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What’s Your Buzz Share? 4 Easy Steps For Tracking Online Buzz

These days mention “buzz marketing” and most people think of your marketing message proliferating through the Web and beyond through the word of mouth and viral mechanisms of the social web. As I mentioned in an earlier post, social media buzz marketing can generate great free hype, exponentially expand your web presence, is relatively cheap, and has great search engine optimization benefits. However, it’s important not to overlook a key process that sets the stage for a successful buzz marketing campaign – effective buzz monitoring.

presidential buzzshare

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have the most buzz share of all 2008 presidential candidates

Buzz Marketing can be broken down into 2 key components:

• Buzz Monitoring – the art of online reputation monitoring (and management)

• Social Media Marketing – the art of harnessing user-generated content and online conversations to enhance your brand, through blogs, forums, social networks, wikis and more.

In order to effectively directly engage the public about your brand, it’s important to know what they are already saying about your company, products, services and/or executives. By doing your buzz monitoring homework, you will not only be able to understand how much buzz share you have in your market, you will discover where your target customers hang out, what they like and don’t like about your company, and a plethora of other highly valuable insights.

Buzz Monitoring In 4 Easy Steps

There are numerous ways to monitor buzz about your company and products using free tools. Andy Beal of Marketing Pilgrim recommends 26 free tools you must have for your buzz monitoring needs. You may not need all of them, so keep it simple and narrow it down to the basics.

Here are 4 simple steps to help you jump start your buzz monitoring campaign:

1. Sign Up for Google Alerts

Google alerts is a service that notifies you by email of the latest Google results pertaining to your query or topic of choice. Google alerts covers your query results appearing in news, blogs, web page updates, video and groups.

Because of the large volume of alerts that will come to your inbox, it’s recommended that you create a “Rule” in Outlook that will filter all Google results to a specified folder.

Google Alerts will also list recent blog entries. However, to retrieve a listing of blog entries that span a longer period of time, use Google Blog Search or Technorati.

2. Monitor Blogs

Google Blog Search

Blog Search is Google search technology focused on blogs – all blogs, not just Blogger blogs. Google Blog Search will search for the latest blog entries related to your query. You can also subscribe to search results for your specific keywords by RSS, and receive continuous Blog Search updates for that search term.


Technorati is an Internet search engine that focuses on blogs. I find that its search results tend to be less relevant than Google or Yahoo, delivering a broad spectrum of results for queries with more than 2 keywords and delivering nothing when exact match is enabled.

It does allow you to query tags, and suggests alternative tags related to your search term.

For continuous updates subscribe to Technorati search results via RSS feed.


Tracking a blog may not reveal the full conversation about your business. Even if a blog post makes a positive mention about your business, those commenting on the post can still attack your reputation. Co.mments helps you to stay on top of blog conversations by keeping you updated of new comments, allowing you to break into the fray and defend your brand at a critical moment. Just bookmark, track and follow. You can also subscribe to your tracking feed and read new comments in your feed reader or e-mail client.

3. Track Conversations in Community Forums & Message Boards


Boardtracker is forum search engine, message tracking and instant alerts system designed to provide relevant information quickly and efficiently while ensuring you never miss an important forum thread no matter where or when it is posted.

You can pre-define search terms and receive an alert by email or RSS as soon as a thread matching your search term is posted in any of the thousands of forums it tracks.

If you want to track specific forums, you can also submit the forum url to be included in the Boardtracker database.

4. Use RSS Feed Readers to Stay on Top of Industry News

In the Information Age, staying on top of news the old-fashioned way can be overwhelming, time consuming, and inefficient. Why not let the latest news come to you? Sign up for a free RSS feed reader/ news aggregator and peruse hundreds of news items with your morning cup of coffee.

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary. RSS is a family of Web feed formats used to publish frequently updated content such as blog entries, news headlines or podcasts. An RSS document, which is called a “feed,” “web feed,” or “channel,” can either contain a summary of content from an associated web site or the full text. RSS makes it possible for people to keep up with their favorite web sites in an automated manner that’s easier than checking them manually.

Several good, free RSS news aggregators are available, such as:

Google Reader

This is Google’s free news aggregator. You can also share news feeds by publishing your feeds to your public page.


It’s a platform independent, downloadable news reader. It’s cool because it:
• Allows you to import your feeds using the OPML format
• Bookmark your favorite feeds
• Import blogrolls
• Export an entire category of news feeds into PDF, RTF, or HTML files.
• Has search options that allows you to search within news feeds or an entire feed category%

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  1. Hi Lorna, IMHO the best way for tracking online buzz is to monitor digg and digg clones and keep track of what stories are on the top. To avoid getting biased by a specific site, it helps to check out a couple of them and extrapolate them to make a general inference. I have noticed that the top stories on digg and digg clones are usually similar or at least reflect the general buzz in the online community.

  2. lorna says:

    Thanks for the tip – I’ll definitely be checking it out.



  3. PeteB says:

    I just came across your site – great info, especially your last SEO post. It will come in handy for an upcoming project. I recently launched a green marketing firm with 2 other partners and we’re based in SF and Lake Tahoe. Since we’re just getting started, we need all the help we can get, so I figured I’d drop a line in case you (or any readers) have any suggestions or might be interested in checking out our services or blog. You can reach the site at http://ecomentum.com or the blog at http://ecomentum.com/blog.

    Thanks for providing a valuable service to eco-focused folks like ourselves.

    Pete Brumis
    ecomentum cofounder

  4. lorna says:

    Hi Pete,

    Thanks for the info! Good luck with your launch – very cool stuff. I’m excited for you! If I can help you with anything, let me know!



  5. Missy says:

    Did not know about BoardTracker, thanxs for the heads up.

    I have so many projects (and blogs) i’m managing, i’m not sure which to track. Yikes!


  6. […] To determine where conversations are happening about your brand, you will need to have some kind of buzz monitoring or online reputation management system in […]

  7. […] To determine where conversations are happening about your brand, you will need to have some kind of buzz monitoring or online reputation management system in […]

  8. […] To determine where conversations are happening about your brand, you will need to have some kind of buzz monitoring or online reputation management system in […]

  9. Hey..

    This is awesome list of tools
    Was looking for something that could track the forums … and this post was bang on target
    Thanx a lot !!
    Looking forward to more of such posts .

  10. Hi Lorna. Thanks for the info. Great stuff.

    Re Google Alerts, I use this to great effect. However, as you mention, it can overload your email inbox. I switched to sending these alerts via RSS (to Google Reader) – a feature Google added last year. Much easier to have them aggregated in one place with other RSS feeds

    I also like using Tweetdeck with a search setup for client product/company brands – Twitter is a more limited audience and the number of separate searches in Tweetdeck are limited but I find this a useful addition.

  11. […] To determine where conversations are happening about your brand, you will need to have some kind of buzz monitoring or online reputation management system in […]

  12. nhb says:

    co.mments is no more, btw…

  13. […] 4 Easy Steps to Tracking Online Buzz (tags: buzz reputation socialmedia) […]

  14. Niyaz | SEO says:

    great tips… would try to put them into existance 😀 … thanks !!!

  15. Daniel Seet says:

    Hi Lorna, I know this mail is quite late considering the time you pasted this, but I’ve come to realize that even today, it’s hard to get really nuts and bolts guidance on the tactical issues of social media roadmapping. And you’ve given a lot of pointers in this respect. THANKS!! I’m new to the social media scene, and so is my organization so I’ve been very hungry for guidance that’s not just at the theoretical but more importantly, the applicative aspect. I think you’ve set me off on course again. I hope you won’t mind, but I’ll be following your roadmap and adapting it for my organization’s needs, and rest assured I’ll include all the necessary citations. Thanks once again!