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Using the Blogosphere’s Trends for Your Niche

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

Hello, fellow bloggers! Hope you’re having a fabulous week. Since I started this weekly column on April 7, we’ve discussed strong headlines and opening lines, use of video and images, list posts, effective quotes, and more—all through the lens of the week’s most-blogged-about topics. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the conversations we’ve had together in the comments and the knowledge you’ve all shared with each other and with me.

In the spirit of those open conversations, I wanted to answer the most common question I’ve received: How can I use these general trends if I don’t blog about current affairs? Well, you can find trends on your specific niche on Regator, but the true answer is that no matter what your niche, there is often a way—with enough creativity and research into the details of the story—to make it work for your readers. And tying posts to the week’s hottest topics can be a great way to get new readers and attract attention. This week, along with trends from Regator, we’ll take a look at how these topics were covered by bloggers in unexpected niches…

  1. Gulf of Mexico – You’d expect the disaster in the Gulf to be covered by blogs on environmentalism, marine biology, perhaps even business and politics, but PopEater managed to find a way to bring this ecological story into the realm of pop culture in “An Interview With the Guy Skewering BP on Twitter.”
  2. World Cup ­– The Next Web’s “World Cup fever? Here are 5 apps to keep you on top of things” took what would traditionally be a sports story and moved it into the technology space by focusing on related apps rather than the event itself.
  3. Steve Jobs – Jobs’s highly anticipated World Wide Developers Conference talk unveiled the iPhone 4 and was covered widely by technology blogs but Star Trek blog TrekMovie.com was able to make the event relevant to their readers by focusing on the Star Trek references in the talk and technology from the show and movie in “Steve Jobs Invokes Star Trek (Again) While Unveiling 4th Gen iPhone.”
  4. Helen Thomas – While political bloggers obsessed over Thomas’s offensive comments, women’s blog Jezebel covered the story by discussing what Thomas’s undignified fall meant for a woman who had been an icon and inspiration to women everywhere in its post “Helen Thomas: When An Icon Disappoints [Iconography].”
  5. MTV Movie Awards – Rather than approaching this star-studded event from the usual entertainment blogger’s perspective, gay blog AutoStraddle’s “MTV Movie Awards 2010 Celebrate Lesbian Innuendo, Swearing, Twilight” made the awards more relevant to their readers by honing in on the “10 most homosexual moments of the MTV Movie Awards 2010.”
  6. Rue McClanahan – While many television and entertainment bloggers focused on McClanahan’s television and theater legacy, Ecorazzi’s “RIP: Actress And Longtime Animal-Advocate Rue McClanahan Dies At 76” brought the story to their ecologically conscious demographic by focusing on the actor’s animal rights work.
  7. Lady Gaga – On a week when Lady Gaga’s latest music video was on everyone’s lips, Social Psychology Eye’s post “Facing illness, belief helps” skillfully worked the pop icon into the blog by discussing the psychological implications of Gaga’s recent revelation that she had been tested for lupus, undoubtedly earning them quite a few more readers than they would’ve gotten on a straightforward academic post on illness perception.
  8. Rush Limbaugh – Rather than obsessing about the details of Limbaugh’s wedding, as many entertainment bloggers did, The Daily Beast’s “Celebrity Wedding Singers” took Elton John’s unexpected role as Limbaugh’s wedding singer and created a list post that broadened the appeal of the story.
  9. Israel – Music bloggers aren’t the most expected source of news from Israel, but several, including Drowned in Sound with its post “Bands cancel shows following Israel’s flotilla raid” covered what is essentially a political and international affairs story in a way that created value for their music-obsessed readers.
  10. Harry Potter – While film bloggers were busy dissecting the latest Harry Potter trailer, travel blog Gadling put its own spin on the popular character with “London mayor rails against Wizarding World of Harry Potter’s Florida location.”

One thing all of these posts have in common is that the bloggers took the time to learn enough details about these stories to find a way to make them work for their blogs’ niches. Have you managed to work a popular story into your blog’s niche by using a creative angle? Tell us about it in the comments!

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. heather says:

    I blogged about a Harry Potter store in my area and it barely was noticed. Yes, I know it’s a hot topic, but it didn’t generate nearly as much interest as the photo of the girl with the fur tail attached to her purse.

  2. P.K.ARUN says:

    I have seen most bloggers doing this or I can say simply spamming by blogging about current treads without having the knowledge about that topic. Yes, I agree it helps in getting lots of traffic, but I try to blog about trends if I completely know about that topic otherwise I never do it.

  3. Kimberly

    I’m a bit of a political whore on my main website, and I find it effects the traffic on my writing site. I’ll write about Helen Thomas as a virulent anti-semite at “home”, but it undermines my credibility as a “writer” for some reason, because freelance writers are supposed to be apolitical. Sigh.

    Wendy

  4. Joshua Noerr says:

    I completely agree. Since I blog about personal development, I am often able to take current blogosphere trends and find a lesson applicable to everyone.

    Just because you aren’t a current event blogger, does not mean you can’t spin it just right

  5. Bob Noerr says:

    Even though I am not a current event blogger (in fact I blog about fishing), I am still trying to use current trends to boost traffic. The oil spill does apply to people interested in my niche.

    Thanks for the post!

  6. Kelley Denz says:

    Great article! I never thought about taking current events not directly related dogs and tweaking it a bit to make it apply. Great info, I’m going to start looking at current events in a new light.

    Thanks
    Kelley

  7. Ivan Walsh says:

    Hey Kimberly,

    As the web becomes ‘real-time’, there are new opportunities to creates ‘Event-based’ websites.

    ‘Event-based’ websites could be coverage of an event, conference, product release (e.g. ipad) or whatever.

    The next trick is to get traffic and then monetize it. One approach we use is to add ticketing systems, e.g. for hotel/flights.

    My advice to anyone setting up a niche site is to make sure you can monetize it. I know this sounds obvious but…

    Ivan

  8. Roshan says:

    Hi,
    I think we need topics which would last a few weeks or a month rather than news or stuff which soon gets expired. Because I’m not hosting a blog with massive exposure and subscribers so if I add a post which, most probably, would not get searched by anyone by a week or month, then it’s no value for me. Because, after writing the post I’ll try to get it somewhere on Google organic search and when I succeed there, the trend will be over and the people might have moved on.

  9. Tyler Davis says:

    It makes sense that the top blog posts are about things that are popular and not about anything out of the ordinary(like small books, movies, or ideas). Do you have to talk about the trends to be a top blog post?

  10. I took the Gulf Oil spill and put it into a Mothering Blog. How? I created Mamavism Monday’s a few months back where I talk about Mama’s and activism. I can pull a current event in when it is on topic.

    Monday’s are usually not my highest page loads, and those posts take way more work and research, but they are the ones I like to do the most!

    :)

  11. @P.K. Arun,

    I agree you have to stay true to what you know and what fits within your niche.

    @Kimberly,
    Thanks for the post, I will look into and see if i can find something suitable for my blog.

  12. psychicjim says:

    Clever articles always win respect of readers. Unexpected well written blog post pleasantly surprise readers.

  13. Hello Kimberly,

    Nice example you showed there. I never though about it from this angle!

    For example, many do compare real world examples with Internet Marketing (copy writing etc) related stuff, like copyblogger did in a few of its latest posts (comparing fishing to landing more customers, comparing fire fighters to a good copy for customers), but not on current events. Somehow they are related.

    Nabeel

  14. Peter Jay says:

    Creativity and research – I like to highlight this two main key mentioned by Kimberly above. Beside getting attention, it will bring up more traffic if the keywords used wisely. Another tip is – Think out of the box is! :)

  15. Sasha says:

    Great post Kimberly! I just enjoyed commenting on current affairs on my website that discusses Eco Fashion. I found it very inspiring to look at the iPhone launch via the eye of an Eco Fashionista (combining numbers 3 & 6 in your list above) this week in my article The New iPhone and Eco Fashion, http://hautevert.wordpress.com/2010/06/07/new-iphone-and-eco-fashion/
    This enabled me to share a historical moment with my current readers while also expanding my reach to those that were interested in a different area of blogging. I think this method has its benefits, however the key is to use trend-spotting with respect :)

  16. Yes I completely agree. Knowing the latest blogosphere trends and writing posts is a little difficult task but if we do that we can really succeed with that post. I must also try this. But the problem is even if I write a post on the latest news blogs that has a better rank gets listed at top in search even if the content is of low quality. Sometimes I get frustrated when I write posts on hot topics and get no views. Hope the situations will get better in future.

  17. Pankaj says:

    Well, I have used some movies dialogues in some of my posts and it came naturally and not forced.

  18. Paluka11 says:
  19. Kimberly says:

    P.K.ARUN, I am absolutely not advocating being spammy or blogging about something your readers will not be interested in. The important thing is to find a way to take a story you’d like to incorporate and make it relevant to the readers in your niche by exploring it fully and finding an angle that will appeal.

    Wendy, Believe me, I understand the challenges of trying to be apolitical as a professional journalist. It can be frustrating.

    Bob, The oil spill is a perfect example of a current event that’s important to your fishing-focused audience without much of a stretch. Thanks for sharing!

    Tyler Davis, No, you definitely do not need to write about trending stories to have popular posts. I wanted to give examples of how bloggers CAN incorporate hot topics into their niche blogs if they wanted to, but it is by no means a must-do. Best of luck with whatever you’re blogging about!

    EvolvingHomeMaker and Sasha, Thanks for sharing those great examples!

    Jason, You’re welcome. Let us know if you do. I’d love to see what you came up with.

    Paluka11, Yes, please do let us know how you’re progressing!

  20. While I think someone would fanatically disagree with your advice on dating. (lol) Looking past that, I had fun reading it just the same because it was fun to find a perspective from a different standing than myself.

  21. Your post is indeed comes at the right time. I have been following your blog for a week or so. Thank you for the insightful article. Look forward for more.

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  23. thurman99buc says:

    hi there everybody! i am new to this board… going to read up a little bit. any suggestions where to start?

  24. I love the blog. Great post. It is very true, people must learn how to learn before they can learn. lol i know it sounds funny but its very true. . .

  25. I think it also makes it harder for readers to interact with one another. You can easily go back and quote something that someone wrote 10 comments ago and remark on it