A Better Way to Keep Tabs on Your Industry

by: | November 28, 2012

Information moves at a break-neck speed online. If you’re still relying on print magazines and newspapers to keep tabs on your industry, you could be missing out on important information that affects your marketing efforts online. Articles are incredibly easy to find online, but you could be wasting precious time, if you’re going out there and searching for it, every time you want an update on your industry.

Having this current industry information is paramount particularly when it comes to your marketing. If you don’t know what the hot topics are and what people in your industry are talking about, you could be missing out on important conversations and topics you could be marketing around. Keeping tabs with these services also gives you a never-ending stream of great ideas for blogging and social media updates. We’ve compiled some services in this post that let you pull the information to you, so you can keep tabs on your industry in even less time.

Here’s a list of some of my favorite ways to keep tabs on my company’s industry:

Google Alerts

This is by far one of the most useful tools in this list. The basic premise of Google Alerts is: you put in a search term, phrase, or company name, and Google will email you all the new content it finds with that information you entered, however often you set it up to do so. It can email you every time something pops up, once a day, or once a week. It’s a modern way to set it and forget it.

I have several alerts set up—one for my name, that consequently brings in all kinds of irrelevant content (I never knew my name was so popular), one for my company’s name, and several for important terms and phrases for my industry. The alerts bring me all kinds of valuable content I wouldn’t have seen otherwise from websites I never visit.

Here’s how to set it up:

1. Go to the Google Alerts website (You may need to log in to your Google account or set one up)

2. Type in your search phrase

3. Select the types of updates you want, how often, the volume, and where to deliver it to


5. Enjoy being up-to-date!

Blogs/RSS Feeds

There’s no doubt that blogs are a super valuable resource for great information about your industry. The problem comes about when you take the time to visit each blog to see if there’s any new content to read. Stop wasting your time clicking bookmarks and surfing around, and set up an RSS feed to bring them all to you. RSS basically stands for Really Simple Syndication and every blog should have an RSS feed set up.

Here’s how to take advantage of these feeds:

1. Find an RSS reader you like. (Google Reader is my personal favorite.)

2. Go to your favorite blogs and find their RSS link. It’s usually represented with an icon like this:

3. Now you’ll see all your favorite blogs in one place!

LinkedIn Groups

Every expert and professional in any industry should be on LinkedIn. It gives you the opportunity to connect with other business owners and leaders. One of the biggest benefits of LinkedIn is the feature of industry-related groups. These groups are chock full of discussions by leaders talking about industry innovations, asking questions that you can answer, and promoting their products and solutions. What’s better is that you don’t have to necessarily visit the LinkedIn website every day. The groups will email out a summary of the hottest topics being discussed as often as you want it.

Here’s how to join these groups and contribute to the discussions.

1. Go to LinkedIn (Log in or register if you haven’t already)

2. Click on the Groups menu item at the top.

3. Type in industry terms into the search box on the left and click Join Group on any groups that seem interesting and relevant.

4. Join in the discussion!

Industry Email Magazines

Almost every industry has publications related to that industry. Some of them are email-based and some are print-based with email newsletters. Whatever the case is, if you can find them and sign up for them. Then, they’ll send you up-to-date information and content right to your email inbox. Usually, these are written by professionals in the industry who have their fingers on the pulse of business. I subscribe to several of them and every day or every couple of days, depending on the publication, I get an email full of relevant content to absorb and use in my marketing.

How else are you keeping tabs on your industry? Let us know in the comments!

Posted in: B2B, Campaign Development, Email, Social Networks

About the Writer:

Born in England and raised in the U.S., Charles Forster is the marketing director and partner at Vine & Grain, a company that creates management technologies for bars and restaurants. Prior to that position, he ran a graphic design company, Call Me Chaz, in Philadelphia, PA and Orlando, FL. He focused on branding, websites, print, video and marketing for small business clients up and down the east coast. He's a self-prescribed car nut and foodie. He's also the curator for This Is Visceral, a site devoted to poster art.

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