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Blogosphere Trends – What Are Bloggers Writing About This Week

This column is written by Kimberly Turner 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 to generate a top ten list that shows you exactly that (click any trend to see posts on that story). In the first installment of this column, we looked at how a few bloggers had used unique approaches to cover the week’s hot topics in ways that added to the conversation and created more interesting, worthwhile content.

This week, I was inspired by Darren’s recent post “Here’s What You Should Do to Improve Your Blog Today.” In it, he suggests that you “identify a reader’s problem (or that of a potential reader) and produce a post that will solve it.” (ProBlogger’s The 31 Days to Build a Better Blog workbook also focuses on this topic on day 16.) Another way of putting it would be to fulfill a need or want that your readers have. So in addition to the trending topics for the week, we’ll also take a look at how a few specific posts covered these stories while simultaneously solving a problem for their readers. If you’ve written a post on one of this week’s trends that fulfilled a need for your readers, please share it in the comments.

  1. Justice John Paul Stevens – Darren presents the problems to be solved as statements such as “I am bored,” “I want to improve…” or “I need a review of…” In this case, a reader might say, “I want to share my opinion on something I feel strongly about.” And Slate‘s Jurisprudence blog post “Who Should Replace Justice Stevens?” gives them the opportunity to do so in addition to providing opinions, speculation, and commentary from a variety of legal professionals. (Comedy Central’s Indecision Blog filled my need for humor with the headline “Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens Forces Lazy Indecision Blogger to Come Up With Second Angle on Retirement in One Day.”)
  2. Tiger Woods – “I’d like to advance my career.” This is a common desire but not one you’d expect Tiger Woods to be able to help with. Above the Law managed to find a way with its post “Is There a Tiger Woods Effect in Law Firms?”
  3. iPhone OS/Steve Jobs/Apple iPad – The blogosphere has Apple fever! I’m grouping these three related terms (all of which appeared in this week’s top ten) together to avoid Apple overload. The most common reader need when it comes to new gadgets is “I want a review of…” or “I want advice about buying…” In the case of the iPad, Business Insider fulfills the second need by answering the question “Should You Wait for iPad 2.0?” in a thoughtful video post.
  4. Star Wars – Sometimes your readers’ wants might be as simple as “I want the latest news about…” or “I want to have interesting tidbits to drop into cocktail party discussions.” For this, Cinematical’s post “Will ‘Star Wars’ Work as a TV Comedy?” is ideal. Like the Justice Stevens post above, it allows readers to express their opinions on something.
  5. Polish President Lech Kaczynski – After a tragic event such as this week’s plane crash, there is a desire to provide as much information as possible but other reactions might be “I don’t want to feel alone” or “I want to know how others are feeling.” The post “Poland: R.I.P. Black Saturday” from GlobalVoices solves these problems by gathering a wide range of feedback, emotional reactions, and opinions from Facebook, Twitter, news sources, forums, and blogs.
  6. Net Neutrality – Complex issues such as these often leave readers thinking, “I want to know what effects this will have on my life.” WSJ blog Digits solves this problem with “Winners and Losers in the Net-Neutrality Ruling.”
  7. Easter – “I want to find a new/better way to…” Finish this sentence with something you know the readers in your niche are interested in, then write a great post about it. That’s what Serious Eats did in their beautifully presented and very useful post “How to Dye Easter Eggs Naturally, Without a Store-Bought Kit.”
  8. Malcolm McLaren – When a well-known individual passes away, many react with, “I want to remember…” Rolling Stone‘s Rock&RollDaily blog solved this problem by providing videos of punk icon Malcolm McLaren’s most notable work in “Flashback: Remembering Malcolm McLaren, The Musician.” Posts that solve the “I want to remember…” problem can work in other circumstances as well. Don’t underestimate the draw of nostalgia when considering posts that look back on a time period, individual’s career, or trend.
  9. Upper Big Branch – After tragedy, people often respond with “I want to understand why this happened.” BoingBoing‘s “Of Coal Mines and Methane” and Footnoted.org‘s “Few Hints of Trouble in Massey Energy’s Filings” take two very different approaches to solving the “I want to understand…” problem.
  10. Oprah Winfrey – “I want to be in the know” is one of our readers’ most common desires. They come to you each day (or week) to stay informed. The Frisky‘s “What We Know About The Oprah Winfrey Network So Far” condenses the basic information on the story into a quick-to-scan bulleted list, filling its readers’ need to be quickly informed.

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.

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Comments

  1. Josh Garcia says:

    Hey Kimberly,

    I must say that it is very cool to see what readers are reading about right now. It helps to provides content for our blogs.

    Thanks for sharing Regator with us.

    Chat with you later…
    Josh

  2. Mark says:

    I like this approach blogging. You have a lot of different styles on your blog. This is an summary style post which is effective because people are curious about what is happening in the blogosphere.

    I will most likely give your book a try by the way as the price is good for the value.

    Regarding the Polish President mentioned in this post. I am an American living in Poland and obviously no good comes from a lose of life. This was tragic and the people and individuals that lost their life will be missed. The President was truly a great man and wanted to raise the awareness of people in the world to the events at Katyn many years ago.

  3. Tyler Davis says:

    What’s the way of determining the best blog posts? Please don’t tell me it involves counting backlinks :-[

  4. @Tyler No, no backlinks involved! The trends list indicates the topics that bloggers are writing about most in a given week, so we’ve got an algorithm that analyzes Regator’s archive for the week then makes sense of it by determining what words are used together, etc.

    If you’re referring to Regator itself, we have human editors (all journalists or former journalists) who go out and find well-written, topical, regularly updated, original blogs to add to the directory. They review about three months worth of posts to determine whether it meets all the criteria. If it does, it’s added to our database and all the posts from that blog are automatically aggregated from that point on. Hope that answers your question.

    @Josh, Thanks!

  5. I think Regator looks really promising for use bloggers who want to scoop some trending topics in the blogosphere.

    Nice post Kimberly. :)

  6. You’re right Kimberly ! Sometime you can sense a topic been blogged about all around the world at the same period of time. This topic as you say, may not behaving similarly to current gossips and all. Sometime it make me wonder how the topics come out in every one’s idea box at the same time ;) Like telepathy or something …

  7. What, no baseball?

    :(

  8. @Kosmo No baseball this time but then again, with the mine collapse, Poland tragedy, The Masters with Tiger Woods, Justice Stevens’ retirement, net neutrality ruling, etc., this was a really big news week. That may be why it didn’t rank as high as it otherwise would’ve. There were a few pretty major things that didn’t manage to make the top ten because of all the activity this week. The first week of MLB just ended today, right? It might show up next week. Hard to say.

  9. I was mostly teasing :) I’m trying to swing the balance in baseball’s favor, though :)

    Yeah, the season tipped off on Easter.

  10. Prasanga says:

    I have been writing about clickbank products. I think there are many people writing about various subjects. Thanks to that there is the possibility to find information on any topic. Thanks for sharing. Great post.

  11. Aaron says:

    Yeah, I was blogging about spam and site-worth estimating tools, but did I get included on this list? Nooo! Also I’m surprised you didn’t mention, since you did mention Apple, the whole Apple vs Adobe debate.
    To quote a extremist supporter/employee of Adobe, responding to Apple (He was OKed by Adobe’s legal section):
    “Go screw yourself, Apple!”
    I don’t know, I just find this very interesting, and since you brought up Apple, I thought you’d like to be told/reminded about it…

  12. Angela says:

    Thanks for the resource. Pretty helpful stuff. Occasionally I also go on twitter to see what is big in news in the online world also.

  13. The death of the polish president was a big one.

  14. RumShopRyan says:

    I write about the Caribbean. I write about the island lifestyle and hopefully inspire a few souls to follow their dreams and live the island life.

    Should I be blogging more about current events?

  15. drt says:

    It seems like wellness or health is not something people care about. :-( Did I get into a wrong niche?

    Nice article though, Kimberly.

  16. drt says:

    Oops, sorry, Kimberly. I went to check regator.com and saw that there are some topics on “health” that received a lot of traffics and made it into your list, I have posted some of the topics showing on your list, for example the one on ED. May be I need to work smarter to make my posting more attractive and visible. Do you think I need to talk more about numbers instead of simply giving the link and a short descrition? Any suggestion? :-)

    Thanks.

  17. Thank you for sharing what the trends are:) I didn’t write about any of them, but it’s still interesting to hear about them

  18. What about Michelle “So Cal Bombshell” McGee?, The Alleged Mistress of Jesse James?

  19. It’s spring for a lot of people and they’re eager to get outside into the sun. This means I’m blogging my heart out about sun protection. I’m a practicing dermatologist and somebody has to get that info out there where folks in the Northern Hemisphere can find it- BEFORE that first sunburn!
    Cheers,
    Cynthia Bailey MD
    http://www.otbskincare.com/blog/

  20. @RumShopRyan Blog about what you’re passionate and knowledgeable about. The trends list is provided to give you a glimpse into the things being covered most in a week but certainly isn’t meant to imply that these are the things you SHOULD be covering. Keep in mind also that each individual niche of blogs has its own trends list too (you can see them on Regator) so depending on your topic, you might not find it appropriate to touch on any of these stories. If your blog wouldn’t cover these sorts of things, focus instead on the “problem solving” aspect of the post. Think of ways you can fill a need or solve a problem for readers interested in the Caribbean or island lifestyle.

  21. Just like Angela, I’m used to using Twitter for trending topics and sometimes get some idea what to write about. It’s a pretty fresh idea about Regator and it’s always good that we listen and observe first before we try to preach or write.

  22. chandan says:

    Thank you for mentioning some nice post from famous bloggers. I have read some of the blog posts.

  23. Nikos says:

    This was an Apple week for sure… iPad and iPhone OS 4 media attention was huge

  24. Eileen says:

    Really enjoying this new column … great to see how other bloggers are tying in to current events (and how we might be able to do more of this). Thanks!

  25. Blogger post about anything, and no one could stop them. They can do everything they want, even there’s no one could do it before.

  26. Thanks for all the great feedback! I’m pleased to be doing this column here, in part because Darren seems to have been able to cultivate a great community with commenters who have useful, non-troll-y things to say. You guys are awesome.

  27. Adam says:

    Thanks for all the great feedback! I’m pleased to be doing this column here, in part because Darren seems to have been able to cultivate a great community with commenters who have useful, non-troll-y things to say. You guys are awesome.

  28. love spell says:

    how wonderful. I, in practice, sort of flush this uncertain judgment.

  29. Chung Divlio says:

    Look around on your way to work, or while you sit at your desk. Look at the faces of the people you see. Do they look like they are where they want to be? Do they look like they are in a role that inspires them, a job they would choose again if they had their time over? Or are they simply trying to kill time before the end of the day, wishing the days away and living for the weekend? Unfortunately its probably more of the latter. I think there is something wrong.

  30. Ruben Konrad says:

    Well..yes because it shares something that is happening now.