google-alerts-logoWe LOVE Google Alerts for so many author-related exercises (a “magnificent seven” of them appear below), but have you thought about how you can use Google Alerts to build your author PR and marketing connections?

Google Alerts is easily one of the most useful free author marketing tools on the internet. You can pick any keyword or phrase to set in your alerts, and decide whether you want to see as-it-happens, daily or weekly results from news sources, blogs, videos, discussions or books. Google then sends you email alerts of the latest relevant Google results based on your search terms and preferences.

If you use a spreadsheet program, such as Excel (CLICK HERE to download a sample) then you can start a list of just where these mentions of you, your book and your related subject matter may be coming from.

Using the sample template we’ve provided HERE, you can date code for followups and keep your key (bestie) connections in one place, whether they arrived thru Google Alerts, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc… You can sort by type, date, whatever is useful to you.

The types of connections you may want to include in your Connections Database include bloggers (who share similar audiences or have a particular interest in what you write about); press contacts (whether local or literary); workshop leaders, book clubs, and bookstores.

Even if you’ve already done business with one of the connections on the list, it’s nice to put them on a quarterly tickler list to touch base and say “hello.” That’ll also keep you on their radar for other related projects on which you might collaborate!

Here are seven more ways to use Google Alerts to your best benefit:

  1. Track your name, and the name of your book(s). This should go without saying but we’re surprised how many authors are so busy researching they forget to research what’s being said about them! If you or your work are mentioned anywhere, you’ll know, which means you can share the news, add a comment or communicate with whoever is giving you props!
  2. Enter keywords related to your work. For example, if you’re writing about dog shows, set an alert for dog shows. Then, when the results come in, you can react in a number of ways. If a “News” result, perhaps you want to add a relevant comment on the article or connect with the reporter or even put the writer on your media database. A good blog result can let you leave a comment, or you may want to make direct contact with the author to offer up a guest post or invite them to post on your site.
  3. Use keyword results for your own blogs or book research. Likewise, if you’re regularly blogging on a subject related to your book, it’s easy to track ongoing information and what else is being said on the subject, giving you the opportunity to provide sources/resources to readers, to be on top of the latest on any issue of interest, and even to avoid repeating what’s already been said.Google Alerts Sample
  4. Search other authors in your genre. Your favorite authors or those most successful in your genre are often reported on or offering online insights. What can they offer you?
  5. Get notified of upcoming events. You can search for book festivals, writers conferences or events related to what you’re writing. In example, if you write about social media, and there’s a conference coming up in your area, you’ll want to be one of the first to know about it for potential speaking or exhibiting opportunities. Likewise, if you’re keeping readers up to date with trends, you can quickly share links on news and events of interest.
  6. Monitor organizations in your field. Enter the names of the associations/organizations that align to your work to know when and where they’re getting press attention or what events they have coming up that may be of interest to you or your readers.
  7. Know when your favorite services are on sale. Yes, you can even set alerts for sales, discounts or coupon codes for your favorite products or services. If you’re in the market for a new computer or want to know when there’s a sale on your web hosting, or just want to take advantage of the latest clothing sales for that next book signing, a clever Google alert can save you cold, hard cash!

Have a creative way you’ve used Google Alerts to further your own writing career? Please do share with your comment below!

3 thoughts on “Using Google Alerts to Build Your Author Connections

  • January 12, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    Helpful info. Thanks, Shari & thanks Amy Shojai for sharing it.

  • January 4, 2015 at 7:54 am

    Hi Shari,
    Thank you for this GREAT first post for 2015: how to leverage Google to crowdsource our intelligence gathering as authors. Brava! Love the template for organizing the fruits of implementing your tips. Looking forward to meeting you at the PubSense Summit in March.

    Happy New Year!

    • January 4, 2015 at 2:09 pm

      Thanks, Rachel – and look forward to meeting you as well!

Comments are closed.