Trends are integral to PR. This fast-paced digital space is the perfect landscape for trends to help push campaigns, products, and press releases into the eyes of new and relevant audiences.
The issue facing many PRs today, however, is the sheer number of trends that seem to be taking up space online daily. This is why it is so important for brands and agencies to understand how to decipher a trend vs a passing fad.
Fads simply do not work as part of a long-term PR strategy. Precious time may be spent creating a reactive campaign jumping on the back of a passing fad which may be gone before the campaign has even had client sign off!
Google Trends is a great way to search for key trending terms and create your PR story headline.
However, those using the online tool without knowledge of how to recognise long term trends may fall victims to the fad trap…
Fads are short-lived, time sensitive and reactive. They very often end up disappearing just as quickly as they appeared. Although engaging in fads can be a fun way to get some quick clickable reactive PR opportunities, as PR practitioners we really need to look to the future and keep longevity in mind with our campaigns.
Fads very often disguise themselves as new trends for professionals to pick up on.
Trends have a much longer lifespan and are a key part to a lot of client success. Trends can stick around for years and are huge influencers on all sorts of product and trade markets, which is why they are so important in thePR industry. Client-relevant trends can help your PR campaign to cut through the digital clutter and show up on the screens of your target publications and audiences much faster than a campaign with no trend link.
Having the ability to differentiate a trend vs fad helps PR’s to maintain credibility and display a high level of understanding within the industry. This is where Google Trends comes in...
Once in the tool, key in the ‘trend’ keyword you are hoping to monitor.
By default, Google Trends displays data from the last 12 months. In order to examine the longevity of a keyword and establish its power as with a trend or fad, users should expand the date range.
By looking at the trend over the last 2-3 years, we can establish whether we think the key term is likely to last long enough to gain long term media coverage.
Expanding the date range also helps to avoid key terms which are purely seasonal and lay stagnant through the rest of the year.
A great way to decipher a trend is by the way that it has gained momentum. Due to their nature, trends tend to gain momentum over time, where afad will catch on extremely quickly and usually become stale before plummeting back down from relevance.
Remember, fads aren't necessarily a negative, but it is just important to keep in mind that any PR created around a fad has a much shorter shelf life!