Three Steps to Identify Trending Content

Content Marketing


A typical day in the life of a content marketer is somewhat like this: get into work, log in, grab a cup of coffee and, on a good day, get straight down to business to create top trending content that grabs thousands of eyeballs. On a bad day, you’ll often find us tearing out our hair, trying to figure out what makes for content that people actually want to read. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

The trick is to take off your marketing hat and think like a consumer while brainstorming for relevant content. This seems counter-intuitive, but if you take a step back, you’ll see that people really want to read about things they care about or more often than not: top trending topics. That is the (not so) secret behind creating content that converts.

Then there’s the small matter of finding content that’s relevant to your industry—and the near-constant influx of content on every social channel doesn’t always help matters. So, what do you do? More importantly, how do you ride the wave of a top trending topic before it starts trending? We all know serious content production can’t really happen overnight. In this blog, I’ll share three easy steps to identify trending content.

Step 1: Use Your Audience

The first step is to find out where your audience hangs out. Is it Reddit? Is it Twitter? Imgur? While looking for top trending content, it’s essential to bring all the knowledge you have about your audience to the table and use every bit of it. That’s what Asos did for their Winter 2012 campaign which won them a —one of the highest honors that can be bestowed upon advertisers and marketers—and additionally, a cool £5m in sales. They were well aware that the process of “getting ready” was a big deal for their target audience and they harnessed this fact to draft a highly successful campaign.

Best Night Ever

We can’t all be Asos, but we definitely know where to look for information that can help us formulate campaigns that do wonders for our business.

There are several free social media monitoring tools online that you can use to find ideas for content such as Google Trends, RiteTag, and TweetDeck. At Talkwalker, we use our very own Free Social Search tool to identify trending topics that have the potential of becoming the next big thing for our target audience.

Let’s take a look at another brand, Anastasia Beverly Hills for example. This makeup brand has an outstanding social authority and a bunch of top trending hashtags for the makeup/cosmetics category. If I’m looking to find the next prominent hashtag or marketing campaign, I can do a quick search on my own hashtag, in this case: #anastasiabeverlyhills.

Anastasia Beverly Hills

I can scroll down to related topics and identify a couple of emerging hashtags—in this case, #wakeupandmakeup and #makeupartist—and draft my next marketing campaign based on my findings. I can also target Instagram as my primary marketing channel because 97.5% of my social activity is happening there.

Voila! I have now outsourced my content brainstorming to my audience.

Step 2: Stay Relevant, Stay (Top) Trending

The most important thing to keep in mind when drafting a piece of content is relevance. It’s vital to understand the difference between what customers want to read and what we, as marketers, think they want to read. Lines get blurry after several rounds of editing which in the end produces content that doesn’t add value to the readers’ lives and most definitely doesn’t make it to the top trending category. Most readers really just want to read content that is useful—something they can apply in their daily lives or even better, their   Airbnb understood this and used it in their brilliant #livethere campaign from last year. They leveraged the fact that the millennial traveler doesn’t just want to tick things off their bucket lists—they want to experience a place like a local when they visit it.

Thus, Airbnb Experiences was born.

Note that Airbnb didn’t launch Experiences until last year—illustrating that timing (and relevance) really is everything.

Step 3: Keep it Simple

Content should be easily digestible. Period. You want to make sure that people don’t have to re-read sentences and paragraphs to make sense of what you’re trying to say. It works even better if you’re able to present your information in a relatable and humorous manner. You want your readers to be nodding along to your content as they read it because that’s what’s going to ensure that they keep reading till the end, and click on that CTA button you strategically placed. For a good example of this, take a page out of Kissmetrics’ book—not only is their blog content informative, but it’s also easy to understand and is genuinely useful for anyone who wants to learn more about marketing. They leverage the importance of segmenting and targeting your audience. Their content flows like a conversation, and unless you’re very, very sleepy, chances are you won’t stop reading, even though it’s long.

For an example of keeping it simple, that relates back to my first example for Anastasia Beverly Hills, something along the lines of a 2-3 minute #wakeupandmakeup brow challenge for make-up artists would be a good option.

Once you’ve figured out what the next big viral wave and top trending topic(s) could be and have designed your content and campaigns around it, it’s vital that you keep riding it until it dies down. This means outreach and influencer marketing should be added to your strategy as well. After all, content is only as good as the number of eyeballs it grabs, and a little help from influencers combined with lots of tracking and analysis doesn’t hurt.

Ultimately, good content and a high converting blog boil down to just two things: identifying top trending topics that your readers are talking about (or are likely to talk about shortly) and delivering crisp, informative content that resonates with them.

Do you have a formula for identifying trending topics? I’d love to hear in the comments below.

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