The Power of Google Alerts

Today I got a nice email from Scott Meyer, President & CEO of About.com. The headline read "Great post on 5 years with About", and was thanking me for the post I wrote earlier this week to commemorate my 5th anniversary as an About.com Guide, 5 Things I’ve Learned in 5 Years at About.com. It was a brief note, but had enough specifics in it to show that he had actually read it. It also had the familiar tell-tale signs that he had probably gotten the notification via Google Alerts. I’m guessing he has an alert set on "About.com" and scans those headlines daily.

This got me thinking about a couple of things.

First of all, just think about the tremendous networking power rolled up in that one simple practice. He stays up-to-date on what people are saying about his company, and prompted by the alert, in a matter of just a couple of minutes, he was able to reach out to me in a meaningful way, show his appreciation, and just make me aware that yes, he really does care and pay attention to what us 700+ Guides are doing.

Think of the power of that in your business. Rather than getting caught up in the incestuous fishbowls that some online discussion groups can turn into, what would happen if you spent some of that time looking for new conversations going on about your business, your industry or perhaps a cause you support?

It also made me wonder… how many other CEOs do the same thing, using these freely available tools to keep up with the buzz about their company? I’m thinking probably not nearly enough.