Is your team studying industry trends? If not, your marketing and PR team should be. Staying on top of industry trends can be a game changer by helping elevate the timeliness and relevance of your thought leadership, social media presence,brand development and communications with present and future customers. Yet, staying on top of current trends can be a time consuming task. With so much noise out there it’s hard to filter out what’s vital to your stakeholders.
Below are a few useful time-saving tools for your team when trying to find that next big trend before its yesterday’s news.
- Google Alerts – You’re probably already using Google Alerts to find daily coverage on your company, keep an eye on key industry players and see what your competitors are up to, but have you used it to track trends? By focusing on key industry related words, you’ll start to see relevant articles coming into your email and you’ll be the first to see the trends of the day. While there are competitors to Google Alerts that offer a more superior service like Mention or Calabo, they do come with a price tag while Google Alerts remains free and easy to use.
- Google Trends – Google Trends helps you explore more in-depth about what people are searching about in Google. You can add and compare search topics, compare different brands and take a look at where people are talking about it geographically.
- Feedly – While Feedly takes a while to set up, in my opinion this is one of the best and underrated tools used to find industry news. You can upload any publication that you want and file them under any name or category that works best for you. Instead of going to each individual website or signing up for hundreds of newsletters that clog your email, you can get all the relevant industry news in one easy stream of knowledge. You can even search within your top publications for keywords and the best part – it’s free!
- Twitter – Using hashtags for your keywords and following your favorite writers and publications on Twitter is a great way to stay on top of industry trends and conversation. Many of us fall victim though of seeing all these great industry conversations taking place and not offering our two cents. The best way to find out where a trend is headed is to join in on the dialogue, form some opinions, and ask intelligent and timely questions.
If these tools aren’t your cup of tea and you want the inside scoop on your industry, try calling on your favorite analyst. Analysts know the ins and outs of all your competitors and customers, their predictions are spot on and they’re sure to lead you in the right direction for the year ahead.
Once you’ve gotten the hang of researching industry trends, make sure you’re applying them to your thought leadership.