What are the trends for writing? It is something I have explored for some time now. A continuing topic of research. Every writer desires to publish a viral post read by millions, but few people have it. Knowing the trends for writing, in your subject areas, can help you acquire more readers.
What is Trending on the Web?
This is such an important question for writers to ask. What is trending on the web? I did a search and found a few trending titles on days when I was researching this topic:
- Baby! Hippo! Takes! Shower!
- Watch This Guy Remove His Socks With a Rocket Launcher
- Build A Chocolate Bar And We’ll Reveal How Mature You Are
- Elmo Gets FIRED (PARODY)
- 24 Heinous “Looks” Every ‘00s Girl Tried For A Bit
- Rally Racer Still Wins After His Car Flips
- The worst crimes against pizza, from pineapple to mayo
- Pick A Door And We’ll Reveal Which Fictional World You Belong In
Would you write about any of these topics? Maybe you are not interested in any these, or maybe they compel you to write on one particular topic. I still question the wisdom of removing socks with a rocket launcher though. The point is that sometimes trending topics can help you decide what to write next, especially for one of your specialities.
If you are looking for general trends there are a number of sites that can help, including:
- Google Trends (but this only tells you topics trending for Adserve)
- TechCrunch, if your interest is technology.
- McKinsey, if your interests are financial.
- The Economist, for business and finance.
Are you at the starting line? How do you stay current with everything that is going on in your specialist area? Fortunately you can get Google to help you by asking what is trending in your speciality. Personally, I am interested in the development of Artificial Intelligence, so I have many times asked Google the question “What is trending in artificial intelligence?” Most industries have trend watchers, people dedicated to finding out the latest and greatest advances and following them from everything from mere rumour through to product development. Stay current. But temper what you find with your own common sense.
You should find many results listed. If this is a subject you intend to write about it is also important you ask “what can I add?” Answer this and it is possible to recognise both the areas that are important to readers and what you can offer. When these intersect your readership should take off. Well that is the theory at least.
In 2016, when the Rio de Janeiro Olympics was the biggest thing on the planet did your site reflect the buzz generated by the competition? Looking forward to 2018 when the FIFA World Cup becomes the world focus will your site be part of the buzz generated at that time?
Let me be clear — it is not possible for every site to tap into the buzz of such events, but it could be an important driver for readership for your site. Perhaps your industry, or your employer, has a special interest. Maybe you make specialist equipment used by participants, is that relevant? It could be. Perhaps you have a funny story to tell. Perhaps you know a participant. There are so many possibilities. Sometimes we find the weirdest connections. It may be of interest to some perspective readers and give an opportunity to grow your readership.
When other events, like the Oscars, or Grammy Awards, happen are there things you can do to link into the buzz generated? Your industry probably has its events that happen at certain times of the year. Do you need to showcase what you are doing, or join the conversation around those events?
Thinking about events in advance can help you prepare your material so that it is ready for publication in a timely manner.
Trends for Writing?
The first question here is how to recognise the trends for writing? The starting point:
- Subscribe to trendy blogs, news sites and social profiles.
- Check out the ‘trending’ sections on social networks.
- Set up notifications for keywords.
Those trendy blogs, specialist news sites and social profiles of people involved can give you some idea of the thinking of those involved. Follow these sites on Twitter and other social media channels. Search for the things they write or tweet about regularly.
The following posts may each offer some assistance:
- In How to Turn Trending Topics Into Incredible Blog Posts, Matt Banner details many resources you can use to inspire your next post.
- Blair Strasser has provided a guest post on ProBlogger called 8 Ways to Find Trending Topics and Key Words about this. He introduces a site called SocialMention that searches for mentions of topics you may be interested in.
- How to Write Content for Trending Topics without Being Spammy by Pratik Dholakiya suggest a variety of places you can look for topics you are interested in. He also shares the formula Content = Message + Hook + Structure + Passion.
- In How to Find Trending Topics to Write About on Your Blog on Advertise World says “don’t get caught in the trap of non-specific content”. One of the goals is to get people talking. It is a question of what value you can add.
Please make sure that you distinguish between content that is trending and advertising material that is trending. Many times advertising follows normal trends but there are times when it moves in a different direction altogether, hence the cautionary words about Google Trends above.
Ahead of the Curve
The biggest challenge for writers is to stay ahead of the curve, give yourself time to prepare your material so you are ready when an event occurs. If you are writing about the speakers at the next industry conference, find out who is speaking, their specialities, their background etc. Without stalking them, you can download the social profiles and follow them to see their tweets. The more research you do beforehand the more ready you are at the event.
One example of this is newspaper obituary writers will follow certain celebrities, even teen stars. One obituary writer once told me he had a column ready which is up-to-date, and only needs the final, sad details, included to be ready to publish. He had articles on hundreds of people already penned, they had to be regularly updated, for example if they were hospitalised, or had a baby etc. Many were completely rewritten as the course of their career changed. This consistent research was his way of being ready for the inevitable.
Related Material on GobbledeGoox
GobbledeGoox covers many subjects related to writing, blogging, words, and word-craft. Here are some that relate to the subject of trends:
- Accusations and Allegations – Are you Writing Responsibly?
- Web based Articles: Make Your Writing Timeless
- Hate Facebook? 9 Ways it can Build Blog Traffic!
- Tantalizing Titles: Getting into the Reader’s Mind
Buy Peter B. Giblett a coffee as a thank you for discussing this subject. If you have questions then please ask them via a comment. The images included here are from royalty free public domain image collections, photographs from Pixabay, or from Peter Giblett’s personal collection.