Your blogging style is up to you. I for one usually shy away from newly hot and trending topics for various reasons: firstly, I am not based in the USA and thus I am slow in learning what everyone says, secondly, seeing great coverage, I usually have hard time finding what to add.
And to tell you the truth, I come to realize this is a mistake. Trending topic coverage is GOLD. Oftentimes it never fails to engage existing readers and attract new ones no matter how well it has been covered before you.
Let me just share one personal example. Do you remember the time when Google started experimenting with “search within search” option allowing users to search within a popular site right from the initial SERPs? I didn’t cover the news but my guest blogger did: and voila! I had tons of comments, trackbacks and even CNN coverage (journalists always look for bloggers’ take on the trending topic)!
So no matter what your attitude towards blogging on what everyone blogs is, my advice would be: do it. Chances are that will bring you plenty of exposure, fans and links. The key of course is to make it right.
Now, how you actually track hot trends and choose the trending topic to cover is up to you, your niche and your purposes. Here’s a quick helpful list of resources that might help you choose the right tool to do that:
- Track Hot Trends With Twitter Tools (by me at SEJ, an old one actually but can still be applied);
- 7 Ways to Track Hot Trends on the Internet
The aim of this post is not to share how you spot the trends – it’s how you cover them:
Stand Out: Provide Fresh (Unexpected) Perspective
Just covering the news won’t give you much. It’s your personal take (and a catchy title summarizing it) that would make you famous. Re-blogging news is not worth your time or effort – you may be lucky enough to make it to Google News and pop up in general search for a few hours (if you are in indexed in Google news) – but that’s the maximum benefit you are likely to get (unless you were the first to cover the news which is almost impossible in today’s world of instant information exchange).
This is why your unique perspective and catchy representation would be your chance to win:
- Rant (if you are that type of the blogger which is good – I for one have never been good at ranting while plenty of people are building careers on ranting alone!)
- Pose a question (contradicting the overall opinion);
- Be sincere: your attempt to merely stand out by trying to arise artificial discussion would be noticed and mocked out. Do your homework: read lots of material, look for convincing examples, express your sincere point of view.
An example? With all that buzz around “Old Spice” commercials, a good contradiction would be a refresher. I am aware of only one article which instead of covering the campaign, posed a good question:
Time will show if this coverage will attract some media attention but I guess that was a worthwhile effort!
Link to Official Sources
I have a suspicion that that’s how that guest post I mentioned above got noticed (but pst! That’s a secret. The official story is that my blog is so awesome that CNN journalists read it regularly!): Rishil linked to the official post introducing the feature and the catchy title should have attracted eager minds who were looking for sources to cite in their own coverage:
So the killer tip here: ALWAYS link to the official source. Even if they don’t list trackbacks, chances are they will notice your unique coverage from their traffic sources.
Same goes about your retweeting your coverage, always “tag” the official Twitter account as the source for them to see your tweet.
3. Get the Maximum SEO Benefit
If you are not one of powerful niche blogs covering some hot topical news, you have few chances to land your coverage on the first page of Google (even if you were (one of) the first bloggers to cover it).
Getting a bit tricky in terms of keyword selection to name your coverage will increase your chances though. You won’t have to spend plenty of time researching which keywords people use to search for the news coverage. I suggest using just two free tools: Google Suggest and Google Insights.
Google Suggest accompanies your search, so it won’t take you long to check it out. However if you need to go a bit more indepth (which will also get you inspired and help find more articles covering the story), try using this simply genius tool: Ubersuggest – it does the following:
- Takes your base term and extracts Google suggestions for it,
- Then attaches each letter of the alphabet to your base term and extracts Google suggestions for those as well.
At the end you get dozens of terms starting with your base term: see this file for [Old Spice +] results: ~250 possible angles for your coverage!
Google Insights is another source of coverage inspiration as well as keyword selection and expansion assistant. It is very easy to use, just search for your base term and scroll down to the “Search terms” section:
Also, if you plan to use the tool more extensively, here’s a post on what Google Insights CANNOT do or cannot show.
Have you ever success with hot trend coverage? Please share your tips!
Post image is by key2day.blogspot.com
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Excellent tips (as always), Ann! My experience has been exactly the same as yours — the moment I blog about a hot trending topic, both the traffic and the social engagement boost through the roof.
BTW, where’s the “like” button? I want to “like” it, but can’t. 🙁
Oh right! Adding the button right now, Geno. Thanks! You can still share from the Apture bar above 🙂
“If you are not one of powerful niche blogs covering some hot topical news, you have few chances to land your coverage on the first page of Google”
I’d say that depends on the topic, Ann, and how SEO-savvy the writers are. For instance, I get people looking for info on the .co domain – you’d think that topic with its associated landrush etc would be hotly blogged by all the registrars offering it or domainers. Well, maybe, but I’m still getting traffic :). And I think it’s because most domainers are not really SEO savvy.
Oh, and I’m bookmarking the Ubersuggest tool! That’s HUGE! How do you always find out about these tools before everyone else :D?
I don’t go after trending topics but I think it’s worth a shot. It amazes me the Google has so many tools for finding keywords and I never know which one to use when. I’ll take your advice and give Insights a try. Ironically, I remember when Old Spice was the bomb! (I know I’m giving away my age.) But because I want to keep it’s scent sacred and stored away in my memory of boyfriends from the past, I haven’t read one word of this recent Old Spice story and I probably never will. HA!
Like you, I’ve never really tried this. But, this is really a good idea, like you said, if it is done right. One just have to find something that can make you stand out or be different from what everyone else is saying.
Thanks Ann for this helpful article! I didn’t know Ubersuggest, already bookmarked.
I’ve tried once but I’ve failed in the time of the post because I posted with 1 day of difference (for different hour times) and I lost the starting of the “avalanche”.
Later I was playing with Google and I saw a blogger that, with an article of few sentences, but correct keywords caught top 3 positions, even after several days and even over top news sources. Good for him.
Hence the correct time to post is also fundamental.
Thanks Ann for such a useful article. I try to cope with recent topics although my fault is that I only do it locally. Much worse, I fail to convey it through my blog, even though I give my opinion on certain matters.
Reading this post of yours is an eye opener. Thanks again and more power!
@Gab, finding new tools is actually my job 😉
And yes, if you are SEO-savvy you can get your coverage ranked high even if you are not an A-lister.
@Ileane, thanks for stopping by! Haven’t seen you at MBG for some time. How have you been?
@Andrew, glad you find this useful.
@Gera, that’s true: timing is important but I’ve never been good at timely spotting hot topics.
@Julius, I am happy you found the tips useful and worth a try!
So much to work for. Sort of complicated approach – maybe I couldn’t make it thru.
You can still play with Google’s QDF algo if you don’t have a ‘powerful’ blog, and get good results. Play with social media citations and manually build a couple of crap links to the post..it works 😉
Good article. This is what I am going to start trying to more often now. Not only to get some Google love, but to capture the attention of more readers. People like to read about the latest news, gossip, and entertainment, why not provide it?
Excellent advice that’s backed up by my own experience.
I find it easier if you can keep on top of what’s trending locally. I’ve got thousands of hits from people in the UK by blogging on stories that weren’t mentioned at all in the US.
Yeah, you say trending topic coverage. However, that draws many trendoids who follow the latest style and always want to be in.
Problem is you cannot build a biz on a fad – not for long anyway. That is because it will fizzle out and you are left with zero consumers. Try to sell pet rocks now, or better yet the cabbage patch kid dolls that people were once fighting over.
I have never given a try on that, but it really sounds interesting. Thanks for sharing those great Google tools for keyword research. They are also useful for many other seo related activities.
Yes..Blog posts on trending topics can yield you a lot of traffic. Recently I blogged on some trending topics during the 2010 WC and the traffic I got was really huge and mostly from Google.
Thanks to Ann for mentioning my Ubersuggest.
I’m pleased to have built something useful for the community. I’m collecting opinions and suggestions to improve the tool so if you spot a bug or have a request just let me know.
With Google’s new web indexing system Cafeine it has become more advantageous to those blogs/pages that have topics on recent things. And yes standing out of the crowd is one of the things a blogger should remember while blogging, say it is on the same topic or on a new one.
Awesome article. Love the technique of checking with insight. However how do you find the original source… that is sometimes a mystery to me.
Actually, that’s easy. I usually look for the official site or blog – there should always be any official statement about the news (even if they were not the first to share it publicly).
To find the official site, I search Google for [brand name] or [product name] (depending on what the topic is about. Google is very good at pulling the official website in top 5 for that query.
Wikipedia (which you may find in top 5 for that search as well) also always lists official pages at the bottom of the page.
Its amazing that sometimes the most simple things are the hardest to see. Thanks for the reply.
I liked your post. Trends are important to get ranked highly fast I think. My understanding (and it is far from complete)is that Caffiene will make this an even more important thing. So you are trending on a future trend towrd being trendy.
OK I am not sure that last piece even made sense. But thanks,
Great article. Yes we should provide latest news, article to related topics of your industry. This will really helps to make your readers come back.
I have the same problem of not living in the USA so I tend to get the news after everyone has already blogged about it! But seriously, great post, there’s some really good points in here for any blogger
Awesome tips for writing the blog.How choose the topic for your Blog because the content and the title are important part of the Blog.Tips for get the rank through good Blog are very nice Thanks for sharing the nice information.
thanks a lot for this helpful article
Great tip on linking to official sources Ann! I have, with my past client experiences, seen that one of two things for blogging really works (in terms of a choosing a topic) Either choose a trending topic to expand on or discover something new – added bonus if you update regularly.
Great post Ann. Thanks.
We’re alike in more than just name – living outside the US and thinking I do not having much to add, but most of my audience don’t follow the blogs and social media channels I follow so a lot of what I read would be new and still relevant to them. Also as my profile builds, I have more confidence that my take on a topic will be interesting to others.
I also find that I post so many little bits on Twitter and Facebook on a daily basis, that I should do a daily/weekly blog post pulling it all together, or hold off on some for a blog post instead.
I should write “Ranting As A Way Of Life.” I have always had a little apprehension about this – people seem to want pollyanna, positive, let’s-all-have-a-cluster-hug articles.
Anne, you are the second blogger at the top who has mentioned this. I need to give this more thought. Ranting without coming across as angry may be just the thing for me.
As usual, a great post – thanks.
If you ever write that thing, Hal, please be sure to guest post with it here. SEOsmarty is so in need of good old ranting I can’t do 🙂
And you would never believe how many people actually LOVE ranting (cough… Outspoken… cough), so you can actually succeed in it 🙂
Thank you Anne. I have some ideas floating around about a “rant” post. And I’d be honored to guest post for you.
Ana, I am from Ukraine – so we are kind of neighbors.
I am also native Russian (initially coming from the Crimea) 🙂
Thanks for this excellent post Ann! This is something that I have struggled with for a while. At times I have some good ideas but I don’t think they are ‘trendy’ and/or that others will find my posts worth coming back for. THEN I read someone else’s blog that writes about the same ideas I was considering and he/she gets 50+ comments! Of course by then I don’t put my own thoughts down lest it appear that I have copied his/her blog. Vicious cycle I suppose but your insights have definitely helped me. Thanks!
I like your post. and To find the official site, I search Google for [brand name] or [product name] (depending on what the topic is about. Google is very good at pulling the official website in top 5 for that query.
These are some good tips. That Ubersuggest tool is great. I found a lot of interesting ideas just playing around for a few minutes.
I agree with your views. I got lots of page views for topics like “Limewire is shutting down”, Winamp for Android” time to time.
I should have to agree with this article. Oftentimes, if we are a new blogger we are actually afraid to go with the flow merely because we are afraid to get some bad criticism. However, we do not realize that those new and trending topics are actually important since people for sure are interested with them.
I remember once I used a trending topic in the news to write a satire post on a political humour blog of mine. It ended up being the most popular and shared post I’d ever written on that site. I’m not sure it would have worked so well if it had not tickled people’s funny bone. Then again, if a person is a good writer, they can add a little humour to even the most mundane subject.
You’ve given some nice little tools which will be helpful in finding what is buzzing currently in the internet. Thank you Ann 🙂
I would go one step further. If you can spot something that has a high chance of becoming a trend, it is worth writing about it. The advantage is that it quickly becomes a secondary source that others link to as well.
Trending topics are also the easiest to get people to follow through social media, not merely through SEO. These are things people are already retweeting and such. It can turn into a nice little piece of linkbait if you position it correctly.
I didn’t know about Ubersuggest, quite a nifty tool. The right moment to post is also essential.
These tips are great. I agree, unique and fresh content is what many search engine especially Google likes more.
Great article. I used to shy away from trending topics believing they are kind of plagiarism but at a time I changed my thinking and made a post on a particular topic. Before I knew it, my post started ranking between #1 and #4 in Google search results. So I will continue but the problem now is knowing the hot trending topics.
Very interesting, thanks it helped me out to understand it.