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Free Tools for Tracking and Lead Generation

RSS monitor for leads!I've talked to novice and advanced computer users alike that aren't quite aware of the power of free and basic tools for media monitoring. In another post I went over some advanced tools for mapping conflict and cooperation using the GDELT database. Here I'll go over some quick ways to step up your tracking game.

We can operate under the basic assumption that the material you're trying to track is available online. While many publications have transitioned to load content on the web, many circulars (local, for example) are still print only. Also, some publications have different print editions that feature unique content not available online.

The next assumption I'll make is that you're comfortable with Google searching. For many people, Google searches may be the only thing they are comfortable with. But, in order to really dig into some of the advanced features that many of the apps have, a cursory understanding of advanced search is helpful. Those of you who have used databases like Lexis Nexis or EBSCO should have no problem.

Aside from these minor requisites, anyone can start monitoring international or local media to track information like mentions, keywords, and breaking news as well as to generate leads. Depending on your budget and needs, however, you'll want to try out different tools.

For media outlets and news monitoring, you might be familiar with the major players like Vocus PR or Meltwater. These powerful platforms are a worthwhile investment for enterprises and those who absolutely need top monitoring and reports on broad pickup from media outlets. In addition, these services offer other products like contact information from major publications that can be difficult to come by. Overall, if you have the budget these services can save time and energy and provide superior results over free tools.

The category of SaaS monitoring tools has exploded in recent years with the availability of social data. Dozens of startups are taking advantage of free, open data provided by social networking sites. These services are limited to only online publications and sometimes just to social posting, but they can still be invaluable for monitoring and at extremely competitive prices. This is a growing market and it is best to review each service for its products, features, and price to meet your needs. Some of the inexpensive platforms can really streamline your output and productivity at minimal cost. Others can yield significant power with a la carte options that may require more investment but with even better results.

That said, many of us don't need enterprise level solutions and can get great return on investment with just a few minutes of setup and checking for regular updates.

And, there is one tool in particular that can mean pro level monitoring with easy setup and turnkey operation: RSS. RSS, commonly known as Really Simple Syndication is your ticket to tracking data extremely easily. 

 

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