1. Google alerts. "I use Google Alerts all the time. It's probably the best tool out there," says Mannix. Google alerts allows users to set up alerts by keywords and phrases that trigger an e-mail notification and link every time that word or phrase pops up on a site, blog, or news story -- depending on how the alert is configured. A business primarily concerned about three top competitors, for example, might set up a Google alert on all three companies and their top executives monitoring every time they get a mention online.