How much attention do you pay to what goes on in your industry? Do you have a variety of sources for information, or do you depend on one or two people who always know what’s going on? Or, do you not pay attention to the bigger industry you work in and just feel your way forward in your career?
The internet offers a lot of information about almost every industry. Here’s how to get at the best information about your industry. It’s mostly about knowing how to search. When I’m trying to find information, one tactic is to look online for people who already know what I want to know. My theory is, let someone else give me the wisdom I”m after.
Here’s how I usually start. I’ve learned that “search operators” are very helpful. There’s a complex Boolean system of operators, but I don’t usually use that. I’ve collected my own keyword search operators. Let’s say I want to know what’s going on in the shoe industry. Here’s how I’d go about searching for information. First I’d want to know if there are any blog writers that provide information about the shoe industry. I’d do a Google search for “best shoe industry blogs.” The word “best” is an operator that helps me get what I’m after and the word blog is also an operator. Here’s what comes up for that search:
There are blogs for the shoe industry and in fact, someone has already selected and rated some of them. Notice the fifth entry down the page is titled, “7 Best Shoe Blogs.” That’s the first entry that catches my eye. It also says “Fashion – allwomentalk,” which means those blogs will only tell me about women s fashion shoes. That’s part of the shoe industry, but the first entry at the top of the page gives me another part of the industry: running shoes. At the seventh slot there’s an entry for “The Shoe Snob Blog” and that may provide more general coverage about the shoe industry.
With one search I have three good sources of information about the shoe industry. I got those sources by simply adding the two operators: “best” and “blog” to the industry I’m interested in. It will probably take me half an hour to an hour of skimming and reading in these sources in order to begin to get a feel for what’s going on in the shoe industry, but that’s not much time to get updated about an industry.
The point is, that by using simple searches there’s a lot of information available for most industries and its provided by people who spend lots of time, sometimes a whole career, in that industry. These simple searches can work for you too. It’s helpful to know what’s going on in your industry, and there are more search tricks to help you dig out that information.
I’ll stick with the shoe industry, simply because that’s where I started, but you pick whatever industry is most important to your career. After you’ve studied the first page you could go to the second or third page of the search and see if there’s something of interest a little further back in the results, but let’s not overlook what Google offers as advice. Notice when you look at the bottom of the first search page that Google offers “Searches related to best shoe industry blogs. There are eight suggestions for similar search terms that might yield more sources. It’s always worth a look if I don’t find enough of what I want with my first search terms.
Finally, by going to the blogs I’ve identified as good sources for information I can do a search in the blog’s search window for more specific information. So, if I go to The Shoe Snob Blog, I find the search window in the sidebar and enter the search term “shoe industry” I may find much more specific information.
You can see below that there is in fact an interview of a shoe designer from London who speaks about a gap in the market that he filled – that is industry information. So that’s the process. I find it very workable in any industry. By searching with operators to find the best blogs and then searching within those blogs I can usually get very specific information and opinions about any industry. You can too.