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What’s Trending? How Popular Content Can Boost Your Engagement


Trending. It’s a word that has gained new meaning (and a lot more usage) in the digital age, especially with regard to social media and digital marketing. Finding out what’s trending can open up a world of marketing opportunities, especially when it comes to forming more meaningful connections with your audience. But how do you figure out what’s trending in the first place? And how can you take advantage of trending content to increase your Web traffic? Let’s take a closer look.

Why are Trending Topics Important?

The rise of digital marketing has drastically changed the way that advertisers connect with their target audiences. Gone are the days when the best practice was to spend months at a time tinkering with a message before creating and publishing content. Nowadays, social media provides instant connectivity—and therefore the need to participate in trends and events as they happen.
Social media has made it so that the popularity of videos, topics, or events can come and go in a week (or even less). The recent viral success of the “Chewbacca Mom” video is a current example of how quickly something can become an internet sensation. Candace Payne (the star of the video) has since appeared on several television shows, and not surprisingly, many brands—particularly Kohl’s, which was mentioned in her video—jumped in to make some related marketing materials.

But don’t try to create a viral marketing campaign based around this video now, as people are already tired of it. If you don’t know which topics are currently trending, you not only run the risk of missing out on a golden marketing opportunity, but also appearing trite and insincere when you enter the mix with an effort that is too little, too late.

Finding Trending Topics

So how do you find those trending topics in the first place? Thankfully, there are plenty of resources available that can help you spot trending topics and begin producing your own related content marketing materials before it’s too late.
For starters, Twitter and Facebook already display trending topics for you anytime you log in. Google Trends allows you to easily discover which search topics are currently trending, as well as more in-depth information, such as monthly data and visualizations of 24-hour search trends. Simply monitoring these feeds provides an immediate source of information you can use to find trending topics on the web.
Of course, these are far from the only resources available to help you find trending topics. Other sites, such as Reddit and Quora, offer their own versions of “trending topics” that are easily viewed on their homepages. Platforms like Buzzsumo allow you to conduct a keyword search that pulls data from a wide range of platforms to find the most-shared content pieces from across the web.
At the end of the day, constant monitoring is essential if you wish to be successful in finding trending topics for your brand.

Using Trending Topics

So once you discover a trending topic, what should you do to get the most out of it? The first thing is to make sure that you can create a clear connection between the trending topic and your brand. After all, as great as the “Chewbacca Mom” video was for Kohl’s and Star Wars merchandise, it probably wouldn’t have as much application to a car accident attorney. Choose your topics wisely, otherwise your audience will quickly grow skeptical of your intentions.
The next step is to determine how to best connect with a trending topic. For most brands, this can be as simple as a related social media post, or as in-depth as a lengthy article with accompanying infographics and videos. In large part, this should be determined by both your capabilities and what you’d like to accomplish with your content.
For example, a quick tweet that uses the hashtag related to the trending topic won’t usually require nearly as much time and energy as an infographic—but the type of results it will get are quite different. For example, Oreo’s famous “You Can Still Dunk in the Dark” tweet during the 2013 Super Bowl earned the company a lot of social media action. And while this certainly boosted the company’s social media presence, it wasn’t going to have a lot of impact on web traffic or SEO, as there were no links to Oreo’s website.
On the flip side, a timely article or infographic that goes on your company blog can dramatically increase your web traffic and even boost your SEO rankings, even though it won’t necessarily have the same social media impact.
In general, it’s best to decide on atopic-by-topic basis which type of content will be the best fit. Not every topic will be suited for a lengthy article, but a social media post could get you stellar results.


Trending topics can come and go in less than a day. You don’t want to miss out on these marketing opportunities. When your team is monitoring for trending topics and prepared to create related content, you can greatly increase your social media and content marketing power as you engage with these trends in a unique, clever and genuine way.