Google Trends is a tool that identifies and tracks topics, events, places, people and products being searched for over a given amount of time. Google provides a video tutorial on how to use Google Trends, but what are some simple ways to incorporate it into your PR strategy?
1. Monitor trends. Keeping track of what people are talking about can help you identify proactive, meaningful ways to insert your brand into the conversation. Two key features include Hot Searches and Top Charts. While Hot Searches lists the top 20 searches of the day (updated in real time), Top Charts is updated monthly and separated into categories.
2. Create content calendars. You can use Google Trends Explore feature to identify patterns for trending topics, which can inform your brand’s ongoing content calendar. This allows you to create related content around the timeframes when the topic is more likely to be talked about online.
For example, this search, done by the Content Marketing Institute, compared “birthday party ideas” to “baby shower ideas” to find that both searches peaked during January, with an even higher spike for birthday parties. It’s good intelligence for brands that can link to those topics.
3. Measure a specific campaign. Track popularity in news articles that cover a brand’s campaign. By navigating to the “News Headlines” filter, you can hover over the spikes to view popular news headlines. This can be particularly helpful if you’d like to look back on the year and view your top-performing moments – and see how they stack up against each other.
For example, take our client Chipotle and the trending searches and news about the brand since January 2011. This graph shows the spikes relative to the total number of searches, as well as the brand’s other news moments – like the November 2014 announcement of its Sofritas, a GMO-free tofu option, launched in Kansas City, MO.