One of the biggest questions every business has when it comes to blogging is what they should blog about. Last month, we touched upon ways to find blog topics in How to Create a Blog Content Strategy. In today’s post, we’re going to dig a bit deeper into additional tools and strategies your business can use to discover what content performs best on social media in your industry.
Finding Similar Blogs
Your first goal is to find blogs in your industry whose posts you want to research. You can start with your business’s competitors. If they do not have great blogs, you can expand your research to include popular blogs in your industry. A great way to find these blogs is by looking at sites like Alltop that list the top blogs by topic, from A to Z.
Finding the Best Blog Topic Ideas
With so much public data available through social media, researching what is hot and what is not is relatively simply. There are plenty of tools (many free) that you can use to explore topics, trends, and keywords.
The following are tools that will help you research top-notch topics that receive a lot of social engagement. Use these tools and strategies to determine what topics would be a good fit for your own blog as well as topics to contribute to other blogs as guest posts. Note that you shouldn’t steal topic ideas verbatim, but find ways to take a popular topic and make it unique.
Subscribe to Industry Blogs with Feedly
Feedly is a web-based RSS reader that allows you to not only keep up to date with the latest posts from blogs in your industry, but also allows you to see social engagement stats about those posts at a glance.
In the above example, you can see the latest posts from Mashable’s RSS feed, a site that would be perfect to research if your company is involved in the social media space. The green numbers to the right of the titles represent the total number of Facebook engagements (likes, shares, and comments) and Google +1’s that the posts have received.
As you probably know, posts on Mashable are always hot on social media. But what you can learn from viewing their RSS feed using Feedly is what topics are most popular. In this example, How to Spot a Social Media Guru and Will Facebook’s Changes Drive Away the Teen Crowd received the best social response.
If you want to keep a list of topic ideas based on what you find in Feedly, you can use the bookmark option to save the most popular posts that you find.
This way you can have a topic inspiration database to choose from. Best of all, you can do this research on your mobile as well with the Feedly iPhone, iPad, Android, and Kindle apps.
Use Topsy to Discover the Most Tweeted Content
Since Feedly doesn’t include tweets into their social engagement score, you’ll have to look elsewhere to find what topics have the best Twitter engagement on a blog. Topsy is the best solution for this. You can use the advanced search to search for a particular keyword on a specific domain. Although you can’t sort the search results for a particular topic by popularity, you can usually spot the best topics pretty quickly.
In the above example, the orange number represents the number of tweets a post has received. You can see that the Pinterest study is by far one of the most popular Pinterest posts in the last 7 days. This would tell you that audiences who consume social media information enjoy studies and facts the most.
You can also use Topsy Analytics to see what content has been most popular on any given day for a particular topic.
In the above example, SEO was mentioned on Twitter 53,575 times on February 18th. The top story that day was Meaningful SEO Metrics. This Is an easy way to scan the top posts everyday for the last 30 days on a particular topic.
Find Popular Business Content on LinkedIn Today
If your business is B2B, then you might be interested in the topics that professionals are most interested in sharing. LinkedIn Today highlights popular content on their network in a daily newspaper format. You can go to your LinkedIn Today settings to follow particular industries ranging from Accounting to Venture Capital. You can then have the most popular topics emailed to you if you choose or simply visit the LinkedIn Toady section to view them.
See the Number of Votes on Social Bookmarking Networks
Want to know what posts get the most stumbles, reddits, and other social shares? Take a tour of the top social bookmarking networks to find out. Here are some quick links to use to research specific topics from a few networks. Just replace keyword in the URLs with the topics you are researching.
• http://www.stumbleupon.com/interest/keyword (9M)
• http://www.reddit.com/r/keyword/top/?sort=top&t=all (13M)
• http://www.diigo.com/tag/keyword (16M)
• http://digg.com/tag/keyword (46)
Depending on the keyword you are searching, you might have to use the search box to find the next closest topic. The numbers by each network represent the number of interests, sub-reddits, and tags each network has.
What tools and strategies do you use to research the most popular content in your industry? Please share in the comments!