As a follow up to my post on the highest performing press releases from 2022 (so far), I wanted to shed some light on the topics and keywords that helped bring attention to those press releases.
Whether they were the flavor of the month or an ongoing topic of conversation, these keywords provided ample content for brands from January to June, and speak to the importance of creating brand content that speaks to the moment.
- Pandemic, it should come as no surprise, dominated the conversation this year with 4000+ press releases month to month on the PR Newswire network. An example from March: LOWE'S ANNOUNCES 5-YEAR, $100M COMMITMENT TO COMMUNITY IMPACT PROJECTS ACROSS AMERICA (“The program comes at a critical time as communities and local organizations across America work hard to navigate the impact of the pandemic…”)
- The Ukraine-Russia war has also been a consistent topic of conversation all year. Since January 1, Ukraine has appeared 3,299 times in releases on PR Newswire.com.
- Supply chain, as seen in this Oracle release, dominated the conversation in late 2021; after a slight dip in January, mentions of “supply chain” rose once again to in February, appearing 1,698 times.
- Black History Month stories, such as this Duke Energy one, made their way to the trending topic list in February as well.
- ESG, a known trending topic for us over at Cision PR Newswire, has been a consistent topic of conversation all year. Since January, we’ve seen 2,200 releases tagged with the subject code ESG – from Chipotle’s announcement of how its ESG goals tie to compensation to Hershey’s release of its ESG Report.
- Digital transformation was used 718 times throughout press releases in March. This compares to its use in February 637 times; in January, 654 times. Notable examples include Mizuho Financial Group and Google’s announced collaboration and Adani Group’s new strategy using Google Cloud.
- Inflation became a major concern in May, appearing in 929 press releases, though the conversation has waned of late, with 626 appearances in June. Examples range from Red Robin’s announcement of a$10 gourmet meal deal to the release of T. Rowe Price’s 2022 midyear market outlook.
- NFT appeared in 1,061 press releases between March and May, one prime example being eBay announcing the launch of its first collection of NFTs
On our radar for the second half of 2022? U.S. mid-term elections, World Cup in Qatar and Web3.
Why It Matters: 4 Ways Brands Can Take Advantage of Trending Topics to Generate Earned Media
We know from the 2022 State of the Media report that journalists are increasingly under pressure to draw audience engagement (in the form of views, likes, shares, etc.), so they are always on the hunt for stories that will speak to the moment and pique interest across multiple channels.
How can you stay ahead of the stories journalists – and audiences – are hungry for? Here are four ways to stay ahead of the news and use trending topics to your advantage.
- Make use of editorial calendars and major cultural events. Many media outlets post their editorial calendars online so you can anticipate when to pitch stories on what topics at certain times of year. You should also be aware of key cultural events or holidays to which you can tie stories. Another pro tip: Dig into your media database. A good, third-party media database will often contain journalists’ editorial calendars along with their main topics of interests.
- Set up news alerts. Google alerts is of course a fast and easy way to get news on trending topics right to your inbox. Many brands also rely on third-party experts to aggregate the latest stories for them. Cision, for instance, offers curated news briefings that focus in on the latest news stories centered around your brand, industry and even your competitors.
- Subscribe to industry newsletters. Newsletters from companies like PRWeek and PR Daily and PRSA provide a quick look at the top industry news stories, in addition to resources like thought leadership articles, upcoming industry events and research reports.
- Keep an eye on social. Social media can be a treasure trove of story ideas, with the vast amount of hashtags offering visibility into trending topics of conversation; however, the constant barrage of tweets and updates can get very congested – and very hard to sort through – very quickly. In that case, it might be time to consider social media listening tools, which can help you cut through the noise and quickly focus in on the topics that affect your industry or brand. (It’s no coincidence that 87% of comms pros use insights from social listening to inform PR campaigns, according to the 2021 Global Comms Report.) Learn more about social listening and its many uses by downloading our free e-book, The Art of Social PR.
Remember of course that you can’t force it. Not every story can be tied to a trending topic, and you have to be careful to ensure the timing is right so the story still feels relevant. The more you follow the trends, the more you can anticipate what’s ahead, and the easier it will be to start thinking proactively about the stories you can formulate and pitch.