Have you ever wondered how some authors and publicists are able to leverage breaking news events to their advantage and use them to snag more attention and publicity for their books? What do these people do...spend all of their time online?
Well, maybe. Or, they could be using the publicist's secret weapon: Google Alerts.
I personally use Google alerts on a daily basis. Any time a web site or a news outlet mentions my name or the words "Tate Publishing," I am immediately alerted to it, and those alerts are sent directly to my email, along with the links to the sites or articles which mention those key words.
It is very easy to set up a Google alert. Just go to the Google Alerts site, and enter the search term for which you want alerts. For example, if you have written a book about recovering from drug addiction, you might enter "drug addiction" or "drug recovery." You can also specify how many emails you want to receive in a day, how many links you want included in your emails and to which email address you want the alerts sent.
So what can you do with this information?
Keep track of new coverage about your book's topic. If it's an ongoing story, you can contact the reporter and offer yourself up as an expert on the topic. They may use you as a go-to source for follow-up stories.
Leave comments on the blogs or news sites covering your book's topic. You can leave a relevant comment or excerpt from your book, along with a link to your web site or blog. There is often a space for your own site in the comments form.
Build your own media list. You can use Google alerts to identify the reporters, web sites or blogs who write most often about your book's topic and cultivate ongoing relationships with them for additional coverage.
Build your "In The Media" section of your own web site. If you find sites which have mentioned you or your book, you can include links to those sites on your own web site. Showing your web site visitors that other sites or blogs are talking about your and your book builds credibility.
Find out who is covering your "competitors" and how they are getting coverage. There are more than likely books that are somewhat similar to yours in the marketplace. Are they getting more coverage than your book? Who is covering them, and why? Are they using an angle to get news coverage that you haven't thought of? What works in one media market may work in yours.
These are just a few examples, but there are many uses for Google Alerts. Once you see how often you and your book are mentioned, and what sites write about your book's topic, you can use that knowledge to expand awareness of your book even more. Google Alerts is a great tool for gathering knowledge, and knowledge is power!