Augmenting an existing list of something seems to be pretty straightforward.
- get the Twitter alias for these Journalists,
- find the bio for these Executives,
- get a description for these Companies,
- and so on…
But, what do you do when you don’t have the list of journalists, executives or companies? How do you get that seed list in the first place?
One very simple and effective means to get the starter list going is to use cities as the initial seed. You’ll be surprised how often this particular method can work. Simply decide what cross section of cities will most effectively fill your need. Examples I’ve used so far:
- All 281 cities in Washington State - List of Fly Fishing Shops in WA State
- The 50 largest cities – List of Twitter Aliases for Journalists at Daily Papers
- The 250 largest cities in the U.S. – List of Art Marketing Firms for Artists
By simply asking your question relative to a specific city, you can effectively parse the work into pieces that
- Ensures workers aren’t providing the same answers into your new list, and
- That you are getting fairly complete coverage
I have a sheet for each state in a directory in my own Smartsheet account, along with a report that I use to pull specific lists of cities with which to run these lists builds. I had to Smartsource it from the U.S. Census site as there were no obviously accessible city lists anywhere else. You are welcome to load a copy of the entire directory into your own account (just be warned that it adds 51 Sheets to your account total).
I’ve included a column with “+” concatenated names for cities like Las Vegas (Las+Vegas). This turns out to be very useful when pre-concatenating search strings for Google or Bing searches. If I want Art Marketing firms for example, I’ll pre-build the Google search to help the worker do the best job possible. For example, the search string for Las Vegas would be:
The formula in Smartsheet to build this search string for row 10 looked like:
="http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&view=text&gl=us&q=" + City10 + "+" + State10 + [Search Text]10
By using Google Maps, the City, State and Business Type, I get a much more targeted set of results for the worker to weed through to find the answers I want. In this case, businesses.
Happy list building.