I'm in the business of creating hot content. It's what I do. So, when I'm creating content, developing a content strategy, or working on marketing plans with a client, I need to know what's going on in their industry. I essentially make their business, my business.

I want to know what the hot topics are, what the gossip is, what the popular ideas and concepts are, and what kind of content goes viral. I also want to know which social media sites are best for their respective industries and what kind of information goes hot on each of them. And, the best way to find this info is to surf the industry's hottest RSS feeds and watch Google.

So, how do you watch all these things without eating up your time? Here's my little trick:

Gather Buzz and Info Using RSS Feeds

Google Alerts for Gathering Industry Buzz

As soon as I get a client in a new industry, the first thing I do is set up Google Alerts for their keywords as well as a few others popular in their marketing area. So, if my client was a dentist, I would set up alerts for cosmetic dentist, teeth whitening, laser dentistry, etc as well as words such as 'dental care' that target my client's ideal audience.

When I set up these comprehensive alerts however, I grab the RSS feed rather than emails. But, I don't stop here. Nope, I'm nosier than that. I want to know everything.
Social Mention RSS
Like I had mentioned in The Big SEO Copywriting Secret, I use social media searches a lot. So, when I'm done with Google, I use SocialMention and Trackle to find out what the industry is talking about. And, you guessed it, grab the RSS feeds.

Next, I do some digging and find all of the authority websites, blogs, and social media sites in that industry and grab the feeds for those as well. If they don't have an RSS feed, I simply bookmark them in a corresponding folder for the industry. (You'll find this step has a number of benefits. I mean, you can't publish content on authority sites unless you can offer them something they want, right?)

What Do You Do with All These Feeds?

Organizing and actually using these feeds can be a nightmare, particularly if you're like me and are working in 20 or more industries at any one time. This is where Google Reader comes in.
Google Reader

In my reader, I have a special section of folders set aside specifically for clients. I name the folder by industry and add the appropriate RSS feeds to them. There's a bit more to it than that, however. Eventually you'll have to use these RSS feeds without stepping in the time-suck bucket.

When I start on a project, the first thing I do is head to my reader, find the right folder, and start going through the feeds to see if there is anything useful or informative. (If you're anything like me, lots of the stuff that comes through here is either a) repetitive or b) useless marketing garbage, but you'll find that tagging the good stuff helps.) Then, when I come across something that gives me an idea or information for a project, I tag the newsfeed item with the appropriate customer's name.

This allows me to simply filter by tag and find all of the good stuff for each project without having to dig constantly. Lots of times, when I don't have any upcoming projects in a particular industry, I'll go through the feeds and mark interesting ones anyway. I've found that this is particularly helpful for emergency projects simply because most of the research is already done for me. Ok, and I'll admit it. It does wonders for an inquiring mind and client relations.

Try it for yourself and see!

Angie Nikoleychuk (Haggstrom) is the Senior Copywriter and Consultant at Angie's Copywriting Services. She loves to create SEO Web copy and other types of online and offline content, but she figures SEO and Social Media is pretty great too. She likes to chat about business and marketing, find great links, and more. Oh, and you can find this copywriter on Twitter too.