Blogging Wizard

Blogging Tips That Work

How To Productively Monitor Trends & Write Newsworthy Content

Hot Trends And Newsworthy Content

Are you tired of blogging to yourself?

Would you like to bring your blog to a new level?

Here’s one of the most powerful ways to boost your blog traffic and leads…

Monitor and cover trends!

Blogging newsworthy content…

There are two things I am sure about when it comes to creating timely content (i.e. content based on current hot trends or newsworthy content):

1. It’s highly efficient when it comes to traffic and social media shares (sometimes on-page engagement too). I’ve been working for some major online outlets that have been flourishing thanks to news coverage.

In my experience, evergreen and how-to content drives more references, trust and loyalty. While newsworthy articles drive regular traffic spikes that are easier to monetize (those are usually new visitors who are better ad-clickers).

2. It’s an absolute nightmare when it comes to:

  •  Maintaining consistency while not losing your voice. Covering news is a hard work. Plus, many bloggers have unique styles and news coverage is not easy to blend into the editorial calendar without annoying some of the most valuable loyal readers.
  • Standing out. So many blogs cover news in so many ways that it’s easy to be “just another blog that talks about the news just because it happened”. How can you stand out in that clutter?

So keeping #1 in mind and addressing #2, how can bloggers cover industry news while still being awesome?

1. Track news productively

So trend-tracking comes first. Monitoring trends and news is a good idea even if you are not going to blog about it.

Being among the first to share the news with your social media listeners will pay off fast (in terms of increased engagement and following), so it’s a good idea to monitor news in your industry even if you are not planning to blog about it.

Now, trend monitoring is harder than it sounds. How do you keep up with the industry while still being able to work and keep sanity? Coming from a news-heavy industry, I did manage to ultimately create my frugal approach to trend tracking.

My answer is Twitter…

What I like about Twitter is that (even with all the clutter and spam), it is so flexible that you are in 100% control of what you see and how often.

I am using Twitter lists and Tweetdeck to always be on top of the industry news. This is what you should do:

1. Create a Twitter list of accounts that you know deliver hot news as they happen in your industry. Don’t add too many here: It’s best to keep it under 10 accounts to avoid clutter. It took me a few months of adding, removing, adding others before I got the perfect Twitter list.

2. Set up a separate column in Tweetdeck (I believe you can use Hootsuite for that as well) and if you did a good job in #1, you are now able to activate pop-up alerts for this column.

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Now, newsworthy updates are delivered to my desktop and I can keep an eye on it without ever stopping my work. Productivity!

Whenever I notice something interesting, I can:

  • Share the news via my social accounts
  • Note the link down for my future (weekly/monthly) blog round-up
  • Create content immediately (if I have something to say on that right away)

All or any of that activity benefits my site and my personal brand in the long run.

I am using hashtags to monitor trends in my industry as well but there are too many hashtags to try to keep up with them in real time, so I’ve created a separate dashboard using Cyfe to archive Twitter hashtag feeds for later (regular) reference.

Cyfe is perfect for me because it can monitor the unlimited number of Twitter search results and it gives me that bird’s view of all the results on one page. You can track Google Plus hashtags on the same page too.

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I usually open my Cyfe dashboard only when I am getting down to writing to get more ideas and inspiration.

2. Make news coverage opinionated

This is somewhat self-explanatory. If you are not the first to ever break the news, you can get away by providing your personal spin. Humor usually goes a long way.

One priceless tip I’ve discovered over time is reading through existing coverage while paying more attention to comments. In most cases, what people discuss in the comments sparkle my inspiration in no time.

If you can’t be humorous or original (or you have no opinion yet or you are afraid of being controversial or you want to try something different), invite experts to share their opinion on the news that just happened.

tried that a few times and these types of articles get shared like crazy (because mentioned experts usually join in to share the piece around as well!).

Group expert interviews are also a great way to build relationships with niche thought leaders.

Reaching out to the subject matter experts in your niche, asking for a quick quote is a good way to collect some unique insights but probably not the fastest as experts will be sending replies for a few days, if not weeks.

That’s why I usually keep this method to create news follow-ups rather than breaking news coverage articles.

I also recommend using HARO (they support time-sensitive requests and even tweet them from their official Twitter account).

MyBlogU (disclaimer: I am the founder) is the quickest (and I’d like to hope, the handiest) way to collect opinions and quotes from real people.

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Another way to drive more exposure is to make your news coverage more indepth and useful by providing background information. I like Jennifer Slegg’s style; she always cites more than one source, quotes experts, etc. I guess this is a more time-consuming approach but it may fit some blogs better.

3. Experiment with formats (come up with your own!)

This is historically my favorite tip.

I have a confession: I don’t do well with words.

I have to think hard about each of them trying to articulate what I know and feel. Maybe that’s because English is my second language and I don’t even speak it too well.

I’ve been blogging for 8 years and whenever I am at a loss of words, I use an image or a comparison chart. That’s how I got known in my industry. Not many people visualized as much as I did 8 years ago. I found my own way to write blog posts and that’s what I recommend doing.

First Site Guide lists some possible ways you can (re-)package your (newsworthy) content.

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Here are some ideas for you to use trending news to your advantage:

Twitter chats: Hosting a Twitter chat to discuss big industry news is a genius idea.

  • Firstly, everyone will want to join because that’s what they want to know more about
  • Finally all you need to do after the chat is to collect best points and create an article (it’s half-written for you)

Here’s how we create articles after the Twitter chats. But that’s not the only way to re-package a Twitter chat. Here’s an example of an infographic you can come up with after the chat. You can also create video round-ups (here’s an example). The more media you come up, the more channels you’ll be able to cater to.

Here’s some more information on content re-packaging.

Embedded Content: I like what Ana Hoffman does. Throughout the week she discusses industry news on Google Plus and collates them into a weekly round-up.

This tactic builds up your blog and your social media profiles! You can read more about using embedded media here.

4. Always reference the sources

This is a shorter tip but one not to miss – Always locate the original source and reference it.

And link to everyone else whose coverage you likedDon’t be afraid of spreading link love!

Then tag everyone you linked to in social media updates.

That’s one of the most powerful ways to build connections with brands and bloggers in your niche:

View the original presentation on Slideshare.

5. Use timely hashtags

You will not be the only one monitoring industry trending hashtags. Journalists and other bloggers will also check them. Using those hashtags is a great way to get attention from the mass media and huge publications (as well as simply expanding your reach!)

I did a detailed article on how I discover related hashtags here. If you are covering local news, for example, you can discover trending hashtags by simply searching for your location in Google Plus /Explore section.

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Likewise you can discover similar hashtags, official hashtags, slang hashtags, etc to expand your reach to more channels.

If you are covering an event or a specific trend, using the “official” hashtag in the article title is a great way to earn natural shares and more recognition.

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Key takeaways

  • Being on top of industry news works great both for establishing your social media presence and building up your site traffic.
  • Twitter is still best to track real-time news. Tweetdeck is great for spotting the news and interacting with it productively. Cyfe is great for collecting and archiving lots of combinations of related Twitter search results.
  • If you lack the time to write a blog post, consider inviting subject matter experts to share their opinions on the news. This often results in a lot of social media traction. You can use MyBlogU or HARO to easily collect expert quotes.
  • You can start the discussion outside of your blog and then create a blog round-up using embedded content or different types of media.
  • Brand your news column consistently, stick to one format, experiment with different ways to re-package the news to reach wider audience.
  • Linking out and social-media-tagging attracts (influential) bloggers to your site which can result in long-term relationships and mutual coverage.
  • Using trending hashtags is a great way to expand your reach to those outside of your community. I use Google Plus Explore to dig deeper into possibly related hashtags to target.

Over to you…

Have you ever tried covering trends? Do you have some case studies to share? What are your tips?

About Ann Smarty

Ann Smarty is the Brand and community manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas, founder of MyBlogU, co-founder of ViralContentBuzz and a serial blogger.

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  • I agree that you should ideally make news coverage opinionated. While it is of some small value to report developments in one’s sector, it if of huge additional benefit to provide some opinions, especially opinions as to what this will mean a year or two down the road. There might already be plenty people discussing the immediate effects, but very few thought leaders bother with the long game.

    • Yes, it’s hard though… I can imagine how it’s hard to cover Google news, for example, trying to analyze what that might mean for the future! They are known to turn things around quite quickly (e.g. Authorship project)

  • Good stuff, Ann! Thank you. I am finding the Scoop.It tool to be helpful.

    • Yes, it’s a great one! I love Paper.li as well

  • Thanks for sharing this with us, Ann.

    The blogosphere is becoming even more crowded so it’s important to keep looking at ways to take our blogs to the next level.

    I love the idea of doing newsworthy content, it’s definitely difficult to keep up with but if you keep looking out for opportunities and doing the monitoring, you can land on a really nice opportunity. An opportunity that could put your blog on the map.

    Copyblogger have got a habit of doing this every so often. For example, when they announced removing blog comments and more recently with the deletion of their Facebook page.

    Each post generated a huge amount of buzz, then loads of traffic/links/shares followed. The way they presented those posts may not work for others but there’s always another way to re-position content in a way that will work for anyone.

    Thanks again for this, Ann!

  • Great tips Ann! I have found that covering trending topics can be a huge traffic booster and can help you get your name in front of new audiences who are interested in the topic at hand. Having your own unique perspective and helpful advice for those interested in the topic can go a long way from separating your coverage from everyone else’s too.

    • Yes! It really works! It just needs to become part of the blogging routine, otherwise it’s hard to keep up!

  • A lot of great useful information here. Some of I knew but had forgotten about (like Tweetdeck and HARO). Looking forward to checking out some of the other tools you suggest. Thanks.

    • Thanks for reading! Glad to hear you liked it!

  • I especially like the make it opinionated part of this article. That’s what news has become anyway. I think that opinionated news is more easily consumable too.

    • Easily consumable and more discussed – that’s for sure!

  • Hi Ann (@annsmarty:disqus) Good to see you over at Adam (@adamjayc:disqus) sir’s blog. I am a regular here and I loved your tips. This was heck of a good post stuffed with productivity tips.
    I had heard of cyfe from @kikolani:disqus maam’s blog. But I never really had the time to try it. But now I think I should give them a try. Now may I ask you a question on the context of the post?
    What are your tips to store some individuals tweets for future reference.
    For example: If I want your tweets to be saved to my pocket account or email how do I do that. Zapier was good but they don’t provide a full free version.

  • Hi Ann, love the tips! I was just thinking about this the other day and incorporating some news ideas into my posts. Right now I have an idea to use the concept of understanding what business you’re “really” in and compare that to how the New England Patriots have handled this weeks scandal around their team.

    For one, many know I’m a big Patriots fan and it could be funny and since it is newsworthy around cheating right now, I have a lot of ideas of how businesses cheat themselves.

    Of course there is a lot of news and interesting parallels and ideas so thanks for asking me to think about this as a topic.

    I hope you have an incredible weekend!!!

    ~ Don Purdum

    • Wow, great to know I inspired to think! Please share what you come up with!

  • Jenna

    Great tips for writing newsworthy content! I plan to implement these ideas on our Yodlee Interactive blog. One example of a popular trends blog is http://blog.yodleeinteractive.com/trends-drove-fintech-limelight-2014-expect-2015. It includes a quick survey and $100 Apple gift card prize. I’d love to hear your thoughts on creating engaging content and look forward to checking out MyBlogU. Thanks Ann!

  • Hey Ann,

    I’ve heard this many of times about covering trending topics to boost traffic but I haven’t got into it just yet. But it does make sense to use “newsworthy” content that will help propel your blog into upper levels by focusing on those that are already interested in the topic at hand! Thanks for the share and this will be in my bucket list of things to do!

    • Thanks for reading! It’s great to know it may be useful!

  • Hey Ann – great tips! (Like I would expect anything else, coming from you :) ). I particularly love how you emphasized having our own opinion. Even in comments, that is appreciated. Part of the beauty of the internet is the ability to receive and provide feedback and to learn from others. You have done a wonderful job of laying out a roadmap for people to do that… and more.

    • Many people are just afraid of being different or wrong: So they refrain from expressing their own opinions. In my mind, being different or wrong is what makes you popular! :) Thanks for the comment, Deb!

  • Hi Ann,
    This is a great reminder that news drives traffic.
    Often I tackle my editorial calendar with blinders on. I want to stay focused and on schedule so I try to avoid outside distraction.
    Generally a good approach – but it is one that causes me to miss out on what is happening in the moment.
    Thanks for the reference to the article on hashtag research – definitely something I want to learn how to do efficiently.

    • Hashtags really help in research and monitoring! Thanks for the great comment, Neena

  • Wendy Kiana Kelly

    Ann, this is really great! I have not had good success with writing content around “newsworthy” or trending topics…though I firmly believe it’s a good strategy :) These tips are really good ones – especially the details around using Twitter. Just shared with a colleague, actually, as we were having this *exact* conversation :) THANK YOU!

    • Thanks for reading and sharing, Wendy! Great to hear it might turn helpful!

  • Phil Turner

    Wow! That’s an ebook not a blog post. Amazing ideas Ann. AND very well-expressed.
    I agree that controversial can be a good thing. We all *should* have our own unique take on anything. Sharing our unique thinking is important. If it’s worth thinking, it’s worth sharing

  • Kudos to you for these tips Ann. Although I use some already and actually curate news articles on a nearly daily basis (some days there just doesn’t seem to be any news to share…), I do feel like I have “just another” news site despite knowing otherwise. You have some things here I’ll probably greedily hold on to and use!

    • Thanks for the comment, Aden! Good luck stealing those! 😉 And don’t forget to come back and tell us how they worked out for you!

  • Great post, Ann. Twitter has always been my favorite spot for tracking down the latest trends. I make use of the trendy hashtags that are relevant to my niche, and go to the sources. If anything is worth posting, that my readers shall also love to read – I go about making a post on it. Furthermore, I also make use of Google Alerts, so whenever something pops up on the web related to my keywords, I get notified. Anyways, thanks a lot for sharing this post – informative as usual.

    Cheers,
    Pranay, ShowBox App

    • Thanks for the comment, Pranay! Twitter is my major source of inspiration too! I find BuzzSumo much better than Google Alerts nowadays…

      • Wendy Kiana Kelly

        I agree – Love BuzzSumo!

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