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Blogosphere Trends – What Are Bloggers Writing About

kim.jpgToday we’re starting a new type of post here at ProBlogger – Blogosphere Trends – something we hope will become a regular feature of ProBlogger and a way for bloggers to keep up with the latest trends in the Blogosphere.

This column is written by Kimberly Turner (pictured right) from Regator (a great tool that gathers and organizes the world’s best blog posts) – Darren

What were bloggers writing about last week? We used Regator’s trending topics for the week to generate a top ten list that shows you exactly that (click any trend to see posts on that story). But as Darren pointed out in his video post “11 Ways to Add to the Conversation of the Blogosphere and Stand Out from the Crowd,” it’s not enough to cover the stories that everyone else is covering: “Successful bloggers have something of their own to say.” So in addition to the trending topics for the week, we’ll take a look at some specific posts that managed to truly add to the conversation around these stories. Did you cover one of these stories in an innovative way that broke out of the echo chamber? Tell us about it in the comments.

  1. Sarah Palin – For “What Does the Future Hold for Sarah Palin? (Besides LL Cool J)”, Jezebel heeded Darren’s sixth piece of advice by considering the implications of the current story on future events.
  2. Hot Tub Time Machine – Though the post does contain spoilers, io9’s “Open Letter to the Writers and Director of ‘Hot Tub Time Machine,’ From a Physics Professor” is a refreshing take on a story that many bloggers covered with a simple review. Interviewing experts for posts is a great way to create original content—bonus points when you do it in such an unexpected way.
  3. Apple iPad – Like the Sarah Palin post, iPhoneCTO’s “iPad Misunderstood: 5 Ways Apple’s Uber Tablet Will Transform Business” looks into the future but, just as importantly, also takes a broad story and focuses it for the blog’s specific readership. Knowing your readers and shaping stories to meet their needs can help you craft unique content.
  4. Earth Hour – Earth Hour elicits its fair share of debate. Many bloggers approached the topic as devil’s advocates (more of Darren’s advice). Lifehacker’s “Forget Earth Hour and Do Something Useful Instead” not only argued against the effectiveness of the event but also provided alternate ways its readers could save energy.
  5. Ricky MartinAutostraddle’s “Cracking the Coming Out Code With Clues From Gay Ricky Martin, Infographics” analysed the star’s decision by putting it in the context of other gay celebrities and their experiences. Putting a specific story within a broader context is another way of adding to the conversation. The nifty infographics don’t hurt either. The good news is that, while they are eye-catching, they aren’t so elaborate that you’d require an art director do something similar for a story you’d like to explore in this way.
  6. Kids’ Choice Awards – While most posts covering this Nickelodeon event were pretty predictable, Videogum managed to elicit a giggle from me with its humorous presentation of the winners list in “Old People React to the Winners of the 2010 Kids’ Choice Awards.” A bit of well-placed humour can take a post on a story that everyone’s covering to the next level.
  7. Sandra Bullock – Rather than echoing the countless stories on the subject, “David Brooks + Sandra Bullock = Matrimania” from Living Single uses a New York Times opinion piece as a jumping off point to provide an alternate viewpoint and to look at the institution of marriage as a whole.
  8. Michael Steele – Another of Darren’s tips is to aggregate various opinions on a story. The Moderate Voice does this well in its post “How Long Will Michael Steele Last at the RNC?” The author gathers snippets of coverage from a number of major sources then goes a step further by adding his own opinion/analysis of each.
  9. Catholic Church“Are the Media Picking on the Catholic Church?” at Blogging Religiously uses a few bits of Darren’s advice. The author indicates what aspect of the story grabbed his attention—in this case the angle and nature of the media coverage—and then provides what he sees as missing information and answers to questions. Although he does quote from other sources, these techniques help him avoid the echo chamber.
  10. Large Hadron Collider – We’ve seen (iPad example) that taking a broad story and focusing it in for your audience can be very effective, but sometimes—particularly if you’re dealing with a complex subject such as the LHC—taking a very specific story and broadening it to provide background or additional explanation is an even better option. Ars Technica/Nobel Intent’s “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Particle Smashers (But Were Afraid to Ask)” illustrates this well.

Kimberly Turner is a cofounder of Regator.com and Regator for iPhone as well as an award-winning print journalist. You can find her on Twitter @kimber_regator.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Josh Garcia says:

    Hi Kimberly,

    That is great that you are able to pull all of the hot topics that were written about last week. Because of my niche, I didn’t write about any of the above mentioned.

    I typically write about how to generate leads using online marketing, leadership skills, or How To’s.

    Thanks for sharing this with us.

    Chat with you later…
    Josh

  2. This looks like an great tool that I will definitely be trying out. I have touch any of the above topics, but perhaps with a tool like this I’ll be able to open and expand my niche in new and interesting ways. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Just looking at the list above i was tempted to think that evens such as the Haiti earthquake had been forgotten but visiting the site I found the contrary to be true. There’s still plenty being written about Haiti. For a moment there I was tempted to label the blogosphere as fickle. Glad I took the time to visit Regator before getting on my soap box!
    Thanks.

  4. hokya says:

    wow thanks for sharing the trends

    i am still unsure to changing mine because of its specific-less

  5. Lee Ka Hoong says:

    This tool looks great for us to look for the trend! Do you think we should follow the trend and write something similar to what others write to drive in more traffic?

    Regards,
    Lee

  6. Vago Damitio says:

    Great, but where are the blogs about Morocco or North Africa? Hint hint!

    Thanks.

  7. DeLonghi says:

    This looks like an great tool that I will definitely be trying out. I have touch any of the above topics, but perhaps with a tool like this I’ll be able to open and expand my niche in new and interesting ways. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Julius says:

    I especially like the point about doing interviews and adding in humor whenever appropriate.

  9. Very interesting list, I need to use that tool. I haven’t touched any of those topics either, but very interesting to keep up with the trends.

  10. TaosJohn says:

    When the hell did “bloggers” become the equivalent of someone who reports on the news? I’ve been posting original content for years…

  11. @Josh, these are the overall trends across all topics. If your subject matter isn’t well represented, you might want to try looking at the trends for marketing or something more specific. Regator does have real-time trends lists (not weekly) for individual topics that could be helpful for niche bloggers.

    @Dave Haiti and other more serious stories are always being covered and regularly show up on Regator’s weekly trends list (though this week was a bit fluffy). Don’t lose faith in the Blogosphere. :)

    @Lee, I think covering the big stories that everyone else is covering may help your traffic if they fit within your blog’s focus AND you consistently cover them in ways that add to the conversation rather than echoing or copy/pasting existing coverage. Be sure to watch Darren’s great video mentioned in the first paragraph for some great tips on how to do that.

    @Vago, thanks for the feedback. We’ll be adding more local interest blogs for a variety of places in the near future.

  12. Thanks for the great new tool. I haven’t heard about that one yet. That could be very useful for finding the pulse of a certain niche market as well.

    I will definitely check it out.

    -Joshua Black
    The Underdog Millionaire

  13. I just took a look and this is a great tool, thanks for bringing it to our attention.

  14. I just realized that I did cover one of the topics listed above:

    I posted about the infidelity in the marriage of Sandra Bullock and Jesse James – and as you suggested above I did put my own spin on it while adding some useful information and tips.

    Love Confessions: How to Affair Proof Your Relationship

    http://confessionsofalovingwife.com/2010/03/love-confessions-affair-proof-marriage-relationship/

  15. I think these are the ‘main stream’ type things people are writing about, but there are so many ‘small circles’ of people writing about unique things as well.

    But if you can take something main stream and turn it into something unique, that’s a good way to get a lot of people interested, like the person with the ‘Kids Choice Awards’

  16. @Shannon O: Love it! You took the story everyone was covering, focused it in for your audience and used it as a jumping off point to provide tips they can use in their everyday lives. Fab! Thanks for sharing.

  17. From poetry to lengthy prose, creative writing can be a great way to express yourself. Of course, even the best students and writers can use a few tips, a little inspiration and a whole lot of help getting their work out there. These blogs offer all of that and more. From blogs that focus on writers still trying to make it in the publishing world to those providing updates from best selling authors, you’ll find all kinds of information geared towards improving and informing your creative writing.

  18. Just anything that comes to my mind.

    Most of my blog are niche blogs, so they’re mostly targeting specific subjects.

    Never though to build a personal blog until this year.

    Evelina

  19. Hope to see this become a regular feature. Trend spotting is a key for a lot of us and if it comes in a sleek package like this things would be just wow !

  20. I like to write about entrepreneurship, livelihood skills, business ideas, and events of interest for entrepreneur-minded people in the Philippines.

    I believe that the more entrepreneurs the Philippines have, the more vibrant the economy is.

  21. ibnujusup says:

    earth hour…. can’t do it…. blog is more important… need electric too… huhu

    anyway great info…
    will follow regator after this…

  22. Everyone of us want to write blogs which have never been mentioned before. But is there any way in the internet by which we can get to know that whether the topic of our interest has been posted before or not ? e.g. Like if i want to write an article on the topic “Biggest mistakes made by Google”

  23. @Computer Repair: You can use Regator to search for posts on a particular topic you’re thinking about covering. It’s got an archive of 5 million+ posts. Because we’re highly selective, we don’t have every blog though, just those approved by our editors. So if you want to make absolutely sure that something hasn’t been covered anywhere, you might want to do a Google search for it as well.

  24. Hi guys,

    This is cool how you were able to pull the top ten subject posted by bloggers on last week. Thanks for sharing.

    Kind regards,

    Sam
    X

  25. Jon Reid says:

    I actually did blog about Earth Hour — not to jump on a trend, but to try to share from my family’s experience that we have actually found it to be a fun activity.

    http://www.blogoneanother.com/2010/03/make-earth-hour-fun.html

  26. Brad Sedotal says:

    I have so many mixed emotions when it comes to credit. In a lot of ways we need it. But I think the companies that run the credit abuse it and trick and take advantage of their customers. Too many people are in debt to have be all one big coincidence. I think the credit industry needs more regulation.

  27. Martin says:

    Just anything that comes to my mind.

    Most of my blog are niche blogs, so they’re mostly targeting specific subjects.

    Never though to build a personal blog until this year.

    Evelina

  28. tsk tsk tsk – NOTHING about family history or genealogy? There are more than 1,000 blogs focusing on all aspects of genealogy and the top bloggers provide excellent views and subject matter.