The challenge you face as a content marketer is three fold. Not only should the topic interest the audience and add value, but it should also get easily discovered.
One way to nail it lies in identifying the trends and publishing content (blog posts, or any other form of content) related to that. I mean, when everybody is already talking about a trend that has taken the market by storm, creating content based on it will definitely give more visibility. Especially, when you are one of the first few to bring out relevant content in that area.
The challenge lies however, in finding such trends- before it becomes too saturated! If you are asking yourself “where do I find such trends at the right time?!” this post is for you.
The best place to start for identifying the top trends across the world, would be by checking the news. Google news, offline and online news channels and even news on social media (like Twitter and Facebook) can all give you great insights on what exactly the public is interested in. Hashtags on social media are pretty powerful, as you well know.
You cannot definitely do it all manually. But, there’s technology at your fingertips. Here are a few tools that you can use:
Lets you type in a search term and shows you its search trends across time. The best part is that you can also compare it with other keywords you have in mind to see which one is more talked about or suitable. For example: you can check the trends for “Inbound marketing” and “Marketing automation”, find out which one has garnered more attention in the past, which term is likely to become talked about in future (there is a “forecast” button that tells you that info) and then decide accordingly.
Google trends can also map it across regions. So, if you want to develop content specific for a particular region, you can check the increasing popularity of a particular topic in that region and then structure your content accordingly.
Delivers the latest happenings in a particular field (that you specify) right to your inbox. If you happen to be interested in “Real Estate News in Bangalore”, then simply go ahead create an alert for the same. You can manage the frequency of updates and the geographic area, according to your requirements.
The Google alert page looks something like this:
So go ahead – create an alert and get happening content delivered right to your inbox!
Is an excellent tool that tells you what kind of content is trending. It in fact, goes one step further and tells you the key influencers for a particular topic and their social media clout.
A useful way to track hashtags across social media.
As you can see, not only does it list the top posts, it also tells you the number of posts within a particular time and the reach and impressions gained! A very useful tool indeed!
You can use it to give you an idea of the topic you decide – whether it is indeed trending and who is writing about it.
Now comes the paid tool. If you are interested in finding out what the public is saying about a particular term, then this is the one to use! It gives you a complete overview, across channels on how the term is mentioned. It is also popularly used by brands to find out what is being said about them by the populace.
For eg. this snapshot shows how LeadSquared has been mentioned across channels.
Not all trending news will be of relevance to you. For e.g. real estate trends in Japan might not make sense to an indigenous realty owner who focuses only on the internal market. On the other hand, happenings in Japan are definitely pertinent to someone in the Travel and Hospitality Industry. Identifying what kind of information is relevant and how it could be used is also something you have to give considerable amount of thought to.
How to use these trends?
To add value by suitably tweaking your offering
Staying updated is not just relevant for creating content. It’s important to help you tweak your offerings as well.
Take the recent example of how brilliantly Ola used it recently. It began with simple jokes on Twitter and Facebook on how due to the Chennai rains, one has to book an Ola boat. Within a matter of hours, it became a trending topic, with memes and wisecracks splashed across the social media. Now, smart chaps at Ola come up with the idea of actually launching a boat service – boats that help in the flood relief operation, complete with Ola logo and umbrellas. That my friend is how powerful social media can be!
And also, you know that as businesses, providing value to customers is at the heart of everything we do.
So, this is also a wonderful example of how exactly to use the kind of information that you get. Ola could have easily made a couple of witty remarks to the posts. Instead, they used this opportunity to bring actual value to people, when it was most needed, that built them enormous amount of goodwill (and also made a difference to the relief efforts).
Coming back to the online turf, these trends can be harnessed in a totally different way too.
To create content
Placement Ads on Google and Social media, content sharing through blogs and videos and even participating in discussions to give your opinion are all effective methods.
However, don’t try to hop on to any trend to promote your service. The wrong tone or latching onto a trend related to a sensitive issue can be disastrous for your brand.
Remember the 2014 soccer world cup? That was when Luis Suarez bit an Italian soccer player. Now, at the outset, it seems like a news update for sport fans – something that might not be relevant to businesses. Snickers proved otherwise! They put up an ad claiming “Bite into Snickers – tastier than Italians” and Trident chewing gum said “Chew Trident, not soccer players”.
The reason I spoke about this is because it is very different from the Ola example above – the event was totally unrelated to the business. Yet, marketing guys found a way! I had no idea that a gum called Trident existed, until that day (visibility win!). Already being a fan of Snickers, I thought about this ad the next time I saw it in the supermarket. I didn’t hesitate to pop it in my cart (repeat sales!). To be frank, had I seen Trident gum nearby, it would have gone in too.
Here is how some other brands used it:
Learn also to predict a few trends. The “Back to school” or “Exam results” trends are two popular ones to keep an eye out for. For IT services, it is “new technology”. Take the Facebook LeadAds for example. Within a few weeks of Facebook rolling out its LeadAds update, all CRMs and marketing automation tools (ahem, even LeadSquared) had come up with that integration! Blogs were written about it, videos made on how to use it and you could even see ads for software that have introduced that update!
How you use the popular trends is limited only by your creativity (and common sense). Keeping up with trends is not just to drive traffic (for sometimes, you get totally irrelevant traffic). It is to catch the wavering attention of the fickle audience! When you emerge as an automatic thought leader, you gain popularity, build credibility and develop the trust of your audience… that is one less hassle for your sales team to deal with.