Use this button to switch between dark and light mode.

Best Practices for a Modern PR Campaign: Know the Industry

February 16, 2023 (6 min read)
PR consultants getting to know the industry

Brands don’t exist in a vacuum. Every brand that’s advertised on the internet, billboards, or other types of media is a part of a robust industry and is competing to claim market share in that field.

Because competition is so steep, a successful public relations strategy requires understanding the world your organization works within. So, you’ll need to know much more than the brand and its key customers—you’ll need to familiarize yourself with industry-specific resources and data to ensure your campaign messages are relevant.

It’s also critical to know not only who the brand’s competitors are but their place in the industry landscape. Get in tune with what’s happening that’s new and headline-making so you can stand out from your competition.

Once again, all of this comes down to conducting thorough research. So far, we’ve covered how to research your brand and your audience. In this blog, we’ll go over what questions to ask about your industry so you can create a campaign that rises above the rest. Then, we’ll show you how Nexis Newsdesk can help you jumpstart that research.

Questions to ask about the industry       

When getting to know your brand, you need to understand the place it fits within the industry. Diving into the entire industry ecosystem will allow you to understand your competitors, what they are doing and how you can set your brand apart.

Who are the major players in the industry?

This will tell you who is setting the conversation in your industry and give you an idea of where the gaps may be. If there are well-known power players, you may already know the industry leaders, but it’s important to know where their blind spots are—this could give you a niche opening through which you can make a major splash.

Start this research by running a search for your industry and key terms on a media intelligence tool and see what companies. This will give you a complete sense of what’s trending, what major players are making industry moves and who your up-and-coming competitors may be.

What are the topics journalists are most interested in covering?

When you know what industry topics are getting the most coverage, you know how to position your own messaging to either align with or get distance from that topic, depending on whether the subject matter in question is receiving neutral, positive or negative attention.

Do you have any subject-matter experts who can contribute something new to the conversation? Or, does your company solve a problem in a way that no one else does?

Knowing the trending topics will allow you to create a campaign that targets what journalists are covering right now but can also give you the opportunity to fill in any gaps and set your brand apart.

What are the outlets of note?

Your research should tell you not only the media outlets that write prominently about your industry, but it should also help you quickly discern which of those outlets cover stories or feature journalists that will be an asset to your campaign. If you find the right publication and/or journalists, you can establish some great connections for getting your messaging out into the world.

Industry research should also tell you information about the readership/viewership of an outlet’s articles and video posts. By learning which outlets cover your industry and which of those outlets put out the most attention-grabbing stories, you’re more likely to have a wider audience reach.

MORE: Five Reasons Why Nexis Newsdesk Sets a New Standard for Release Distribution

Who are the influencers?

Within every industry, there are the gurus, moguls, experts, analysts, journalists and content creators that people in your industry either flock to and respect or dismiss and reject. 

Taking the time to find the respected influencers that have a huge readership, viewership or social media following is time well spent. These people can become the torchbearers of your campaign. They can help share your campaign messaging with a certain trust and respect they’ve cultivated with their audiences over time.

What direction is the industry headed?

Things change rapidly in today’s world. From supply chain struggles to new services, products or regulation it seems like an industry’s direction can pivot on a dime.

Some industries, like artificial intelligence, for example, seem to be booming at the moment—making it a key time for companies to take risks and make market moves. This could give you the space to be a bit more creative in your PR campaign and ride on the industry momentum.

Other industries, like natural gas, may see a decline as electric vehicles become more prominent. If that’s the case, you may need to think about a broader pivot or show why you’re still relevant.

Keeping up on industry trends, and planning your campaign around them, will prove to your audience that you are up-to-date with the latest information and make it clear that you are ready to change with the times.

What competitors are doing well?

There’s always something positive to learn from a company when it’s doing something right, even your competitors. In fact, knowing what your competitors do well can create a baseline by which you can judge your successes or recognize if it’s worth putting your efforts elsewhere.

If there is a topic on which your competitor is the go-to thought-leader, it may be worth your time to create a campaign around a parallel topic where you can stand out instead of trying to beat them at their own game.

MORE: The Crisis Communications Checklist for PR Professionals

How do competitors position themselves?

If you’re not tuned in to how your competitors are positioning themselves in the market, you risk launching a similar message that arrived on the scene too late.

Perhaps even worse, you risk launching a campaign built on messaging that your competitors either a) already tried and failed with or b) were praised for not incorporating into their own positioning.

For example, imagine releasing an environmentally aware campaign with similar messaging from a competitor that resulted in their being accused of greenwashing. Being aware of industry trends will allow you to avoid these pitfalls so you don’t make the same mistakes.

What are your competitors’ weaknesses?

No SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) would be complete without knowing where your competitors fall short. If a competitor is weak in an area where your company happens to excel, this gives you an opening to show your audience that you are a better option.

By knowing your competitors’ weaknesses, you can shape your campaign to demonstrate your strengths—which could give you an overall edge.

Are competitors doing anything you can borrow or need to compete with?

All brands across all industries like to tout their own victories. What content are they creating that sparks inspiration? We’re not saying copy what they’re doing but understanding where they excel can give you an idea of what type of content may perform well for you.

If a direct competitor is crushing the video space, is there any video you should be creating to compete? It’s a good idea to be where your competitors are to show you are a presence in the industry.

That said, you should only consider what you can do better. If there’s a direct comparison, and the competitor will come out on top, you should stick to areas in which you can have the edge.

MORE: Six Tips for Reducing PR Budgets in Lean Times

How to conduct industry research

You may have go-to trade magazines or Twitter alerts which you read for your industry updates…but that may mean you miss out on other things being written.

Nexis Newsdesk™ is a 24/7 media monitoring platform that gives you the real-time information necessary to conduct highly informed industry research. Monitor industry topics, experts, news and conversations across 10,000+ global news sources, 150 million websites and 2.5 million social media feeds. Along with other media intelligence solutions, Newsdesk helps to broaden and deepen your research findings with data that uncovers the:

  • Biggest and most important players in your industry
  • Industry topics getting the most coverage
  • Most respected and prevalent industry news sources
  • Industry influencers that represent your brand and convey its messaging
  • Latest industry developments and disruptions
  • Successes of competitors that you can borrow and/or build on
  • Messaging already in the market and how it’s being received
  • Weakness of competitors

Ready to better know your industry? Learn more about Newsdesk today!