us writers, it can be a direct path to engagement opportunities.
But first, let’s set it up.
To setup Google Alerts in three easy steps, you need to:
- Go to http://Google.com/alerts
- Log on to your Google account
- Put in the keywords you would like to track
And BOOM, you now Google will send you messages every time someone mentions you or your brand.
Pretty simple right?
What Should an Author Monitor with Google Alerts
In many cases this will depend on your situation. However, here a couple of potential alerts that most authors should think about using:
- Your Pen Name or Author Name
- Name of your book
- URL of your website (if it is different than your author name)
- Name of your publishing company
- Name of your competitor’s book (gives opportunity to engage with their readers)
- Genre keywords (great for news and updates on your social media account)
- Your Target Keywords
How to Wield the Power of an Author Alert
The above potential alerts all come with their own tactics in replying, but the key is to just engage.
Random Mention On Their Blog
If someone mentions you or your book on their blog, take the time to leave a comment. It will show that you are engaging with them and make them more likely to edit or reply further with praise.
An example of this was recently when a blogger posted my article in a Spanish website. Because he used the word “Kindlepreneur” I got an alert, checked it out and was pretty stoked to see how he used the information. So, I sent the writer a message, pushed his article on social media and struck up a conversation – which was nice. That's engagement!
It can be very important to know what people are saying about your work. If someone is criticizing your work, you need to first take a deep look and figure out whether or not there is some truth in their words. Not all criticism is bad.
If the person is just spouting off non-constructive criticism, then it is usually best to leave this alone. However, if there is truth, then this could be an opportunity to engage further and find opportunity in the presented challenge.
If you have a close competitor, then it means you both share the same target market. Therefore, by monitoring your competitor through Google Alerts, you can ascertain key information about your target market, find more opportunities to engage and could ultimately get some new fans.
Also, if a website were to do a review of your competitor’s book and thought of it favorably, you might want to contact that reviewer or website and ask if they would be interested in your book as well. Sort of a “hey, if you liked that book, then you'll love this one as well” sort of thing.
Questions Involving Your Target Niche
This is more of a non-fiction tactic, but can seriously be powerful.
In non-fiction, we are trying to answer someone’s question or teach about some subject. Using Google alerts, I can get a message every time someone asks a pertinent question online.
Being the first to answer their question is extremely important. This can play in very well with sites like Quora.
Example of this in Action for Websites
Kyle, of Food Delivery Guru, setup a Google alert that would let him know any time the phrase “Food Delivery Guru” was used. By doing this, he found out that someone had not only linked to his article on the difference between Hello Fresh and Blue Apron, but had praised his analysis of the two. This gave him an opportunity to reach out to the blogger, and develop a better relationship…all because of Google alert.
However, on the flip side, Kyle also found out when a spam site had scraped his article on ubereats vs postmates vs caviar. How? Because when they scraped the information, they also posted one of his internal links that points to one of his other articles. But thanks to Google alerts, he was alerted and helped to DMCA take down the e-pirates the scoundrels.
So, if you have a website, it can help there too – not just for books.
Why I Use Something Else Other Than Google
Google Alerts is great, but I found that it misses a lot of engagement opportunities…or takes forever before it reports it to me.
However, there is another free option that works even better: Mention.com
Mention goes even further and reports even more, including social media posts and forum comments at a higher rate than Google Alerts. Plus, I can also link my social media accounts and discus account to Mention so that I can respond through mention instead of going to the social media platform….I'll get into this more later.
The only problem with Mention is that the free version only allows you to track one word. Now, that could be a problem for some of you. But even for me, one word is enough.Google! Monitor my author brand for me, will ya!Click To Tweet
I use the Mention.com free version and track “Kindlepreneur” through it. Although I may miss “Dave Chesson” discussions, I'll live with that.
Plus, you can still setup a Google Alerts for the other terms and make Mention.com track your main term like I do.
How To Setup Mention
Setting up Mention is pretty simple:
- Go to Mention.com and enter your email
- Next they will ask for some basic information**
- Choose your keyword (free if you just do one)
- Link up a social media account (free if you just link up one)
- And that's it
**For some reason, Mention talks about it being a 14 Day Free Trial…don't worry. You'll get a 14 day free trial of their pro version, but after the 14 days, they automatically make it a free account. I know, this scared me when I first signed up for them.
How To Really Use Mention.com
Once you've set up your account and chosen a Keyword to monitor, Mention will send you a daily recap email of all engagement opportunities. Plus, you can access your dashboard like the picture below.
Let me give you an example of how easy Mention is…
One day, I checked my dashboard and found the below tweet. In this case, someone used the word “
If I didn't have mention, I never would have known that she had done it. Furthermore, here is a serious potential fan. This person not only used my free Amazon Best Seller Rank Calculator tool, they turned to Twitter and wrote out a tweet telling their followers about it.
So, naturally I responded.
Twitter Pro Tip: Notice that I put a “.” infront of their twitter handle. I did this because anytime someone's twitter handle is the first thing in a response, only that person will see the message. It becomes a direct message. However, if you put a “.” because that handle, it will be seen by any of their followers as well.
Can you see the potential engagement that exists?
Let's Test this Out!
As I mentioned above, I've had a lot of fun with this feature finding many engagement opportunities. But it doesn't have to stop there.
If you have a website or are doing a guest post somewhere, drop the word or link to Kindlepreneur and I'll respond – thanks to Mention.com. It SHOULD gain my attention and of course, I'll be sure to socially share and boost your post/article as well.
If I don't, then a gentle poke will suffice…hey, sometimes it takes a little bit before Google will crawl a new post. Until then, stay frosty.
Now, Go and Protect Thyself!
Setting up a Monitoring service for my author brand was one of the most important steps I made as a young author.
The five minutes it took to make my alerts was one of the best 5 minutes I have spent.
I have been able connect better with my fans, and respond to my critics in record pace. I have gained amazing opportunities for guest posts and professional reviews because of it as well.
So, setup your alerts and start finding opportunities on the web to increase your fan base, while protecting your author brand at the same time.