So, it’s January… a brand new year has begun and you’re full of good intensions and resolutions for your blog. But keeping up a regular writing schedule and finding new ideas for content can be difficult, (we feel your pain).
A little helping hand in the inspiration department can really help freshen things up and get the creative juices flowing, particularly if you want to remain relevant and keep on top of current trends.
Of course, subscribing to RSS feeds and following other bloggers is a really important part of the blogger research process, but sometimes the sheer volume of information out there can be a bit intimidating. Where do you start? How do you go about ploughing through the interweb to find the topics that are relevant to you?
Don’t worry, help is at hand! We’ve put together a quick list of some of our favourite content aggregation tools to save you time and help you find the latest trending stories and information to get your blog rocking in 2014!
This is unusual because it’s not a website or an app, but a simple Google Doc created by SEO Gadget that pulls data about your chosen keyword from across the web. Simply type in your search term and hit enter, then watch as the table populates with stories and links from a variety of different sources including Google News, Reddit, YouTube and more. The ‘Source and Place’ tab also shows additional information about key Twitter bloggers and editors related to your search term, providing a really useful list of influential people to follow.
There are no downloads or signups required, all you need to get started is a Google account. Simply log into Google and follow these quick steps…
Google Trends can be great way to get a glimpse at what the world is searching for. The Hot Searches section gives you a day-by-day breakdown of trending news stories, categorised by country, whilst the Top Charts gives you a monthly breakdown of what’s hot across a range of different interest verticals.
But this is just the tip of the iceberg. If you explore further you can browse by location, time frame or category to get an overview of what’s popular across the web or create your own custom searches by entering keywords around your area of interest.
Not only can this be a good source of general inspiration, but creating a couple of target posts around specific trending topics can be a great way to boost the SEO of your blog.
Topsy is the one-stop-shop for finding out what’s trending across the social media sphere. Claiming to have tracked every Tweet since 2006, it’s great for monitoring web links and trending articles.
Topsy’s algorithms also identify key experts for your search terms, calculating influence based on the number of social media links and providing a list of top trending blog posts with the option to filter by date or relevance – useful stuff when your looking for influencers around a particular topic.
The tools above are great at finding trending content, but you need a way to store all that information until you’re ready to use it.
Social bookmarking sites like Diigo provide excellent tools to help writers curate, annotate and archive useful web pages. You can save articles into organised folders, highlight paragraphs of text, add sticky notes and group them by themed tags. That way, when you’re searching for information about your chosen topic you can check out your own personal reference library.
To access the tool, sign up for an account and add it to your browser. Each time you come across a page you want to keep, simply hit save.