AJ co-founded TrendKite in 2012 and oversees all aspects of the organization’s sales operations.
As a PR professional, you are likely doing some sort of industry tracking. After all, it’s a given that you need to understand the industry landscape in order to appreciate your brand’s position in it. But with all the other responsibilities and more direct efforts to promote and position your company, it can be easy to miss some of the rich knowledge to be gained with thoughtful industry tracking. If you haven’t pondered it for a while, it may be worth a minute to think about what might be uncovered with a more in-depth industry tracking strategy.
In the ever active quest for earned media, PR pros are sometimes lulled into the trap of thinking of journalists and analysts when thinking about "who." But, understanding the who’s-who for the industry at large can be enormously helpful when producing content and delivering pitches. So, you want to know, not just who is doing the talking, but who they are talking about. Are there innovators driving change or thought leaders provoking discussions? Look for association leaders, related business executives and even customers who are prominent in the space.
Of course industry tracking involves understanding the trending topics, concerns and predictions for the space. You’ll want to know which subject are getting attention in both earned and owned media and be aware of market affecting conditions, changes to legislation, new competitive entrants or other factors that might impact the industry.
Event awareness is an important part of industry tracking. It can be enormously useful to time announcements and pitches around industry conferences, trade shows, user conferences or other physical and electronic gatherings.
As important as understanding what the industry is talking about, is understanding why they care. Knowing that a topic is hot is useful, knowing why is essential. A deeper understanding of what people in the space really care about will help you generate thoughtful pitches and content that go deeper than your competition and engage audiences more fully.
Markets are a bit like antelope in the savannah, they like to gather around the watering hole. Every industry has different forums, publications, social networks and other digital “places” where insiders, customers and influencers gather. Effective industry tracking places pins in the proverbial map so that you can reach your audience where they go naturally, rather than trying to drive them to a location that you choose.
How do you go about gathering all of this knowledge without losing focus on all the other things you need to monitor, analyze and do? The surest approach is to select public relations software that uses sophisticated big-data analysts and monitoring tools to do the work so that you don’t have to.
Accurate, timely and qualitative industry tracking will increase the effectiveness of all of your PR efforts and result in better outcomes for your brand.