9 Tips To Stay In Touch With Your Industry

Clive Lobo

Christopher KataWith the adoption of RSS and the distribution of mainstream news and user generated content through local blogs, podcasts and social sites like Facebook, Squidoo, Digg, etc.. the interent is fast becoming the best place to find out what’s happening in the world. In fact, I personally believe it’s even faster and better than radio, because it’s “on demand” – meaning you don’t have to wait for the radio station to get to the news – you just go and find it for yourself when you want it.

Great! Well, there are millions of websites on the Internet today with new and exciting sites launching all the time. Knowing where to go to get your news can be an exercise in futility if you don’t know where to start. To that end we’ve pulled together 10 tips on how to stay in touch with your industry. Hopefully, this list will point you in the right direction and get you on top of your industry.

  1. Create “Google Alerts” for keywords your interested in tracking, including your name if your into vanity searching! Google will gladly email you the results of the search on the schedule you defined in the Alert.
  2. Google Reader (or feed reader of your choice) + Feeds based on your industry. You can either find blogs or news sites that carry content for your industry or go to Bloglines and do a search on your keywords, then add that custom feed to your feed reader.Note: As you come across new content sites be sure to add their feed to your reader.
  3. Groups for your specific industry within social sites such as Facebook, and LinkedIn. You’d be amazed at how many people there with the same interests as you and their online!
  4. Forums. A quick Google search of “forums + industry name” will likely return one or more forums specifically within your industry. Sign up for an account and start participating in the conversations. Some forums may even include RSS feeds so that you can monitor the forum via your Feed Reader.
  5. Blogs. Like forums there is a high probability that there are groups blogging about your industry, and may even be talking about you. You may have already found quite a few of them via the Bloglines search, but not everyone is in Bloglines. One quick way to find related blogs is to look at the “blog roll” on any of the blogs you are currently reading. Odds are they are related to your industry. You can also do a Google search for “blog + industry name” which return one or more blogs in your industry.
  6. Take advantage of Google’s Advanced Search “date” option which lets you specify content spidered in the last 24 hours. A great way to search for information happening right now.
  7. Podcasts. Podcasts are audio programs produced by individuals or corporations and published online – usually for free. Odds are good that there is one or more in your industry. You can use iTunes to find and download them via the iTunes store, or by directly adding the podcast feed to it. You can then listen to the latest episodes on your computer or transfer them to your iPod or other MP3 player. There are alternatives to iTunes and a quick Google search for “podcatching software” will turn up some options.
  8. Email Newsletters. If you’ve been actively testing out the first seven methods, odds are you’ve come across some sites offering newsletters. You may wish to subscribe to the newsletters and receive their content in that format. However, this format is usually not as timely as the others as it takes some time to organize and distribute an email newsletter.
  9. Omgili. Omgili is a search engine specifically indexing forums only! Use this search engine to find out what people are talking about right now including your own company or brand.

That’s some list! At first it may seem overwhelming, but it’s not really. A maximum investment of 30 minutes every other day should get you well on the way to getting up to speed on what’s happening in your industry. The best tip we can provide is to leverage your “Feed Reader” as much as possible – that means adding RSS Feeds to it for any site your interested in that has them. This will save you the trouble of having to visit that site every time to see what’s new. One final tip is to use Firefox as your browser and group your sites into a folder. If you hit CTRL + B on your keyboard, you’ll see your bookmarks on the left hand side. You can “right mouse” click on a folder and instantly open all of the bookmarks in tabs! Wow, what a time saver that one is!

We hope you find this information helpful and that it gets you on your way! If you happen to know of some additional tips please share them with us by leaving a comment.

Clive Lobo

Spark’s resident boss man, Clive possesses the very nature of an entrepreneurial spirit.

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