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15 Tools to Help You Find Trending Topics

Trending Topics
Photo: searchenginejournal.com

Trending topics are often the lifeblood of any website looking to grow and increase traffic. By covering such topics, website operators give themselves a far greater chance of reaching a wider audience.

You probably already know all of that. Instead, the question you’re probably asking is “How do you find those trending topics in the first place?” We’d even go so far as to say that’s the question which sometimes keeps you up at night.

That’s what we’re going to help you with today. While it may seem easy to just write about what everyone is talking about, the truth of the matter is that effectively identifying and covering trending topics often requires the help of these incredible tools.

Google Trends

Despite an array of alternatives, Google Trends remains one of the best ways to find trending topics.

The beauty of Google Trends is that it’s based on Google’s internal reports. That means that it gives you a direct view of what people are looking for. Given how much of your traffic will eventually come through Google, that is invaluable information.

The downside is that Google Trends can be a bit “slow.” By that, we mean that it’s not always the best way to keep up with ongoing and newly emerging trends. For that information, you’re going to have to use a combination of other sources.

BuzzSumo

BuzzSumo helps you find trending topics based on social media shares. By that, we mean Facebook shares, retweets, and other internal forms of social media content sharing.

Basically, you start by entering a keyword, domain, or similar piece of information into the BuzzSumo website. From there, the website generates a report that shows you how many shares whatever you entered has across multiple social media websites.

Many people feel that social media engagement is one of the best ways to measure the value of a topic. If nothing else, this service can offer a snapshot of things that people are currently talking about.

Quora

Quora is basically a community-driven knowledgebase. It helps people create information feeds tailored to them while requesting information from users.

How does that help you find trending topics? Well, Quora also lets users search for top trending stories across various user accounts. This helps show you which topics are the most popular among users with differing interests. Find one of those topics, and you should have something that will reach a wide audience.

While it’s not the most useful tool by itself, this is one of those options that often gives an accurate indication of what people are truly interested in.

Reddit

Technically, any social media website could give you information on trending topics. However, there are a couple of elements that set Reddit apart.

The first is the site’s upvote system. Content doesn’t reach the top of a Reddit page unless it’s upvoted there, so you can rest assured that the site’s top topics are actively engaging. The second is a variety of pages that let you search for smaller topics your site may focus on.

Few sites allow you to view as many different types of conversations at once as Reddit does. The fact that the site organizes all of those conversations by degrees of popularity makes it that much more effective.

Feedly

Years ago, Google ran a “Reader” tool that published RSS aggregated content feeds. It was one of the best ways to get Google to essentially auto-generate a report of trending topics. Unfortunately, that service was discontinued.

Fortunately, Feedly offers a relatively similar replacement. Feedly asks you for subjects that interest you then scans the web to regularly keep you updated on stories that feature those subjects. If you enter a more “generic” topic, you should get a clear idea of what’s new in that particular field.

Feedly is a lot like Reddit in that respect, but it gives you a little more information on what the competition is up to. It also helps you stay on top of new stories as they emerge.

Twitter

As we said, you can technically use any social media website to search for trending topics. However, the nature of Twitter’s functionality makes it somewhat special in that respect.

More than many other websites, Twitter is all about what’s trending. They even show you all the topics that are currently trending based on your region, interests, and other information. A simple glance at Twitter will show you what millions of people are talking about. A deeper dive into the service’s information can reveal new topics that you can be among the first to cover.

Like many of the other services on this list, you can’t solely rely on Twitter for trends. That being said, it’s absolutely one of the best options in terms of social media.

Social Mention

Social Mention functions somewhat similarly to BuzzSumo. That is to say that it combs social media (and other platforms) in order to show you shared and discussed topics.

However, Social Mention offers so much more than that. For instance, it will not only show you trending topics but will measure how engaged people really are in them. It can even give you a better idea of who, exactly, is talking about.

Social Mention does a great job of breaking down those topics. That gives you a better idea of who is actually having these conversations and will reveal people you can follow in order to stay on top of any topic.ng down various sources in order to offer simple metrics on top trending subjects.

Keyhole

Do you want to monitor social media trends but don’t have the time to do so manually? Keyhole is the solution that you’ve been looking for.

Keyhole is basically a version of Google Alerts that focuses on social media. It allows you to monitor things like hashtags for whatever terms you may wish to keep an eye on. What’s really interesting is that the service lets you watch that information arrive in real-time.

The most obvious use for Keyhole is to follow trending topics in your field, but that’s not its only functionality. You can also use it to monitor your own topics and social media campaigns in order to better follow their progress.

Keyword IO

The thing about most trending topic tools is that they require you to already have a topic in mind. What if you don’t really know what you’re looking for, though?

That’s where Keyword IO can help. The free version of this tool lets you choose a search engine and geographic location. From there, it generates a list of keywords sorted alphabetically. You can narrow down your search further via the service’s options, while the premium edition lets you access more advanced metrics.

It’s ok if you don’t know where to start your trending topics search, but it’s not ok to do nothing about that. This is one of the better ways to find a place to start.

Ahrefs

We should warn you now that Ahrefs is really only for serious, professional users. There’s not really a free version of the service, so you’re going to have to pay if you want to take advantage of what it has to offer.

So what does it have to offer? Well, in terms of trending topics, pretty much everything you could ever want. Ahrefs is basically a search engine with built-in metrics and analysis tools. You type in whatever you’re searching for, and Ahrefs shows you how that topic is performing in terms of trends.

On top of that, Ahrefs offers advanced metrics such as backlink analysis. Unlike so many of the other tools we’re talking about, this one is really all that you could ever need. Again, though, you have to pay for that level of service.

TrendSpottr

Like Ahrefs, TrendSpottr is a premium trending topics tool. It’s also one that offers so many features that we’d argue you could eventually learn to solely rely on it.

Where TrendSpottr separates itself is through its real-time features. This service utilizes a variety of tools to help you monitor ongoing trends and other relevant information. More importantly, it is able to comb available information in order to find emerging trends before you can spot them. This software is even capable of making predictions on future trends based on available information.

While it’s true that this is far from a perfect platform, it offers more than you could ever hope to get from competing services. Certainly consider it if you want to stay on top of the ever-changing world of content.

Medium

On the surface, Medium is yet another blog website. As such, you may have a hard time understanding what it can really do for you in terms of identifying trending topics.

The answers to your questions can be found in Medium’s “popular” section. This area combs through the entirety of Medium in order to find the most popular posts and topics. Even if you don’t dive too deep into that information, a quick glance will show you things people are talking about.

However, the true beauty of Medium is that it does let you dive deep. Many popular Medium posts are more than just a 300-word look at what’s happening. They’re deeper dives into bigger topics. If the average reader is engaged in that level of content, that demonstrates a level of interest that goes beyond a click.

Top Market Websites

You may think that it’s a bad idea to look to other websites in your field for content ideas. There’s a degree to which that is true. You don’t just want to forever chase another website, and you certainly don’t want to copy content.

Yet, the truth of the matter is that there’s always a bigger fish. By monitoring the top websites in your field, you can get a better idea of what outlets with more resources than you are choosing to cover. It’s one of the most practical ways for a smaller website to engage with real-time feedback on trending topics. You even get to see how visitors react to those topics. No other analytical tool is going to give you that level of real info.

The obvious catch here is that you’re not necessarily going to get far ahead fast simply by relying on this tactic. All the same, every smaller website needs to be paying attention to the top sites in their market. It’s essential to study what works for them as well as what necessarily doesn’t’.

Your Comments Section

Most websites utilize a comments section. We’ve even recommended some tools that can help you build your own comments area.

What you may not know is that these comments section can be your guiding light in terms of trending topics. First off, they showcase how interested people on your site really are in a given subject. That information alone tells you which topics you should consider expanding on in the future.

Sometimes, though, commenters will directly tell you what they want to learn more about. Even silence from commenters can tell you a lot about whether or not you’re creating engaging content. The point is that comments are active feedback from the people you’re trying to reach. That’s the kind of information that you can never afford to simply ignore.

Your Own Conversations

As you can see, there is no shortage of information out there which helps you to identify trending topics. However, there is at least one low-tech method which is sometimes better than all of the alternatives.

Yes, we’re talking about your own conversations. If there is something that is so interesting to you in your own field that you can’t stop talking about it, that’s as good as a sign as any that it’s a subject worth expanding upon via your website.

That’s the biggest takeaway you should have from these recommendations. At the end of the day, you’ve got to trust your own instincts regarding what to cover. It’s really just a matter of learning to hone those instincts over time using analytics.

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