Arm yourself with Google Alerts!

About a month ago, I wrote a blog post on an Account Management workshop that Sarah and I attended. One of the first tips that I immediately latched onto was “constantly learn in order to constantly teach.”

Admittedly I love learning about anything and everything, a habit that is woefully fueled by new Jeopardy episodes every week night. However, while my mildly extensive knowledge of Mythology aids me during a Daily Double on Greek Gods, it can only go so far when attempting to tie back to the workplace.

So, I am stuck with the dilemma – how do I educate myself in a way that benefits me as an account coordinator in a world where news on workers comp, telemedicine, and nonprofit management isn’t exactly splashed across the New York Times?

Enter Google Alerts – possibly the easiest way to keep yourself up to date on any topic of interest. According to the source itself, “Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your choice of query or topic.” While the simpler predecessor to Google+ Sparks, Google Alerts is the easier and more accessible of the two Google Tools. All you need to do is visit and customize your alert.

Start by customizing what type of results you want. This is especially helpful if you are just interested in blogs, perhaps. Next, classify how often you would like email updates. And finally, finish by designating the volume (either “only the best” or “all” results).

If you have a Gmail account, the site will automatically fill in your email address. If you don’t have a Gmail (though I would highly recommend it), simply enter in any email address that you wish.

Example of Google Alert Homepage

As a quick comment, be mindful of the alert terms that you use. For example, searching New York Times will not give you the same results as “New York Times” (note quotation marks). Utilizing quotation marks in your alert term will tell Google not to break up the words during the search. If you want some more tips on effective searching, Google itself provides a helpful guide.

And that’s it! With this new found power of Google Alerts, you can be up to date on all happenings related to your client. Some examples for effective alerts include your client’s company name, top leaders/management, their industry, and their top competitors. Total time invested per alert? Maybe five minutes, tops. Totally worth it? Yes. Staying one step ahead of your client shows them that they hired you for a reason!

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