There are few things more frustrating for a writer than dealing with writer’s block for an assignment with a closely approaching deadline. It’s common to plan out blog and article topics well in advance to avoid situations where the writer is frantically searching for something to write about, but this method tends to focus on content that’s not time-sensitive. When you respond to a “Need Content Writer” ad you may be hesitant to take an assignment without a firmly defined topic, but you can alleviate many of those worries by delving into trending topics on social media to help find relevant. If you already have an evergreen topic selected for your project, it’s worth it to take a look at trending topics. If you find something good to work with, there’s no problem with pushing back planned blog deadlines to add something very timely in the queue. Your blog or article series will produce a better product if you allow for some fluidity in your content planning.
The Soul of Social Media
Everyone who uses hashtags on social media is actually participating in one of the largest-scale ongoing research projects conceived that answers what people are currently discussing. While cynical social media critics may argue that the majority of shared content on social platforms is a narcissistic face, trending topics stand out as quantifiable resources that provide substantial opportunity for writers. Twitter makes it so easy to see what’s trending based on hashtags with its Trends tool. You don’t even need an account to take advantage of Twitter’s data. However, these trends will require a little bit of research because the tags may not make sense without context. Facebook offers a more robust trend-tracking system on the news feed page. However, you need an account to access this feature. The tool breaks down trending topics into top political, sports, entertainment, and science and technology groups and organizes the data by topic instead of hashtags. It takes a minute or two to look through the trending tools on Facebook and Twitter for topic ideas, so it’s a worthwhile time investment. However, if nothing in the trends relates to your content topic, it’s better to stick to your existing game plan instead of forcing a trend into your theme. You may also want to check out Google Trends for similar information based on web traffic and web searches.
Newsjacking for the Greater Good
Newsjacking is the practice of identifying trending topics before they start trending or immediately after the trend starts with the intention of creating relevant content to the topic in order to draw in readers looking for more relevant information on breaking news. Basing blogs and articles on trending stories is like newsjacking without any credibility concerns. You’re not trying to hijack news coverage of an event simply to gain as much traffic as you can, but rather remain relevant to your audience in the face of current events. Therefore, it’s a safe bet that your trending-relevant content will perform better in social media sharing and search engine traffic because it’s appealing to an immediate concern of your target audience. Taking advantage of the trending traffic is a powerful way to introduce your content to a wider audience. It also helps with your site establishing a strong sense of topical authority because it means you’re analyzing current events as they’re happening and keeping your audience informed.
Dan S is a former news journalist turned web developer and freelance writer. He has a penchant for all things tech and believes the person using the machine is the most important element.