Google Alerts allow you to enter search terms and receive notification whenever it finds new content matching those terms.
You can specify if you would like to search news, blog, web, video, or group content or all of the above. You choose whether you want it to alert you as-it-happens, once-a-day or once-a-week. You can receive your results via email or now though RSS.
Law Practice Magazine offers these ideas on how lawyers can make use of Google Alerts:
- First and foremost, enter your own name as a keyword, so you know what the world is saying about you.
- Likewise, enter your firm name, as well as the names of your partners, so you can help everyone keep track of news related to the firm (and its reputation).
- Monitor news about legislation, regulations and the like in particular practice areas and business sectors.
- Keep a weather eye on what competing law firms are doing.
- Watch out for leaks about highly proprietary data of significant clients. You would be surprised at how often proprietary data shows up in blogs–just ask Steve Jobs at Apple, whose R&D beans were spilled left and right not long ago.
- If your clients sell a well-known product, watch what is being said about it–and perhaps watch for knockoffs.
- Keep up with other developments relevant to your firm by entering the appropriate terms, such as “electronic evidence,” “legal marketing forums” or the like.
- Gauge your return on investment for marketing activities–for example, if you send out a press release or host a national seminar, enter identifying terms for it and see how often it appears in blogs and on the Internet generally.
- Enter terms that might yield “surprise” information relevant to that pending litigation your firm is handling.
- Are there experts in your area of law who are always worth reading? Plug in their names, too.
- Sometimes it’s places that you want to monitor. If you have an office in Peru, news from there may be instructive.