In today’s 24/7 news cycle, staying on top of what’s going on is a Sisyphean task for companies, non-profit organizations, and industry groups (not to mention private citizens). Issue tracking is a nonstarter for many busy professionals — especially in fast-paced industries like tech. What about tracking policy issues and concepts that aren’t summarized by a quick three-word Google search, like “online content responsibility?” The bigger the players involved and the more complex an issue, the more time-consuming and tricky it is just to keep up. The minute you’ve got a handle on the conversation, it transforms into something unrecognizable. Back to the drawing board.

Finding influencers who write about these issues can also feel like nailing Jell-O to a tree. Who’s writing about my complicated topics? Which of their articles is getting traction on social media? Who has a bone to pick with my industry? What authors write favorably about my topics and might be interested in my pitch? These questions are tough enough to answer when your topic is niche. What if your industry is “tech” and your topic is “who’s responsible for content posted on social media?” Tracking big policy areas like these (and the people with influence) takes time and resources and we know how scarce both of those are. That’s why analyzing industry/topic-related news to locate influencers is something few companies have the bandwidth to do well — despite the potential rewards.

Wading through the melee is possible, though — with a plan. Recently, PublicRelay and a leading tech industry advisory group picked five hot technology-related topics and set out to get an idea of what was being written about them and who was doing the writing:

  • The effects of AI on job creation/destruction
  • Who is responsible for content posted online?
  • Use of the internet by terrorist/extremist groups
  • Hacking/online security breaches
  • Antitrust issues in the tech sector

Finding relevant articles to analyze is the first step. These topics are not simple, and cannot be summarized by a word or string of words. Human-assisted AI helps to quickly cull through the slew of media content published about the tech industry and isolate the most important coverage.

Next is the analysis of the coverage. This is where you answer questions like “who is writing negative articles about anti-trust law in the tech industry that are gaining traction on social media” or “are there new authors covering the effects of AI on job creation?”.

These answers not only help the association keep an accurate pulse on policy issues their members turn to them for but also inform their communications strategy. Insights around key media conversations that impact consumer and legislative stakeholder perceptions help them tailor an advocacy and influencer outreach strategy that gets results. These takeaways help bolster the association’s ongoing efforts to develop essential standards and ensure its members are heard on the Hill.

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