If you’ve never set up a Google alert, here’s the lowdown- you can set up a simple alert with Google that will send you an email anytime a specific word or phrase is mentioned in a new Web page. To do it, just go to Google Alerts and choose your alert options. If you already have a few alerts set up to catch your name or a topic you follow, you may not be utilizing this service in every way that can help your writing business. Here are a few ways a freelance writer for hire can use Google alerts to make things easier, get a leg up on the competition and find obscure writing jobs.
Taking a line from a new article you’ve written and plugging it into the Google alert service can let you know if someone else plagiarizes your work. Put the entire sentence or two in quotes, though, or you’ll end up getting a lot of annoying alerts about similar topics.
Another way to use a full sentence or two is to find out when something you have written has been published. Using your name as an alert should be done by virtually everyone, but many professional content writers write ghostwritten works or works that simply aren’t published with a name attached to them. A Google alert with a sentence from the work can let you know as soon as it’s published online so that you can save the link to use as needed.
If you have a work that may be discussed online, such as an ebook, print book or a linkbait article, you can create a Google alert for the title. This can help with your marketing efforts as you discover works that are striking a chord with readers.
If you’re a regular on some of the many sites that post freelance content writing projects, you know how much time that kind of thing can take. And by the time a job is posted on one of those sites, it’s been brought to the attention of hundreds of writers, if not more. One way to get a jump on this competition is to set up Google alerts for common phrases used by companies who hire writers. “Looking for a marketing writer” is one such phrase. “We need a copywriter” is another. With a few good alerts in place, you can find out about new writing jobs as soon as they are published.
Lizz S is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.