How to predict trending topics ahead of your competitors


News agenda

The news agenda often has an impact on future content trends and is therefore great for spotting upcoming themes. If we take recent times, for example, a health pandemic perpetuating the news has led to an increase in knock-on effect topics such as mental health, working remotely and home exercising. Using these insights, it’s possible to have an educated inkling of what people would like to read about next to guide your strategy in the right direction.

Social media

The first step in researching and finding topic ideas through social media is joining platforms and following relevant people and businesses. As many topics are broken down and discussed on social media first, you should be active on them. As it can become overwhelming at times, I advise utilising a management tool such as Hootsuite in which you can curate different feeds and organise to suit your needs.

Social media can also be used like Google Trends as some of the most prominent platforms have trending sections. My personal favourite is Twitter as I’m able to follow topics and find out what people are saying in real-time. However, the preferred social channels of your audience should be prioritised.

Twitter favourite topics

Conducting social media research and understanding the conversations of my client’s audience allows me to create fulfilling content as early as possible.

Google Trends

Aggregating Google search, news and YouTube, Trends gives you a 360 view on what is trending on the web – assisting you with brand new article topics. It’s free to use and provides you with interest patterns over time, geographical breakdowns and related queries, which allow for further context and understanding of search intent. Let’s look at ‘home workouts’, for example:

Google Trends home workout

Having seen an increase in people turning to home workouts during the lockdown, one of our leisure clients wanted to gain insight into the specifics of which home workout content people were seeking. While Keyword Planner updates monthly, Google Trends helped to identify which workouts had increased as of very recently, in line with the pandemic.

From the above, we knew to create content around arm and back exercises as it would suit the needs of those interested in home workouts.

As well as searching for specific terms, the Google Trends homepage also provides recently trending searches and their uplift on a global scale.

Quora and Reddit

Quora will supply you with the questions people want answered, while Reddit shows the topics people are talking about. I think of them as real-time ‘Answer the Public’ tools with additional insights such as the popularity of the query, responses, and related asks. All of which should assist in producing new and meaningful content to satisfy searchers.

To get the best out of these boards, join communities and engage with users. It’s a great place for researching and gaining understanding.

BuzzSumo

The ‘Discover’ section of BuzzSumo is great in many ways. Similar to Google Trends, the ‘Trending’ page provides trending topics but from trusted publications as opposed to search.

‘Discover Topics’ goes a step further by creating a word cloud based on a topic of your choice using those publications. In other words, the word cloud is reflective of the amount of content that is being published in your area of interest.

BuzzSumo home workout wordcloud of topics

Cross-referencing breakout topics in Google Trends with your BuzzSumo content research identifies blind spots. For example, Google Trends revealed arms and back home workouts are of public interest, but this demand is not being met looking at the quantity of content being created; this makes for a valuable article opportunity.

If in your case it does appear on the word cloud, clicking through will allow you to look into further topic insights such as the number of articles published and engagements over time, example content and their engagements, related keywords and questions from boards such as Quora and Reddit.


What are your tips for article research and creating novel content? Share your additional suggestions in the comment section below.



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