07 Dec IDK 101: How to Navigate Learning About an Industry on the Job
By Nicole Caci
At LaunchSquad, we’re lucky to work with a diverse set of clients. Our expertise spans both consumer-facing and B2B clients in a variety of industries including technology, entertainment, finance, fashion, retail, and even quantum computing. It can be intimidating to grasp unique and nuanced concepts for new and seasoned PR professionals, alike. Below is a quick, but useful how-to guide for approaching an unfamiliar industry:
- Study up! Conduct background research on the industry to familiarize yourself with the space. Then take the time to find any and all publications that cover relevant news. Find – scratch that, make – the time to read whether that’s during a commute, in between other projects or before you go to sleep. You might need to put down your leisure read or only watch one episode of your favorite show to fully immerse yourself in industry news – but it’ll be worth it.
- Suss out the competition. When jumping into a new industry, a natural first instinct might be to learn everything about your client. Although that’s imperative to understand the work, it’ll be just as beneficial to research your client’s competitors. It will help you determine who holds market share and evaluate why. An evaluation of companies that have failed in the industry might also glean insights as you prepare to develop client PR strategies.
- Raise your hand. Feel empowered and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Even if your teammates seem to have a strong grasp of the concepts, it’s likely they had similar questions when they first started, too. You’re not alone. And your teammates have likely been there before. Consider expanding your reach outside of the client and agency too. For instance, it might be beneficial to check-in with a friend, a former classmate, or a colleague who works in the same industry as the new client.
- Just do it. It’s time to take a page out of Nike’s book. The absolute best way to learn anything new is by doing. Anticipate your team’s and client’s needs, and when asked for help, always be ready to say yes. Even if you think it’s out of your reach, you’ll learn best by diving right in and figuring it out as you go.
- Keep it up. Learning about the industry should never stop. Sign up for relevant newsletters, look out for key blogs, follow important influencers on social media and generally keep an eye out in your daily life. Continued learning is part of the job and more importantly, the key to success.