AJ co-founded TrendKite in 2012 and oversees all aspects of the organization’s sales operations.
In PR, it is easy to miss the forest for the trees. We get so focused monitoring our brand and our competitors that we miss bigger picture industry trends, events and influencers. The problem with this, heads-down-in-the-forest approach is that if you only notice something newsworthy in the industry because your competitors are talking about it, you’re always in a, “Me too!” position. If you'd rather take one of thought leadership, industry monitoring is critical. Here are some tips that might help.
Have a Broad View of the Space
One mistake that PR professionals and marketers make is limiting their thinking to one industry. For example, if your brand sells HR software, what industry are you in? Software, for sure. But your brand will also be impacted by trends and events in human resources management, cloud computing, labor relations and potentially many more depending on what the software does. Other areas that might impact your brand include the popularity of remote work, the millennial generation’s impact on the workforce, cyber security and others. You need to monitor the spaces closest to your brand, as well as those adjacent to it in order to know where tomorrow’s stories can be found.
Get to Know the Players
Even PR professionals who are bad at industry monitoring usually know the trade press. Ones who are good at it are aware of, and connected with, influencers of all types including bloggers, trade association leaders, and prominent customers. For some industries, it is even useful to monitor the politicians who have influence over polices and funding.
Find Out Where the Action Is
There are two parts to this element of industry monitoring. First, understand which publications, both online and offline, attract people in the space. Don’t assume they are all industry specific. Next, find the literal action including industry conferences, online hangouts, trade shows and other gatherings. Even if your brand is not participating, awareness of key events can help fine-tune your pitches and inform your timing.
The fact is that many PR professionals don’t have their finger on the pulse may be because industry monitoring is a lot of work. Not only must you locate and document everything we’ve just mentioned, but you also have to make sense of it all and determine what is important and what is noise. This is exactly what big data analytics was designed to do.
By choosing a solution that understands the publications, audiences, and authors important to your space and one that can make sense of the conversation, you will be in the position to deliver targeted, perfectly timed thought leadership. You’ll also put yourself a step ahead of competitors who are still lost in the forest.
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