In business, as in life, if you want people to pay attention to you, you need to have something worthwhile to say. That means being interesting, insightful or funny, but also talking about a topic that is compelling in itself. Topics that actually matters to people. Hot topics.
Hot topics are those that are getting a lot of attention in an industry, typically because they are current and significant. They may be fleeting, like Apple’s most recent product announcement, or they be the focus of an industry for a number of years, like artificial intelligence in the tech world.
Assuming a hot topic is relevant, it’s possible to harness it for raising the profile of your business, while positioning yourself as an expert or ‘thought-leader’ in the sector. Expert commentary such as guest articles, news interviews and event talks are all common ways of doing this and are all opportunities that comms agencies like us routinely secure for clients. Before you jump in, though, it’s important to understand how to identify, track and use hot topics.
What to watch
For starters, you need to know what topics to keep an eye on. This will depend on what your business does of course and will be dictated by the wider media agenda. Pull together a list of its main areas of focus and relevance. As a comms agency, for instance, we naturally track news about things like “content marketing,” “paid search” and “lead generation,” but also our specialist areas of innovation and place. In addition to watching for certain keywords and phrases, we also follow specific websites that are particularly relevant and keep an eye on the national news agenda for stories about larger companies and the Government that impact our clients.
How to watch it
You don’t want to be cycling through a list of the same search terms and websites every morning. You can save time by getting them to come to you. Feed readers allow you to pull in content from different places and, if you find the right one, can be used to track websites and search terms, categorise them by topic and easily save or share specific articles. Other tools like Google News and Google Trends, meanwhile, can help you identify which topics are generating the most activity. Between identifying keywords, tracking activity and spotting topics to use, you can begin to see the time and expertise involved, which is why a lot of businesses opt to use comms or PR agencies to do the work.
What to do with it
As you begin tracking news for your business’ area of work, you’ll begin to spot the topics that come up repeatedly. In comms, for example, (and many other industries for that matter) automation is cropping up a lot as businesses look for ways to make their marketing activities more efficient and effective. You can either comment about those trends or areas in general or on a specific article that you may have found. In addition, by sharing the hot topics you pick out every day with relevant people in your business, you can ensure that people are kept up-to-speed in key areas and also that there is consistency in content, talks and chats with clients.