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Shireen Qudosi

Beyond Google Alerts: The Latest on News Aggregators

May 03 2012, 04:04 PM by

Ever wonder how some Facebook users seem to know everything that’s going on in a particular industry? They’re always posting all the top news, all the interesting news, all the offbeat but quirky features. They’re always on and they’re always posting. How do they do it?

It definitely adds fuel to the fire as you’re dragging your feet to your desk at 8 AM every morning, only to be reminded early on about your complete and utter irrelevance and incompetence when it comes to knowing what’s on. You can thank digital media and the epic scale of technological evolution for the futility of not only waiting to hear the evening news but also how behind the the times you are if you’re still searching for content via your favorite news websites.

There’s a better way. It’ll make you faster, more informed, competitively capable and a better marketer. It all starts with letting go of Google Alerts.

PR and marketing professionals at some of the most commanding agencies in leading cities are still relying on archaic Google Alerts, a basic news aggregator or news feeder. While Google Alerts will give you the news for any keyword, making it great for brand watching across the web (but not social web), it is terribly inefficient for anything more aggregated. Anyone who knows anything about the web knows that there’s a lot of collective intelligence beyond just the news, including blogs and social media conversations. Yet Google Alerts is incapable of navigating social channels, and blog search yields cannot filter junk let alone capture everything you need to know.

Instead of waiting for information to come to you, go out and get it. While we wait for a truly great platform that evolves Google Alerts into a must-have app, we have the following ways to curate valuable news and content:
Getting the Right Software
If you’ve been an avid Benchmark blog reader, you already know of over 100 valuable SaaS platforms and apps that not only brand and buzz watch but also let you schedule updates so you’re now the envy of marketers slumped over their desks in the AM. The right social web smart software is worth the cost. Going cheap here will ensure you’re counting pennies when it comes to profits.

Twitter – You should make compiling Twitter lists a regular habit. This way, the news is as far and as customized as your assorted Twitter list. And with suites like TweetDeck, you know what’s going on the second it happens across the web.

Zemanta – If you’re a content creator, and you should be if you’re in marketing, then you need access to all the major news sources in one go. Enter Zemanta. Zemanta is a top-rated pro blogging tool that gives you instant access to major news sources and over 300,000 blogs while you write.

Popurls – A top notch feeder that gives you custom content feeds across all industries, sources and even includes images. It features a clean tech-inspired dashboard and updates frequently so you’re in the know up to the minute.

NewsonFeeds – A basic directory that gives you thorough listings of aggregate sources, including apps, websites and more.

Kindle “Pulse” – Kindle’s great Pulse feature gives you instant readable access to the top customizable feeds. The downside is that it still needs a lot of development to include additional pulse pages and branch out with trackable subjects.

If your business is heavily focused on aggregated data, it might be worth your while to invest in a content manager – someone skilled in research and content curation, which includes smart print and web media, as well as social media, to get the best of the best for your content-based needs. The role should ideally be crafted to accommodate someone capable of editing and managing online communities, which are also a valuable and under-rated source for idea generation.

Posted in Tips & Resources, Social Media, Online Tools and Applications

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