How to Find Trending Blog Topics Your Audience Will Actually Care About

blog topics

Jayson DeMers is the founder and CEO of AudienceBloom, a Seattle-based content marketing and social media agency. You can contact him on LinkedIn, Google+ or Twitter.

Do any of the following apply to you?

  • You thought your audience would be excited by your latest blog post, and yet it only gets a handful of likes and shares.
  • You choose your blog topics based on what you think your readers want, and yet only a few of them even click through to read it.
  • You sometimes feel like giving up because you can’t afford to keep writing blog posts that no one reads.

If any of these sound familiar, you’re not alone. Too many business owners invest time and resources into creating amazing content – only to have it fall on deaf ears. If you know that your content is well-written, that it adds something new to the conversation and that you’re promoting it effectively; the problem is likely what you’re writing about.

On-site blog content is a fundamental aspect of SEO and content marketing, and is one of the three pillars of SEO. Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can find out what topics your audience actually cares about. Following are five strategies you can use to find trending topics in your industry or niche; topics that your website visitors will love to read, share and comment on.

I’m going to skip the more basic strategies like checking your website analytics, signing up for Google Alerts and polling your readers, though these can be very effective as well.

1. Don’t Overlook Reddit.
The first thing you’ll want to do if you haven’t already is to subscribe to relevant subreddits in your niche.

So, if I ran a parenting site for instance, I may want to subscribe to subreddits like Parenting, Babies, Raising Kids and Mommit.

It can be tricky to find relevant subreddits unless you know exactly what you’re looking for. One tool that can make your search easier is SubReddit Finder.

Once you’ve spent a number of days watching which topics seem to strike a nerve, it’s time to create your own content playing off the most popular topics or themes.

2. Facebook Interest Lists = Easy Access to Popular Topical Content.
If you’re not already segmenting your newsfeed into interest lists, you’re missing out. Interest lists give you a way to quickly and easily sort and filter the reams of content passing through your newsfeed every hour.

By adding influential people and pages to industry-specific lists, you’ll always know what’s going on in your industry.  For instance, if you notice many popular posts on a particular theme, you may want to add your voice to the conversation by writing a response post. Or if you get wind of any breaking news, you can be one of the first to share it with your audience.

Be sure to create lists based on not just what interests you, but also on what interests your fans. To see which pages your Facebook fans like, go to Graph Search and type in the following:

Pages liked by people who like ________ (inserting your page name).

This will give you a list of pages your fans like and follow, which you can then add to an interest list to keep apprised of topics and issues your fans care about.

3. Social Media Trending Topics Let You Know What Your Followers Are Talking About.
If you want to find out what your friends and followers are talking about on social media, it pays to keep an eye on Trending Topics.

All the major players – including Facebook, Twitter and Google+ – give you access to trending topics.

Tip3To find these short, real-time lists of popular topics you just have to know where to look: For Facebook, look just to the right of your newsfeed; for Twitter, check out the left sidebar; and in Google Plus, click on the ‘Explore’ tab.        
These lists are automatically generated, giving you timely information regarding what your fans, friends and followers are currently discussing.        
For more about social media trend features, see the article, Facebook Rolls Out New Trending Posts Feature.

4. Use Quora to Find Popular Questions.
Quora allows you to search for questions their users have asked related to specific topics. And because Quora users can vote on which questions they find most pressing and relevant, you can get a feel for how popular the topic will be.

For instance, if I type in ‘social media’, I get the following results:

tip4

From this one simple search, you can clearly see that social media ROI is an important issue, and one that may be worth pursuing. At this point you can simply write a blog post based on what you’ve found, or you can go ahead and actually answer the question for some added publicity.

5. Keep an Eye on Your RSS Feeds to Find Industry-Wide Trends.
If you’re selective about which feeds you subscribe to – meaning you only subscribe to the best, most influential and popular blogs – you can feel pretty confident that you’re on top of the most important trends in your industry.

When you follow only a few sites, it can be difficult to gauge what’s ‘trending’; however, if you have 20-30 sites you subscribe to, popular topics start to jump out at you.

For our purposes, you don’t even need to actually read all the posts: simply scan through the headlines to see if you notice any common themes or breaking news. You may also want to consider subscribing to comment feeds on some of the most popular or relevant posts so you can keep on eye on related questions or feedback the post inspires.

Conclusion
Using the 5 strategies above will give you a great start at finding topics that are trending in your industry; but keep in mind your goal isn’t just to simply rehash the same old content that everyone else is talking about.

Put an original spin on the topic, and think about what you can add to the conversation based on your own knowledge and experience. This will ensure you’re not just adding ‘noise’ to the discussion, but actually making a meaningful contribution.

What other strategies do you have for finding trending topics for your blog posts? Which ones have I missed? Let me know in the comments below.

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