Depending on how popular and well-known your brand is, there may be few or many people talking about it. If you?re looking to start a blog, position yourself as an expert or start networking actively in your desired topic area, then listening is an important research routine. As you become more well-known, more conversations will be held around your brand name, so you?ll spend more time listening and possibly responding to blog posts, tweets, etc. If you?re a large and popular company, you may need to hire someone to manage these monitoring tools daily.

The first thing you need to do is acquire a feed reader. Google reader is a good choice because it?s easy to sort feeds, bookmark/favorite them and share (give value) them with your network.

Also register for a Delicious account, which can help you sort and organize blogs that mention your brand. Think of Delicious as your own research and development plant. Once you?ve set up these two accounts, the following tools will help you locate articles that mention your brand, feed them right into your central hub (Google reader) and allow you to manage them (Delicious).

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