Knowledge is key and being aware of the latest business news has never been more important !

As a contractor for the last nine years I have learnt a number of important lessons and today I want to talk about the ice breaker.

The Ice breaker takes many forms for example calling a client to wish them a  happy birthday or how project x is moving forward. These are basic way you can get a conversation going with your clients and business contacts. However something a great tool which is over looks is google alerts. *For this you will need a google account this can be your existing email address.

If you go to and logon you can setup notifications on news articles that matter do you and your clients.

For this example I'm going to use "McAfee" as a ePO specialist I need to be kept up to date on any new articles about McAfee ePO or business news which could impact me or myself clients.

So before we start it's important to test out your search terms simple is normally the best and using common terminology.

For example  if I search just on "McAfee" I get all web publications using the word McAfee this can lead to a over full mailbox and information overload. You can see below the stories  don't have anything to do with McAfee ePO or in fact the company itself I want to know about.

This is why it's important to test your search query and tweak to get the minimum amount of important which is relevant!

So after some testing I have selected a number search terms I want to use

  • McAfee ePO
  • McAfee threats
  • cyber security threats
  • Intel Security
  • IBM Security

Now if you are following this example and searched for McAfee ePO you will now see the Alert preview panel has updated with a  number of news articles and blog post which are relevant.

So that's great we can now hit "create alert" - however before we do that we need to make a few final tweak to prevent a email overload...

Click on the show options at the top of the page; this will allow us to tweak the alerts to only send us the information we types we are looking for at frequency we can manage.  Some subjects you may decide you would like to see only once a week in a news round up while other subject you need to know as it happens for example a new security threat or a zero day virus.

If you take the time to look at each option and confirm the settings which are right for you. For me I like to receive a email once a day on each subject with the news and blog sources and you can see below.

Now you can create the alert and sit back and wait for your new emails to arrive, if you need to make any changes you can visit

Receiving your alerts

The last and final change you can make is how you would like to receive you alerts. As I have already mentioned for myself I like to email on each search query -  however you do have more options. Clicking the gear icon (I've highlight below) we can make change when and now we get the alerts.

Now you can see the box below and you can select when you receive your email and in which form. Digest will group all alerts into a single email in this instance below at 9am each day.