You're a hands-on investor -- good for you! You like to research companies before investing your hard-earned money in them. You pore over their financial reports, and you scan the media for news about them. You crunch numbers to determine where you're most likely to get the biggest bang for your bucks. That all makes sense.

There's more research you can do, though. You can dig for informative blogs about the companies or industries that interest you. For example, I ran across a while ago. Here are some tidbits I found there:

  • You may have heard that some airlines are now charging passengers fees for checking bags. American Airlines (NYSE:AMR), for example, is charging $15 for one bag and another $25 for the second. Ouch. Well, some hotels are offering rebates on those fees to attract guests. For example, Loews Hotels, a unit of Loews (NYSE:LTR), is offering up to $30 through the summer. Other hotels, such as some Hampton Inns, are offering gas cards or free shuttle services to help guests offset gas expenses.
  • With so much pressing news to report, such as Angelina Jolie's pregnancy, you might not have learned that a 30-story Hilton Hotel under construction in San Diego was rocked by a major explosion, injuring 14 workers. This will likely delay the company's opening of the hotel. Of course, it won't make a big dent in revenue and profits overall, and Hilton is now part of the Blackstone Group (NYSE:BX), anyway.
  • The blog is also a good way to keep up with various hotels' marketing campaigns. For example, it noted Marriott's (NYSE:MAR) new commercial for its TowneSuites division, featuring "illusionary and gravity-defying" dancer David Elsewhere. If you're invested in a company or are thinking of investing in it, it's good to familiarize yourself with its marketing efforts so you can understand how it's positioning itself to possible customers.

So don't neglect blogs when you do your digging. Perhaps use Google's Blog Search to find entries on your companies or industries of interest.

Meanwhile, to learn more about how to study companies effectively and invest in them with more confidence, check out these articles: