A PR professional who fails to educate themselves about a client’s industry is like a ship captain with no map; you will find yourself going nowhere or steering in the wrong direction. Becoming an expert in your clients’ fields helps you see how you can add value. Understanding their industry will help you reach target audiences and help clients to stand out from their competitors.

I have been working on an insurance-related campaign for a client, and to ensure a deeper understanding of their wants and needs, I have been learning about the insurance industry. While immersing myself in a new industry, I have found five helpful tips to help get acclimated your client’s space.

Conduct a SWOT Analysis

Do not underestimate the power of a SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. According to Indeed.com, a SWOT analysis not only provides insights, but can help you better understand where a company stands amongst its competitors.

When conducting a SWOT analysis, do not just think broadly. Hone in on your client’s specific industry and where they stand within. While analyzing your client, you will become more familiar with their industry as you recognize where they shine and falter.

When conducting this research, ask yourself:

  • How does my client compare to competitors?
  • What sets my client apart?
  • What current industry trends apply to my client?
  • How can they demonstrate thought leadership relating to industry news?

Brainstorm how your client’s SWOT can power future PR deliverables by identifying strengths, tactically improving weaknesses, utilizing opportunities and preparing for threats.

Read Industry-Related Topics Daily

Dedicate an hour a day to reading industry news. This is an easy way to become more knowledgeable about the industry and familiar with key terminology, market dynamics and customer demands.

Reading in regular, small bites helps you to not get overwhelmed.  An hour a day will keep news at the forefront of your mind and allow you to review a wider variety of industry information. Lookout for competitor coverage, staying up to date on news from competitors will allow you to inform your client of what they should be focusing on to stay competitive. A daily reading practice also helps you identify newsjacking opportunities and relevant pitch topics/article ideas.

Stay Current with Industry Trends

Along with regularly reading industry content, pay attention to trends. For instance, insurance industry trends around insurtechs, digitization and customer experience are greatly impacting companies.

Seeing trends helps you understand the challenges your client may face, the changes they might need to make and the practices that might be successful.

Staying up to date on industry trends also helps you generate ideas for articles. How are you supposed to present your client as a thought leader if they are not commenting and sharing their opinion on the latest industry news cycles? Keeping up to speed with trends will help you strategically place your client within industry conversations.

Pinpoint Top Publications within the Industry

Returning to our ship analogy, what’s the point of crossing the sea without a destination? Industry publications serve as your landmarks, providing a sense of direction for article topics, audiences and publications.

Industry-specific publications, commonly referred to as trade publications, will provide insight into popular industry coverage, what competitors are talking about and information from some of the top thought leaders in that space. This lays out valuable industry information and reminds you of what publications you want your client featured in.

To find these publications, look online for posts that describe and rank these trade publications. You can also search these manually, differentiating the publications by their domain authority, audience reach and unique monthly visitors.

Familiarize Yourself with Industry Terminology

Effectively communicating with clients means understanding the language of their industries. This includes lingo, acronyms, phrases, jargon and other commonly used terminology. It may be challenging to pick up on this at first, but take note of any unfamiliar language and then research its meaning. PR practitioners are writing professionals; if you can’t speak and write like an industry insider, your work suffers.

When I began my work within the insurance industry (one in which I had no previous experience), I found myself confused by some of my client’s terms. So I took the time to research them, never assuming I knew something I was unsure of. By building my industry-specific vocabulary, I am better equipped to tailor pitches to trade publications using their own language, making me a vital asset to my client.

Becoming knowledgeable in your client’s industry can be research intensive and time consuming. It’s also necessary to produce meaningful results. Don’t leave your client lost at sea; take the time to understand their industry.

The post Five Ways to Better Understand your Client’s Industry first appeared on Communiqué PR.