Est. Reading Time: 2 minutes
Professionals who are shocked when their competition copies one of their latest innovations bewilder me. How could they find out so fast? Did they know about this new unique promotional concept or product before it was released last week? Is this a case of espionage? More than likely, it is not. Intelligent competitors are not your colleagues; they are your clients. More importantly, you should be one of theirs, too, before they sail away and leave you in their wake.
Impede the number of late nights and weekends wasted browsing the web, and start receiving accurate information sent directly to you as soon as it is released. Simply follow their social media accounts, sign up for their email blasts and coupon offers, and become a member of their Web page or club. Consequently, you will have a handle on all information available. My dad was right when he taught me, “Work smart, not hard,” and this strategy, my friends, is a perfect example.
One of the best FREE tools is Google Alerts, http://www.google.com/alerts, and you should be implementing it every day. This tool will send you email alerts every time one of their triggers locates a company name, keyword, or phrase you entered in a news story, blog, or website. Do not be worried about the constant flow of emails you may receive; Google has already thought of this. For your convenience, you can set up how often you receive these gifts of knowledge: as they happen, once a day, or once a week. Here is how to do it:
1. Go to http://www.google.com/alerts. 2. In the “Create a Google Alert” box on the right, insert your keyword in quotes, i.e. “Superhero Training Classes.” Using quotes will help ensure relevant results. 3. Select the Type of alert (news, web, blog, video, groups or comprehensive (all)). 4. Select your desired e-mail frequency. 5. Enter your e-mail address and you’re done! 6. And repeat…Enter your next keyword phrase, i.e. your company name, your name, a competitive company name, etc.
If you select daily notifications under the category of “Web,” tomorrow you will start receiving the latest Website pages that are being indexed by Google for your specific keywords/phrases. If you input very specific, niche terms, you may not get much on a normal basis. But if your keyword/phrase is more generic, you may find that you are getting too much and you need to refine your alert keywords.
Remember: always keep your friends close and your enemies closer.