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Tracking Social Media Trends For Awesome Link Bait Ideas

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December 16  |  Link Bait Tactics  |   Ryan Clark

Writing link bait is one of the most fun aspects of link building and it takes a certain eye to do it right. Keeping on top of what’s trending is so very important and can lead to some quick and easy link bait ideas, even if you’re not a superstar writer. Knowing the trends is always a good asset to any marketing team and you’d be shocked at how many companies simply aren’t paying attention. I use a variety of tools to track trends and then capitalize on them to profit for not only myself, but our clients as well.

The majority of trend tacking tools are free, which is a huge plus for basically everybody. All you have to do is keep your eye out for something in your vertical. Great link bait requires you to always be writing about something fresh, funny and or “horrific”. Your content will go a long way with the right flare so lets see what we can do about keeping you all in the know.

Trends are fresh, so make sure your content is too!

If you can utilize this at least once a month for your brand, you’re going to become a company rockstar. Putting an end to tedious, boring and over done content is where you really start to see real results coming in from all angles… not just links!

You should be using this tactic now more than ever! Why? Well, since the Google freshness update has been brought out of the workshop you have a big opportunity for more traffic. Emerging trends are going to be a major player in your branding power and establishing yourself as an authority on the subject. What’s more is that this is an area where having the most links isn’t an issue.

Social Tools of the Trade

We’re going old school here and producing a list for your reading ease. It also prevents me from rambling on and and and on and on and on… If you’re used to reading my posts then you know I can get a little out of hand at times (like this paragraph for example).

Google Trends – I’ve been using this since it came out and it’s always a great way to discover trends according to Google search traffic. Since so many of us use Google, this becomes an invaluable tool for doing a little trend research. Sometimes it’s not an up to the minute report, but it should be useful here and there for certain data.

I find Google Trends really helpful in determining the popularity of certain products over a certain time period. It’s really helpful if you need to look back a year or so and determine certain things for a specific time period. I find it really helpful with Christmas trends or any other holidays. For even more in depth of a look, you can mosey on over to Google Insights for all sorts of awesome data on keywords and websites. Don’t forget to play around with Google Insights as well, check it out:

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Technorati Authority – Here’s a site I haven’t mentioned in a long while and it’s a shame because it provides great insight in to the blogosphere. We’ve always been a big fan of how Technorati keeps tracks of the sames trends and buzz for each category in their blog directory. This has always lead to interesting and quality link building opportunities, as well as one of my personal favourite link bait idea generators.

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Blog Pulse – If you’re wanting to track more blog trends and find hot topics to cover on your site, you can’t ignore this useful site. I always double check their trend results right after my visit to Technorati. They have a more useful search box that lets you get into specifics, which is helpful if you’re looking for one particular subject/keyword/niche.

I always use Blog Pulse in my link building efforts regardless if I’m writing link bait or not. I really find their conversation tracking abilities helpful for keeping an eye on a subject or two for any given date. You can also really dig deep into some older trends… up to 180 days back, which is a really nifty extra feature.

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Trends Buzz – For a quick and lovely look at some daily trends and what’s trending you’ll want to bookmark this site. They cover all the important sites that you’ll want to know what’s going on with and I check it near daily just to stay in the know.

They have other areas where you can check out what was hot that day or what’s currently trending live and wild right on the web. It’s such a simple and easy to use interface and I hope they keep the site going for a long time. Big thanks to the folks behind the site and keeping it free for schmucks like me.

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Topsy – This is perhaps the most useful and well put together site for tracking trends across videos, images, social news and blogs. They’ve recently added a Google+ trend tracking section of their website, which is something I’ve been using on a daily basis ever since it came out. You could pretty much stop using any other piece of software or trend analyzing website, use Topsy exclusively for your research and still have some of the most topical and interesting content in your niche.

Topsy also has an API and analytics section where things get pretty schweeeeet. You can even use this to go back in time a little and see trends for a whole event during a given time frame. A good example of this could be the recent occupy wall street news/mentions, or during a product launch to measure how well your marketing team did.

Tracking Twitter Like A Boss

Twitter is hands down the best and most up to date source for trending topics. You could only use their trending topics data and be totally fine in your link bait idea discovery. There are a few easy ways to discover trending topics on Twitter so I thought I’d share the ones I use. I’d also love to hear from you folks on the tools I missed out on listing. The beauty of the ones listed here is that they’re all free!

Twitter Trends – I’m sure you’ve noticed the trending topics on the sides of your Twitter searches. They’re a quick update on what’s hot at the moment and it allows you to change a few targeting features. The trending topics are both on the homepage with one of them being “promoted/paid/sponsored” and the rest are in the sidebar after you’ve searched. Once you’ve hit the sidebar trends, you can change your targeting by location and get down right local if need be. It’s definitely my favorite feature and I find myself getting super targeted information for a number of clients and niches that wouldn’t be relevant without it.

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Hashtags.org – This is an excellent site for digging deep into the trending hashtags at any given time. You can also check previous dates if you’re doing some trend research, which is a really handy feature of this site. There’s not much to it other than figure out what you want to do research on and search away.

TweetMeme.com – This is a daily read for our team here at Linkbuildr mainly to see what’s the most Tweeted piece of content. It’s great for picking the right blog posts to comment on. You can also further develop your link bait ideas based on trending news, images and videos. The biggest and best blogs on the planet are using the TweetMeme plugin/app on their site so you know you’re getting a good data scope. You can follow us on TweetMeme or check out any site specifically and keep up to the minute tabs on your favorite websites.

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Twitter.com/Tweetingtrends – For those that would like to get their Twitter trends in their social circle, why not follow Tweeting Trends? They only tweet when something hits the top 10 and this, in my opinion, is all you need to spin some funny/weird angle for your link bait. I cannot think of an easier way to keep on top of the Twitterverse and I always keep their stream in a Hootsuite tab for viewing pleasure.

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The latest and greatest from the world of trend tracking is Data Sift. They have ponied up for the full on Twitter firehose access and offer the service to you by only paying for what you need. The platform is hands down the prettiest and the most useful when it comes to getting the data you need.

one of two exclusive re-syndicators of Twitter data, we deliver 100% of the firehose in a format that allows you to filter against the meta-data attached to each Tweet.

The data streams are really freakin cool and I wish I had paid access to all the data I need. I highly recommend checking out their example streams to get an idea of what this software suite can do for you and your business.

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Other Trends To Watch

Youtube – One of my favorite features of the new Youtube layout is where they show you the most popular videos of the day/week. One other area that’s a little harder to find is the Youtube Trends Dashboard where you can really dig deep into what’s trending. This is a great place to research your niche and come up with awesome videos to embed in your link bait. We’ve had a lot of success to video compilations for clients and this is the first place we go to find out what’s hot on Youtube.

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Top Selling On Amazon – Most of us are here to make money and the biggest shopping site in the world gives you all the trend data in the world. This is an essential place for people selling products and or looking for something hot to blog about. It’s almost Christmas time, so just think of all the link bait opportunities here. You can go down into every category and find all the goodies. Since we’re on the topic of trends, check out Amazon’s Movers & Shakers section for what’s spiking off.

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I’ve saved the best for last and it’s for the brands with a little extra in their budget. TrendHunter.com is an amazing website for just about everyone and their mother. You can be just a browser, there to network or take advantage of what’s actually hot in the world today. I’ve been a “Trend Hunter” for many years and I’ll continue to read this website every day of the week.

If you’re looking to go above and beyond in the world of trends, then you may want to try out Trend Hunter PRO. They’ve put together thousands of emerging trend opportunities, over 100,000 innovative examples and over a thousand reports for the 2012 year. So many amazing companies are on board and if you’re still scratching your head as to what the hell it’s all about, check out this video:

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Resources & Your Comments

As always, I like to leave some other great reading resources on what I’m blabbing on and on about. I also encourage you to leave links and mentions of tools you’re using in your marketing efforts, despite how little you folks comment. There are tons and tons of awesome tools for tracking trends so I want to hear about them.

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