Any self-respecting journalist, blogger, freelancer, broadcaster and publisher knows the importance of reporting on trends.
But when I worked as a newspaper editor two decades ago, I was too busy laying off reporters, slashing the newsroom budget and fielding phone calls from angry readers. Chasing down trends wasn’t even on the priority list. I suspect things haven’t changed much since then.
Even beat reporters have doubled and tripled the workloads we saw in those days. That’s why it’s more difficult than ever to stay atop trends if you’re covering a beat.
Smart Publicity Hounds know that tipping off bloggers and journalists to trends, and then offering to write a guest blog post or be a source for an article on that trend, is a door-opener for publicity. Here, then, are seven places to find information on industry trends:
1. Google It! Fast and Easy.
I searched for “public relations trends” and found 5 emerging PR trends and the skills they require, 5 Emerging PR Trends & the New Public Relations Skill Set for 2012 (and Beyond), and 12 Trends That Will Change Public Relations.
2. Your trade magazines and newsletters.
If you see a story about an emerging trend, tip off reporters at your local business journal or business magazine even if you cannot offer yourself as a source. They’ll remember that you helped them, and that thoughtful gesture might come in handy later when you pitch a story about your own business.
This employment and resources directory has a wide variety of links that will tip you off to emerging issues with over-40 workers, up-and-coming jobs, etc.
4. Look at your own target audience and notice their buying habits.
Don’t try to predict trends, cautions the eBiZine blog. It offers several questions to ask yourself about your customers’ buying habits in this post titled Spotting and Profiting from Business Trends Online.
5. Look for trends in trending topics on the social media sites.
Don’t confuse trends with a trending topic, which is simply a topic that a lot of people are writing about on sites like Twitter and Google+. But you might find actual trends buried within that shared content.
Here’s a list of Trending Topics from Mashable.
6. USA Today
I can’t think of any other newspaper that lets you find and learn about more trends, including lifestyle and business trends, than this newspaper. Stories are short and concise.
Pay attention to their Snapshots, easy-to-read statistical graphics that present information on various issues and trends in a visually appealing way. Readers are invited to answer a “Quick Question” related to the snapshot. A new Snapshot is posted online Monday through Friday.
The blog follows Internet users’ behaviors and attitudes, investigates emerging trends with web metric tools and marketing research surveys, and spices it all with many practical insights. It’s considered one of the leading marketing research blogs.
That’s my short list. Please add to it by sharing your own favorite way to learn about trends. The Comments section awaits.