Elizabeth Trudell Tracking Breaking News for Competitive Intelligence
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By Elizabeth Trudell


Tracking breaking news is an essential part of competitive intelligence gathering. Libby Trudell highlights Google Alerts as an option along with the merits of premium news services.


Although there are many different types of sources involved in gathering data for competitive intelligence, one of the most visible, and most often requested, is a system for tracking breaking news about an organisation's competitors, customers, suppliers or key technologies. More options exist now than ever before for implementing this.

Google Alerts

Google Alerts offers free coverage of business news, including press releases and announcements. Alerts can run just in Google News or across the whole web.

Searches in Google News will produce a more vetted result as the key sources are news providers such as The New York Times, CNN, and ESPN. It's possible to tailor alerts to focus on specific topics such as technology and business, filtering out items oriented more toward entertainment or sports.

Creating an Alert

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Figure 1: Google News sources

To set up a News Alert, just perform a search on Google News and click the "Create an email alert" link at the bottom of the search results page. You'll can then finish creating your News Alert.

Searching the whole web via Google Alerts will pick up references from blogs, social media and web pages and offers a way to get a more complete sense of an organisation's presence, and what's being said about them. You can use a search form to limit by factors such as type of content and geography.

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Figure 2: Limiting your search query

News Aggregators

It can be difficult to cull through and identify the relevant items from Google Alerts, and even more challenging to format results from many different sources into a succinct report.

To make this process easier, consider using premium news services such as FactivaLexisNexis and NewsEdge and ProQuest Dialog (see FreePint's 2011 review of Dialog STM) which offer options for downloading and formatting reports

These news aggregators, with collections covering thousands of newspapers, newsletters, newswires and other sources, also offer more comprehensive coverage. They provide a broader view of product releases, acquisitions, lawsuits, stock performance, regulatory changes and other announcements.

Because these providers include company name indexing, it's possible to select the substantive articles that are primarily about a particular company or industry, avoiding brief mentions that do not have real relevance.  

Create Your Bespoke Blend

The real key to providing an alerting service is to find the right blend of web and premium sources.

For breaking news, it's hard to beat what's being blogged or reported in today's NY Times, but much of what's important to know about a company may be reported only in the industry and trade literature.

Editor's Note

FreePint Subscribers can log in to read and share more in Libby Trudell's article, Collecting, Assessing and Organising Data for Competitive Intelligence.

This article is part of the FreePint Topic Series: Next-Generation Competitive Intelligence running from May-June 2014. Register your interest now, and you'll also get a free copy of the FreePint Report: Buyer's Guide on Competitive Intelligence when it's published in June.

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