If you want to keep up with a specific brand, for whatever reason (they’re a competitor in your space, your job is related to their activity, or you just really like what that company’s doing), to date there’s been no easy way to keep track of all of the sources that might mention it online. Even services like Alltop, which helps to monitor sites for particular topics and pare down the background noise to a dull roar, leave a lot to be desired.
BzzScapes is a new venture from marketing company BzzAgent that groups user-submitted content according to brand, so that you can stay up to date on the company or product of your choice via a variety of different types of web sites and media, with each brand having its own BzzScape. Compared to Alltop, there are two main differences. First, anyone can add any content they want (which means it may or may not actually relate to the brand in question), and second, anyone can vote and comment on things added, which should, in theory, mean that the best sources rise to the top organically.
I find it useful because part of my job involves making sure I keep abreast of what’s going on with Apple at all times. Staying current is easy enough, but knowing the slightly more obscure news and whisperings is what gets you ahead in my field, and that’s where BzzScapes steps in. Books, blogs, images, stories, video and more are being added all the time to the Apple BzzScape, which I can navigate either in grid, list or landscape view.
Aside from contributing to BzzScapes for companies that probably don’t really need the press anyway, you can also create your own BzzScape, which is another reason web workers should take note. Creating your own BzzScape for your own personal business or that of a client is another way to monitor and improve your presence online and in social media. Even if at first, you and coworkers are the only ones stocking it with content, the hope is that with time and exposure, others will begin to join in as well, and eventually you’ll have a nice supplement to your existing accounts on Facebook and Twitter with a little more to offer interested visitors.
One caveat before you sign up, should you choose to. The registration process itself is incredibly tedious. That’s because you’re actually registering for BzzAgent, which is a marketing research web site that wants to mine members for customer data in exchange for giveaways and promotions. So they ask a lot of questions. Including, oddly, whether or not I smoked, which appeared on its own page after three pages of other, much more standard questions.
If you can tough out the sign-up process, I think you’ll find that BzzScapes is worth it. It provides an interesting way to find new content that you might otherwise not have come across, and it could potentially become a valuable marketing tool for your own work. Registration is also free, so it won’t cost you anything to try it out.
What tools do you use for tracking brands online?