With so much content online, businesses and content buyers are always on the lookout for fresh content that will interest their audience and stand out in a sea of unoriginal content. This is why writing about trending topics is a powerful way to add value to your writing and help you get noticed as a freelance writer.
An important part of this process is industry research, which adds clarity and credibility to your writing and builds your knowledge for future projects. What’s more, clients will often pay more for well-researched content.
Here, we’ll look at how to identify trending topics and do effective industry research in order to add value to your writing and raise your profile as a writer.
How to Identify Trending Topics
The internet has made it much easier for writers to identify current trends across all industries. Here are some of best places to discover live trends to support your writing:
Twitter is still one of the easiest ways to discover commercial and cultural trends. Use the “Advanced Search” feature to search for industry keywords or refine your search to certain locations. Click on the “Latest” tab to show the most up-to-date tweets.
- Google Trends. Identify a trending topic related to any industry and view its popularity at any given time.
- Google News. Find trending news stories from any industry.
- Google Search. Fine-tune your research. For example, type “healthcare research report” to find potential data sources for healthcare content.
Related Reading: Don’t Be a Google N00b: 5 Tips to Narrow Down Your Search Results
This popular tool analyzes user-generated content across more than 100 social media websites. Use it to search for real-time industry-related content by simply typing in relevant search terms.
This is a great free tool for any writer researching specific industries. Simply add industry-relevant publications to your own personalized dashboard. You’ll then get a constant stream of trending content to draw inspiration from.
Here, trending industry stories and professional conversations are curated by a team of LinkedIn editors. Check out the “What People are Talking About Now” section to find trending content every day.
Anyone can use Reddit as a research tool to see what people are talking about and which industry topics are trending. Use it to:
- Find out what questions people are asking regarding certain industries.
- Discover the most popular industry topics.
- Find the most up-to-date industry news stories.
How to Do Industry Research and Find Up-to-Date Stats
Many clients appreciate articles that include data from reliable sources. Data makes any piece of content more shareable and adds credibility to the message. Here are some of the best places to find facts from trusted sources:
Government Web Portals
Federal governments have lots of accessible data for researchers. For US data, go to USA.gov to search for specific topics and government agencies. You can also try Data.gov to find a range of data across many industries, from agriculture and education to health and manufacturing. Here are some of the most useful government websites for research:
- Census.gov for US statistics.
- Cia.gov for world statistics.
- Loc.gov for local statistics.
- Bls.gov for labor statistics.
- Bea.gov for economic and industry statistics.
- Fbi.gov for crime statistics.
- Ed.gov for educational statistics.
- Nutrition.gov for health statistics.
- Nifa.usda.gov for food and agricultural statistics.
- Nsf.gov for science and engineering statistics.
National Organizations and Trade Associations
Whatever topic you’re writing about, there’s usually a national organization or trade association to draw information from. Search the web for trade associations and your chosen industry. Or try this comprehensive list of industry trade groups in the United States.
Alternatively, use this list of trade associations. For example, you might be looking for current news on the restaurant trade. If you click on the National Restaurant Association, then click on “See All News,” you’ll find an article with research on the early impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the restaurant industry.
Trade publications are a great place to search for up-to-date news, research, and information on your chosen topic or industry. For example, Nation’s Restaurant News features industry news, data, and analysis on menu, marketing, operations, and finance trends for the food service industry.
Well-Known Research Organizations
Adding relevant statistics to your content is a simple and effective way to add depth to your writing, and there are lots of globally-recognized organizations you can rely on. These are some of the best:
- The Pew Research Center
These sites feature research reports and analysis across a range of industries. Alternatively, use a search engine and type in a specific industry plus the phrase “market research.”
How to Write Effectively for Various Industries
A wide range of businesses from all industries hire freelance writers. As well as larger organizations, small businesses and bloggers always need fresh content. Web design agencies, for example, are constantly on the look out for content because they work with a variety of clients.
Remember that content buyers need content that speaks to a specific audience, so find out exactly who you’re writing for first. To consistently create effective content for clients in different industries, keep in mind these five key principles:
- Always write a clear introduction and have an end goal in mind that you can include in the conclusion. What is the main message you want to get across?
- Deliver on your headline. If you mention something in the headline, make sure you thoroughly address this specific issue in the article.
- Be aware of the client’s audience. Pay particular attention to specifically who the content is intended for and what information the client wants to get across.
- Use an appropriate tone. Different industries use different language styles. Look at relevant industry websites to see how they speak to their audience. Do they use formal or informal language? Do they use technical jargon? Are the sentences and paragraphs short or long?
- Offer something valuable to the reader. For example, highlight new industry studies, offer a fresh perspective on a topic, or teach the audience something new. Useful content answers the key questions that the audience has. Use industry research, statistics, and quotes to back up your main points.
Over to You
Many content buyers want topical, well-researched content because they know it will be more attractive to their target audience. It gives content more credibility, it is naturally more shareable, and it can also give any business blog a huge traffic boost.
For these reasons, trending topics are a great place to start if you’re stuck for content ideas as a writer. Research may be more time-consuming, but it helps you stand out as a freelance writer. Use these tips to improve your reputation, add new depth to your writing skills, and hopefully boost your earnings in the years ahead.