Keeping track of when you or your brand is mentioned is an important part of your marketing toolkit. You need to know when someone is talking about you, what they are saying, and who it is that is saying something. It’s also important to know this information about your competitors.

The way most people do this is with a free tool called Google Alerts. While Google Alerts is free and easy, it is lacking in some important features, including the ability to monitor social media. It also doesn’t have any analytics – basically all it does is to send you an email if someone happens to mention you on a blog or website. To make it even more challenging, it has been shown to not be accurate or reliable. Fortunately, there are alternatives that provide more detailed information including:

  • An increase in mention volume over time. As your brand grows, you want to know that more people are talking about you. This is a key way to measure brand awareness.
  • Your share of voice online. You want to see an increasing percentage of conversations about your brand, compared with your competitors.
  • The influence of people talking about you. Not all mentions are equal. It’s great to know that more and more valuable influencers are talking about you.
  • Demographic information about your audience. Do your mentions come from different countries, and in different languages? This helps you identify new markets.
  • Sentiment of mentions. Is a news story, blog post, or social comment positive or negative? And how does the proportion of positive vs negative change over time?

There are a number of reasons why you should track this information, including:

Reputation Management

This is the primary reason why people want to know if someone is talking about, whether it be good or bad. It gives you an opportunity to respond when someone mentions you or your brand, especially on social media. You need to be listening.

Listening to what others are saying about you on social media is a great way to find brand advocates. This allows you to find fans you never knew you had. It is also a great way to respond to someone who might have had a poor experience with your brand. Both of these are great reasons to monitor what others are saying about you and you will need a tool like BrandMentions rather than just Google Alerts. If you’re not using social listening, you’re leaving a lot of great insights on the table.


People reference brand names online all the time-in articles, editorial, and expert opinion pieces, and in reviews without actually linking to the page or product that they’re talking about. Turn unlinked mentions into links by contacting the people who wrote the piece. This can give you a huge advantage when it comes to Search Engine Optimization. Paid tools usually find more unlinked mentions than free software, which is why I recommend BrandMentions.

Once you’ve set up your brand monitoring alerts, and received the list of sites mentioning you, without linking to you, you can reach out to the author or webmaster asking for a link back to your website. These are the warmest link-building leads you’re likely to ever get.

The biggest issue I’ve had is trying to differentiate between people who are actually talking about me, those who are talking about others with the same name as me. But this information has been helpful as well, because I have been able to monitor these mentions, adjust my own marketing, and as a result, bump them off the first page of the search results.

Competitor Spying

While it is certainly nice to know what people are saying about you, it is equally important to know what people are saying about your competition. Using a tool like BrandMentions is like having your own fly on the wall in their conference room. Armed with this information, you know how to respond in the marketplace. Plus, if you track where your competitors are being mentioned, those sites that mention them will likely be open to mentioning you, too. In fact, that is how this article came to be – I wrote an article 10 years ago mentioning a company that is no longer in business, but BrandMentions found that article as they were spying on their competition. The result was they reached out to me and asked me to update the old information. I did one better by writing a new article (this one). That is the power of taking an active role in seeing who is not only talking about you, but about your competitors.

If you are interested in monitoring your online mentions, take a look at BrandMentions. I’ve been happy with the tracking my mentions across the web and I recommend them.

Note: The link I’ve provided here is an affiliate link, which means that if you decide to purchase their services, it won’t cost you anymore, but I may receive a small commission for referring them.