“Rowena Figueroa, Head of PR and Partnerships at Hinge, a research-based marketing and branding agency for the professional services industry:

‘Search listening is the process of using search engines like Google, Bing, or DuckDuckGo to learn more about any topic, from a personal problem to your target audience’s challenges and priorities.
In PR, you need to pay attention to two things: the news and what’s important to your audience. As your own company’s founder, you’re likely keeping an eye on both as well. Search listening gives you an idea of what people online want to know–or, what’s important to them–about any topic. This includes questions “people also ask”, the most widely read content, the top news stories, and related searches. There are several reasons why this information helps digital PR efforts.

First, search listening helps you monitor what’s being written or said and by whom about any topic, including what’s important to an audience. Second, this information gives hints about how you can distinguish your messaging from others. Third, the “top news stories” section identifies what’s trending and the outlets and reporters covering it–in other words, who you should build relationships with. Fourth, all this information combined with a differentiated message and point of view can help you to reach out to journalists and editors with expert commentary on breaking news they’re likely to cover, also known as newsjacking.

Some caution is advised. Google search data is no stand in for rigorous market research, something all businesses must do. The millions of people around the world doing research on any topic may not be representative of your target audience. Search results are a good overview of what content is out there and by whom. Even if you finetune your search with more keywords, you’re still retrieving information based on a large pool of Google users. Many of them likely lie outside your target audience’s zone.'”

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