Predicting the Future: Why Trends Matter In an Oversaturated Media Landscape

Close-up of Indian banknotes of different denomination HorizontalIn a world where there are now thousands of print and digital publications and blogs, covering everything from the nuances of sports law, to the ways in which technology affects our everyday lives and culture and  the joys of botany, securing media coverage for your business has arguably never been easier. On the flip side, there is a vast chasm of noise now coming at us every day, which makes it exceedingly more difficult for your big product announcement, or CEO profile you are pitching, to get the attention you think it deserves.

And it’s only going to get worse before it gets better. A recent study of business media reporting by the ITDatabase found that, in general, the top-8 business publications in the U.S. (The Wall Street JournalThe New York TimesForbesFortuneBusinessWeekThe Economist, the Financial Times and USA Today) were, “follow[ing] the lead of the media at large in focusing on what’s new and where the money might be going rather than where the money is now.”

What’s the remedy for this catch-22? How can today’s bright, innovative and energetic entrepreneur or CEO get his or her company some media love, whether it be in a relevant industry trade, or a great consumer publication or blog, while fighting it out with their 30 other anicillary competitors who are all vying for the same level of media coverage?

By latching onto the power of trends. For those of us who work in public relations, we already know the immense power of studying, dissecting and latching on to relevant and timely trends. Some may chase, month after month, after that elusive profile piece or big cover story of their super-cool new product, but the wise entrepreneurs realize that those exclusive features will come, in due time, if they play the media game nicely and understand the benefits of even just one well-placed quote or piece of insight within a relevant industry or consumer trend story.

And that’s because of the power of the trend news cycle, where trend stories pique the curiosity of industry followers and influencers, which begets more in-depth and detailed business stories. And these typically lead to industry and consumer blog write-ups, which then have a way of coming full circle, and now you have that big profile piece of your CEO, or a cover story in Entrepreneur about your company.

The power of the trend news cycle is taking on greater influence for many businesses as the media landscape continues to fracture, and once-dominant publications and newspapers continue to lose some relevance and prestige.

When it comes to media coverage for any type of business, there are, obviously, several different ways of securing great coverage, but one of the most powerful comes from an entrepreneur’s or CEO’s willingness to take the spotlight off themselves for the benefit of greater public knowledge about trending news and insight within their industry. The media and consumers value and respect those who do so, and they tend to reciprocate with more in-depth coverage of you and your company, over time.

And the best thing about trends is they are all around us, bubbling up every day. Whether it’s an industry round-up article about recent progression in sales within a sector of your industry, or offering a reporter a glimpse into what they—and their readers—should be watching out for in the new year, people love to discuss what’s hot, what’s relevant and what everyone will be talking about in the days and weeks to come with people who have something smart and insightful to say.

What are some trend stories you see bubbling up for summer 2010?