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6 Ideas For Using Google Alerts To Grow Your Law Practice

September 17, 2011

Google Alerts are an important tool to help you harness the noise on the web.  To quote the source directly:

Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your choice of query or topic.

You type in your search term(s), view initial results to see if the information is what you had in mind, and then save your search and pick how often you want new information emailed to you.

You can get the alerts sent as soon as the information hits Google’s search engine database, once a day or once a week.  Depending on the nature of the information, you might have different queries sent to you with different frequencies.

For instance, I have an alert set up for my professional name and if I’m mentioned on the web, I want to know “as it happens.”  Alerts set for content creation ideas probably don’t need to land in my inbox more than once a day or once a week.

Here are six ideas for using these alerts to build your law practice:

1.  Retaining and managing existing clients

Nothing keeps your practice humming like cementing existing client relationships.  Set up alerts to follow news for your biggest clients.  Congratulate them on reported accomplishments or reach out if you see issues on the horizon.  Also consider following their biggest competitor so you’re ready if an issue or opportunity arises with your client due to the actions of a competitor.

2.  Nurture potential client relationships

Set up the same alerts for potential clients and reach out when new developments in the news make it appropriate.  Find out about developments before they hit the traditional media outlets.

3.  Content marketing research

Lawyers should be on the constant lookout for ways to demonstrate their expertise in writing — articles, blog posts, client newsletters, in addition to content created for other distribution channels like podcasting and video distribution.  Source content ideas by setting up alerts for topic keywords relevant to your practice area.  When you see a topic of interest to your clients and potential clients getting traction in the alerts, you know it’s a popular enough topic to invest your time in presenting to your audience.

4.  Syndication tracking

As mentioned above, lawyers should be constantly distributing content that demonstrates subject matter expertise.  Keep track of where your digitally distributed content is getting mentioned by setting up alerts for your titles.

5.  Brand monitoring

Make sure you’re monitoring your own name with Google Alerts, and any other names that can impact your personal brand, such as your partners’ names and your firm name.

6.  Practice niche research

In addition to setting up alerts related to your practice niche for content creation, look for other factors that impact your practice area, such as competitors in your niche, and watch what they’re up to through Google Alerts.

Cool bonus tip

If you’re on Google+, you can set up your alerts through the Sparks functionality.  The alerts don’t come to your email box, but if you’re spending any amount of time on G+ (it’s always open on my computer), you can start to use Sparks like an RSS feedreader (that is, a destination to read your news).  And if you’re on G+, come find me.

Conclusion

These are just a few ways you might use Google Alerts to “listen” in on the web for information critical to growing your practice.  How else might lawyers use this free tool?  Leave your idea in the comments.

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