Blogs are great tools for news and conversations. So how do you find out what people are saying in blogs, so you can join the discussion?
If you want to monitor blog mentions of a topic (or your company’s name), you have numerous paid options. But I recommend that you start with the free ones, such as:
For any of these, it’s easy to get automatic, up-to-date alerts via RSS feeds or e-mail, so you can be aware of what is being said about topics that matter to you. Here are the steps, using Technorati as an example:
Go to Technorati.com and enter your term of interest into the search box. In my case, I’m interested in health policy reform, so I entered health reform in the search box.
You can narrow the scope by taking advantage of what Technorati has defined as “authority.” In essence, this is a count of how many other blogs have linked to a given blog in the last six months. This tells you that some other people have found the information useful or interesting. The next two graphics show what happens when you search for posts with “some authority” or “a lot of authority” (and in the latter the search term was put in quotes, “health reform” to narrow further.)
Another way to narrow the scope is to search for posts that are tagged as being about your topic. (For background about tagging, read this post.) Here are the results for posts tagged “health reform”:
Your next step should be to sign up for automatic alerts from Technorati about new posts that fit your search term or that are tagged with your term. Click this button…
…and (provided you have completed Social Media 102: Intro to RSS or its equivalent) you will be taken to your RSS aggregator or feed reader, where you will have an opportunity to suscribe to a feed of this search.
After you’ve subscribed to the Technorati feed, your next step should be to visit some of the blogs that came up with “some authority” or “a lot of authority” in your original search. These blogs may write about your topic regularly. If so, you will want to become a regular reader. But instead of having to visit them each day, you can just subscribe to the blog’s RSS feed.
Also, in Technorati, you can search for blogs that are tagged as being about your topic, not just that have some posts relating to it. Here are the results for blogs about health reform:
After you’re done with your Technorati search, you can follow much of the same process with BlogPulse and IceRocket.
- Go to Technorati and search for key words that are of interest to you, such as your company name. Subscribe to the feeds for those terms.
- Find at least five blogs that are “about” your key terms, and subscribe to those blogs’ feeds in your RSS feed reader.
- Repeat the process using at least two other search engines, choosing from BlogPulse, IceRocket and Google News.
This post is part of the Blogging curriculum for Social Media University, Global (SMUG). For information about enrolling in SMUG, click here.