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The Internet's New Secret Weapon For Getting Free Publicity

By George McKenzie © 2005

You probably don't even know about them. Few people do. Even fewer people realize how many different ways you can use them to get free publicity, increase your search engine rankings, and make yourself a media celebrity in your field.

I'm talking about "news alerts."

Google offers Google News Alerts at Look in the column to the left of the page.

Yahoo has a similar service, as do a number of other web portals and news outlets.

News alerts are the Internet's new -- and one of its most powerful -- secrets weapons for attracting attention from radio, TV and newspaper reporters.

You can sign up for news alerts for free. Then you choose keywords related to your industry, and whenever those keywords show up in a news story--practically anywhere--you get an email notification and a link to the story.

News alerts allow you to identify and contact the journalist who did the story to suggest a follow up, offer another angle, etc. on the story they've already done.

You can even set up news alerts for a competitor's name. If they're quoted in a story somewhere, you'll be notified by email. That gives you an opportunity to contact the reporter who wrote the story and position yourself as a future resource for similar pieces.

You can also set up your news alerts so that every time your name appears in the media, it sends you an email notification.

It’s a great way to find out when your news releases, tip sheets, or articles have been published. This can be extremely valuable since people who print your stuff don’t always let you know they’re doing it.

Furthermore, when you find out that something by you or about you has been published, you can get copies or reprints to use in a multitude of ways to further establish your credentials with the media.

For instance, you can print out stories you may want to include in your media kit, or even mail to journalists to reassure them that your topic really IS newsworthy--and that you indeed ARE an expert in your field.

I got quite a giggle -- and a little bit of a shock -- when I set up a news alert for my own name recently.

I got an alert from Google a few days later telling me the name "George McKenzie" had appeared in a Scottish TV story.

When I clicked on the link, I found out it wasn't really about me--it was about a Scottish lawyer named Sir George McKenzie, an advisor to King Charles the Second 300 years ago.

I won't give you the details here -- a little too gruesome for a family friendly article. But you can read it if you choose by clicking on

News alerts are one of the Internet's most important developments for helping people get the attention of the media.

They're free, easy, versatile, valuable, and best of all--your competitors probably don't have a clue they exist.

For more information on how to use news alerts to identify reporters who are already doing stories about your industry, go to

About the Author:

About the Author: Award winning TV anchor George McKenzie offers a free 7-part email "Publicity Crash Course" at During his 33-year broadcasting career, George's work appeared on ABC, NBC, CBS, ESPN and CNN.