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How to Find What’s Trending: 14 Tools for Topic Inspiration

Check out these 14 tools for finding trending topics in your industry, to inform your SEO and content marketing campaigns.

How to Find What’s Trending: 14 Tools for Topic Inspiration

One of the most effective ways to connect with your audience is to weave trending topics throughout your editorial and social media calendar.

Not everything you publish has to be related to a current event but using trending topics strategically will allow you to ride waves of demand in both search and social platforms.

Here are 14 of the best sources to help you find out what’s trending.

1. Google Trends

Google Trends is the gold standard for identifying trending search topics in your industry.

It tracks global search trends and provides a wealth of data broken down by date range, geo-location, category, search type (for example web search vs. YouTube), and more.

One of the more recent advancements of Google Trends over the last couple of years is its incorporation into Google Search. Google has become a destination not only for inputting a query but also for reading the most recent trending stories based on your interests.

2. Exploding Topics

This tool is useful for entrepreneurs, investors, or those looking to identify trending business ideas, categories, or companies.

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Exploding Topics doesn’t provide as much context as other trending topic tools, so you either need to subscribe to their newsletter or use this tool in conjunction with other tools to fully understand the trend.

3. SparkToro Trending

When Inbound.org shut down, Sparktoro filled an important void for marketers.

Sparktoro Trending surfaces the latest trending marketing, SEO, and technology articles.

Sparktoro surfaces these trends based on the number of social shares from members who’ve connected to the tool (along with other means).

4. FrontPageMetrics

There’s a Reddit thread for virtually every area of interest. Frontpagemetrics.com is useful for identifying which subreddits are seeing the most daily, weekly, and monthly growth.

With over 3 million tracked subreddits, there are plenty of rabbit holes to help inspire your content roadmap.

5. Feedly

Once you’ve identified the most important publications or news sources that your audience consumes, this tool is one of the best for aggregating the latest stories in one place.

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Feedly is one of the most powerful tools for identifying trending topics and staying up to date in your industry by showing you the most recent stories published from your curated list.

Feedly also has some valuable paid features like the ability to follow newsletters, Twitter, or Google News feeds. Or, use its AI-powered bot that listens across the web for certain topics.

6. Podcast Notes

Podcasts are an unsung hero in identifying trending topics. Podcasting is a $1 billion industry expected to gain 10% more listeners each year. This is a huge opportunity for identifying trending topics for your clients or organization.

Unfortunately, podcasts take a lot of time and focus to digest the content and aren’t ideal for everyone.

Podcast Notes solves the problem of identifying the key takeaways of individual podcasts in a quick newsletter format.

If you don’t have time to listen to 10+ podcasts a week, Podcast News does the heavy lifting for you across fitness, nutrition, startups, technology, finance, crypto & lifestyle topics.

7. Buzzsumo

The best community managers have well-polished systems for listening to trending social media topics for their vertical.

Buzzsumo has long been one of the best-in-class tools for helping you identify viral content across social channels and has moved into additional areas of content discovery that span across video and Q&A websites, as well.

If you’re looking for the top trending video content in your vertical, Buzzsumo can show you what content is getting the most traction on YouTube.

8. Trends.co

Trends.co offers a thorough but easy-to-digest format for understanding new topics across industries. The Trends newsletter breaks down a topic by covering:

  • Why it matters.
  • What the problem is that has created the trend.
  • The solution.
  • The main players in the space.
  • Predictions.
  • Opportunities.
  • Key lessons.
  • Haters (or opposing viewpoints of the trend).
  • Additional resources to go deeper on the topic.

There are also several paid features and ways to collaborate with other members in the Trends community, if you want more in-depth research on each topic.

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This trending topic tool does the best job of giving context, resources, and adequate background to understand more complex topics.

9. Treendly

This tool identifies itself as the Google Alerts for Google Trends. One of the challenges with Google Trends is that traditionally there hasn’t been a great way to subscribe to a specific topic.

Google Trends does offer this functionality now but there are third-party solutions like Treendly that aim to create a better user experience and source from a broader variety of sources beyond Google Trends.

10. Product Hunt Topics

Product Hunt surfaces the latest new (mostly digital) products across industries, and anyone can submit their product.

The PH community then upvotes and reviews them which dictates how well the product ranks on the site.

Product Hunt’s Topics allow you to subscribe to a category of products releases which include productivity, developer tools, AI, UX, marketing, design, and IoT, just to name a few.

11. Trendwatchers

Similar to some of the previous trending topic tools, Trendwatchers allows you to follow trends based on a category or keyword.

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One of the unique features of Trendwatchers is that they combine trend data with ‘blog topic generator’ types of functionality.

This allows for a user to both identify what topics are trending and then apply that trend to a well-word smithed (aka clickbait-y) style template.

12. Conference Agendas

One of the best places to identify trending topics is through scouring conference keynote and breakout sessions in your industry.

Conference sessions are mostly led by niche subject matter experts who often are the influencers that surface new or trending topics.

13. Publications’ Editorial Calendars

Like the conference agendas, publications’ editorial calendars are often design based on seasonal search trends that will resonate with their audience.

As you are assembling your content calendar for next year, use publication editorial calendars to inspire or find trends that you know will peak during seasonal or cultural moments.

14. Trendhunter

Finally, Trendhunter is one of the biggest providers of trend data.

Trendhunter is a media brand that offers free trend data (in the form of articles) and also has several other offerings including custom research, books, public speaking services, events, and more.

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As you can see, there is no shortage of trend spotting tools out there!

The best systems for marketers provide the ability to aggregate articles, newsletters, alerts, and moments of inspiration for the build-out of future campaigns.

How will you put these to work for you?

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Featured image credit: DG-Studio/Shutterstock

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Paul Schmidt

Director at SmartBug Media

Paul Schmidt is a Director at SmartBug Media. He works with clients on SEO, analytics, lead generation and inbound marketing ... [Read full bio]

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