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Hot Topic Blog

When you’re writing a blog post, you want to tap into the zeitgeist.

That’s because if you join a conversation that’s already huge, you’ll find thousands of ready listeners.

But where can you find these big conversations?

Let’s take a look at three tools that help you find out what’s hot (and what’s not).

1. Google Trends

The word “Google” is synonymous with a web search. We say “I’m just going to Google it”.

So, if a search time is being typed into Google a lot, you can be sure it’s a hot topic.

That’s where Google Trends comes in handy. With Google Trends, you can see the things people are looking for right now.

Check out the Google Trends Visualizer to watch hot search terms being entered as they are typed (wow!).

Another helpful tool with Google Trends is that you can look up the interest in a topic over time. Take a look at this graph, which shows how interest in social media has soared since 2009:

2. Trending Twitter Hashtags

Twitter carefully tracks which topics are being talked about most, so you can what’s hot and what’s not.

You can always see the ten hottest trends in your Twitter sidebar.

The problem? These are based on where you live, so they’re only relevant if you write for a local audience. What’s more, you only see ten of them. keeps track of the 100 top trending hashtags all around the world. When you’re stuck for inspiration, check what’s trending.

3. Google Plus Explore

Google Plus’s Explore tool lets you see what people are most talking about.

Even better, you can filter results by a specific hashtag, which allows you to discover what people are talking about in your niche.

When you search by hashtag, you can also see related hashtags. Here’s the related hashtags we were shown when we searched #socialmedia:

Social Media Hashtag

This can help you see whether the topic is popular. As Mark Traphagen points out

A hashtag with no or few related tags may not be much used, or might be fading in use.

Over to You

What tools do you use to discover hot topics to write about?

Copyblogger Mystery

Copyblogger is one of the biggest success stories in the history of blogging.

Arguably, Copyblogger is a blog about a niche topic: how to write good blog posts. Yet with a global Alexa rank of around 2,000 (around 1,000 in the US), it’s one of the most popular websites online.

How did this happen?

There’s no single reason for Copyblogger’s success – but a range of factors that came together beautifully to make the website what it is today.

Let’s demystify Copyblogger. Here’s what set them apart from the crowd:

Willingness to Take a Gamble

When Brian Clark founded Copyblogger in 2006, he had no idea that it would end up where it is today. How could he? But he had an inkling that a blog covering the intersection of copywriting and blogging could prove popular.

As Clark said in an interview with HubSpot:

I didn’t think a blog about copywriting would be successful, but I did think a blog about the intersection of copywriting and blogging might have a shot.

He thought that it might have a shot. So he ran with it, dedicating hours every week to writing, editing, and publishing.

Writing Every Day

Back in 2007, Clark revealed his writing habits.

10 Steps to Becoming a Better Writer

So writing seems important, huh?

Why write every day?

First, because that way you create a ton of content. Content is what keeps your blog kicking and breathing. No content, no blog.

Second, because practice makes perfect. The more content you create, the better you’ll get at creating content.

And if you need more inspiration, check out Copyblogger’s rules for writing first drafts:

10 Rules for Writing First Drafts

Writing Damn Good Headlines

Writing good headlines gets you noticed.

John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing attributes the whole of Copyblogger’s success to headline writing. Jantsch explains:

The secret to Copyblogger’s success is that they write better headlines. That’s it, pretty simple, right? They write headlines (blog post titles) that are irresistible and can’t be skimmed in your RSS reader. Their titles feature words, phases and emotions that reach out and demand your attention.

Of course, these days few people use an RSS reader. But headlines are just as important for winning clicks from social media.

Jantsch gives the following examples of Copyblogger’s “must click” headlines:

  • How the Explosion in Online Education can Revolutionize Your Business
  • A Ridiculously Simple Way to Get More Revenue and Build Your Audience
  • How to Discover Your Hidden Remarkable Benefit
  • 7 Links That’ll Make You a Better Writer and Online Marketer
  • The 7 Bad Habits of Insanely Productive People
  • How to Increase Your Blog Subscription Rate by 254%
  • 5 Landing Page Mistakes that Crush Conversion Rates

Fortunately, Copyblogger is willing to lift up the hood and show you exactly how they write such awesome headlines.

Finding the Right People

Chris Garrett and Jon Morrow both started writing for Copyblogger in 2007. Sonia Simone joined the team in early 2008. All three of them have proved instrumental to Copyblogger’s success.

From the outset – and to this day (think Robert Bruce, Demian Farnworth) – Copyblogger has worked with some of the best in the business.

Yes, having money helps when you’re looking to hire, but good partnerships go much deeper than money. Who could you team up with to make something great? You’ve got to create before you can earn an income.

Copyblogger’s meteoric rise to fame (from unknown in 2006 to a relatively big player in 2007) wasn’t only due to creating awesome content. Back in 2007, Jim Kukral wrote to Brian Clark saying:

I know a bunch of other excellent bloggers who also write amazing high-quality content, and who have been blogging longer than you, but have nowhere near the success you have in terms of readers.

What else did Copyblogger do other than create great content? They networked with authority figures. This included a joint venture with Joe Vitale, where a Copyblogger eBook was bundled in with one of Vitale’s products.

Forging the right relationships goes a long way to helping you get ahead.

Listening to Reader Needs

Copyblogger is about becoming a better writer and marketing. It’s about creating awesome online content. And they share almost all this information (including many eBooks!) for free.

So how do they make money?

They listened to what their audience needed. What were their readers stuck with? Designing and coding stunning, SEO-optimized websites.

Brian Clark didn’t know how to code. So he got a team of coders together to create SEO-optimized, gorgeous-looking WordPress templates. StudioPress, Scribe, and Synthesis were born.

Being Generous and Authentic

Okay, it’s time for us to ‘fess up. We didn’t really need to demystify Copyblogger because there’s no mystery.

As Brian Clark wrote back in 2007:

I haven’t done a single thing to develop or promote this blog that I haven’t shared with you. There are no secrets.

In other words, all the “secrets” to Copyblogger’s success are already on Copyblogger. They’re open and honest about how they achieved their success. You can find out everything you need to know by reading the archives.

Your Call

What do you love about Copyblogger? What would you say are the key ingredients of their success?

must read articles social media marketing

Looking for sparkle and shine to mix into your social media strategy? Look no further. Here are seven articles by some of the best writers and researchers around. Once you’re through with these, you’ll know exactly what it takes to build a social media strategy that will shoot you to the stars.

Oh, and if you still want more, we’ve actually linked to over 25 articles and Twitter accounts. So you’re getting a banquet for the price of a value meal.

Now let’s get started…

Social Media Supremacy: 10 Experts Reveal Their Strategies (ViperChill)

Author: Glen Allsopp

What makes it unique?: The level of research and diverse range of opinions from experts.

Our favorite quote:

Be consistent, stick with it for the long-haul, write for a specific audience, always try to improve the quality of your content and have a plan – know what your goals are and constantly evaluate your progress towards them. Do all these things and blogging will be really rewarding for you.

Glen Allsopp of ViperChill is renowned for investing hours researching and writing in-depth articles. This post on social marketing doesn’t disappoint. It’s from 2010, so the advice on Facebook is a little outdated. The tips on Twitter, blogging, and forums are excellent.

See also: 9,000 Uniques in One Day: A Viral Marketing Case Study.

The Art of Writing Great Google+ Posts (Copyblogger)

Author: Demian Farnworth

What makes it unique?: This article brings a copywriter’s approach to using social media.

Our favorite quote: This is a copywriter’s perspective on what works with Google Plus.

A good opening will get your post read. A bad opening will get your post ignored.

Farnworth has studied what it takes to get your Google Plus posts read and to build a following. His formula is sound marketing applied to Google Plus. Follow the lessons learned, and you’ll improve all your marketing.

Also take a look at: Demian Farnworth shares his content strategy and more – like why he digs vacuums.

A Minimalist’s Guide to Using Twitter Simply, Productively, and Funly (ZenHabits)

Author: Leo Babauta

What makes it unique?: You’ll see how Babauta applies his minimalist approach to the chaos of Twitter.

Our favorite quote:

Twitter is like a river … you can step into it at any point and feel the water, bathe in it, frolic if you like … and then get out. And go back in at any time, at any point. But, you don’t have to try to consume the entire river — it’s impossible and frankly a waste of time in my eyes.

Although written in 2008 before Twitter entered the mainstream, Babauta’s advice still applies today. It’s also an example of Babauta’s excellent vision, as he expected Twitter would replace RSS feeds, which it largely has done.

You might also like: Leo Babauta’s Great Twitter Experiment.

Social Media and Storytelling Part 1: Why Storytelling? (HootSuite)

Author: Cameron Uganec

What makes it unique?: This article doesn’t just tell you why stories matter; it shows you – with examples of great stories.

Our favorite quote:

As storytellers we need to answer these questions. Who is the hero? What is the plot? What is the setting? And, a scary thing for some marketers, what’s the conflict? If you’re telling a story, there’s always a conflict. It’s not always unicorns and rainbows and the hyperbole that lazy marketers often resort to.

Cameron Uganec rightly points out that we can no longer “push” marketing messages out to a captive audience. Instead, we have to “pull” an audience in using a great story.

Check out part 3 of Cameron’s six-part series to find out the psychology behind why people share stories.

The Ideal Length of Everything Online, Backed by Research (buffer)

Author: Kevan Lee

What makes it unique?: The depth of research and the graphics illustrating every point.

Our favorite quote:

Solid research exists to show the value of writing, tweeting, and posting at certain lengths.

You want the have the most possible impact online, right? Taking that as a given, what’s the ideal length of a Tweet, a Facebook update, a headline, an email subject line, and a video presentation? Kevan Lee has scouted out the research and reveals all in this article.

Want to know how Buffer dug up all this juicy goodness? Then check out their post How We Research: A Look Inside the Buffer Blog Process.

17 Twitter Marketing Tips From the Pros (Social Media Examiner)

Author: Cindy King

What makes it unique?: Not everyone interviewed for this article is a social media big gun, so the tips are relevant whatever the size of your Twitter following.

Our favorite quote:

One way to get more efficient about using Twitter and other tools is to sit down with someone younger than you and ask him or her for a front-lines tutorial.

Cindy King reached out to 17 of Twitter’s pro users to find out their top Twitter tips. In every one of the tips, you’ll learn something about how you can improve your Twitter presence.

See also: 10 Social Media Tips to Enhance Your Marketing, From the Pros.

How Coca-Cola uses Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ (Econsultancy)

Author: David Moth

What makes it unique?: This is a deep dive into how a specific brand uses social media.

Our favorite quote:

Coca-Cola is one of those instantly recognizable brands that would rake in fans and followers without even trying, so it’s to its credit that it has active accounts across the social web.

Find out the pros and cons of Coca-Cola’s approach to using the four big players in the world of social networking. Of course, few businesses have Coke’s marketing budget, but we can all learn from their example.

For more ideas for your social strategy, Econsultancy has similar studies on Red Bull, Walmart, Cadbury, McDonald’s, Microsoft, Starbucks and Nike.