Whether its blogs, social networking, or news sites, the world of online news changes all the time. At one time, 15 minutes of fame sounded like an achievable goal. Today, we’re luck to get 15 seconds in the spotlight — which is more than sufficient in many online platforms. With this constantly changing landscape, how do you know what the “it” thing is? Identifying the next hot topic could be the perfect tool for content focus and optimization. Unfortunately, as you can imagine, that new “it” can be tough to pinpoint. If you spend time randomly scouring the internet, you’ll probably miss it. Try these sources first when searching for a topic.
Bear in mind that your story won’t be as easy to find as the ones that are featured on top sites. Unless you already have a solid following, you may not be able to get the word out about trending topics fast enough. Don’t despair, and don’t stop writing. Instead, make sure to work in an angle on your story that will still be relevant after the current fervor dies down. For instance, if you want to write about a hurricane that devastates New York City, consider including basic common-sense information about hurricane safety.
News sites offer one of the most common sources for hot topics. Look for the topics that most of the top news sites cover. Without fail, these topics are high on the popularity meter. You can cover a more serious subject like politics or the economy, or a fluff piece like celebrity gossip. No matter the subject, you will undoubtedly have a special perspective on the topic. You can always find something new to say.
Keyword research helps determine public interest in a specific topic. Using tools like the Google AdWords keyword tool, you will be able to study keywords. Get a sense of the number of people searching for that keyword, versus how many currently pay for advertising on those keywords. You can also identify keywords and key phrases by looking at “hot searches.”
Consumer Research Rankings
Product reviewers and third-person sales representatives have definite interest in the next hot product. Whatever the nature of the product, you will need to understand consumer trends and interests. Consumer information can be found at sites like ComScore. ComScore provides industry rankings and consumer data. It ranks products and services, and can alert you to the newest trends in virtually any marketplace.
Google Trends offers a great tool for consumer trend data. The data provided by Google Trends drills down into minute detail. Study data by city or country, or look for the most popular keywords and topic searches. You can also use this tool to examine how topics trend over time. Google Trends is easy to use, and the ability to tweak different metrics can help you research your unique angle.
The next hot topic is, put simply, the one about which everyone is talking. What better place to read what’s “buzzing” than a social media site? Explore as many social networking and social media sites as possible. Follow celebrities and thought leaders on Twitter. What do they consider tweet-worthy? Check topics that are “liked” on Facebook, or that are going viral through friends sharing. What stories are popular on Yahoo Buzz? The next hot topic is just a click away on these social media sites. You can’t spend all your time searching for new trends. Look through a few of these resources, and you will be able to quickly and easily identify those hot topics. Not only will you stay informed, you’ll probably also have fun doing it.