07 Jan How to Keep Up With Online Trends For Free
Keeping up with online trends is crucial to keeping your brand fresh and relevant.
But if you’re a busy business owner or entrepreneur, then it can be difficult to find the time to identify and research oncoming trends in your industry. Not to mention that online monitoring tools can be very expensive to subscribe to — not ideal if you’re a startup with a small budget.
Think of this post as a cheat sheet: we’ve compiled a list of free resources that can help you keep up with online trends. Read on to find out more.
Recommended reading: 10 Of The Best SEO Tools You Need To Try Now
Subscribe to industry blogs and news sites
If you find it difficult to pencil in time sifting through all of the content online, trying to find out new trends and patterns for yourself, why not find someone that has already done the heavy lifting for you?
Content curation blogs and sites are a great option for discovering online trends and news, and they’re free too!
Find the top blogs and news sites in your industry or niche, and subscribe to them. They will regularly release useful posts and information that will help you stay on trend. Most of these sites will have a dedicated team of expert writers or bring in guest bloggers to talk on a specific subject.
Spend a few hours every week reading and keeping up to date with the latest posts — use RSS feeds to save time and gather headlines from sites.
These sites will probably do an email newsletter that rounds up their key points, tells you about new posts. Newsletters keep you in the loop about all of the latest developments, so make sure you sign up to these too.
Apply what you’ve learned to your own marketing and content campaigns. You can even write your own blog posts for your site or online store based on your findings, and share this newfound knowledge with your own followers.
Remember that if you’re going to curate content yourself, you make sure it’s valuable and relevant to your audience. Check each post’s sources and ensure that the content is trustworthy and correct, especially if you’re going to share stats. And don’t forget to link back to the original content creators — it’s only polite.
Listen to podcasts
Listening to podcasts is a fun and interesting way to keep your finger on the pulse when it comes to online trends.
There are many different podcasts out there, so you’re bound to find one that fits your style, interests, or niche.
If you’re looking for news and advice from the marketing industry, then check out Marketing Speak. Each episode focuses on a new marketing-related topic and features professional speakers and thought leaders who are experts in their niche. You can also search through the archives to find topics and episodes that are most relevant to your business.
This is just one example of many different podcasts you can listen to that will help you to keep up with online trends. For more business and marketing podcasts, have a look through this handy listicle. Find a podcast that suits you and you will enjoy listening to, and pencil some listening time into your calendar.
The beauty of podcasts is that you don’t have to listen to them while you’re in the office, and it’s easy to integrate them into your life. You can pop on an episode on your commute home, or listen while you’re cooking dinner or doing the washing up.
Keep an eye on influencers and your competition
One of the easiest ways of keeping up with online trends is by following market leaders, influencers and your competitors to see what they are talking about.
First, you need to establish who these big names are in your industry. You may already have a rough idea of who the key players are (for example, if you’re in marketing and SEO, you probably already follow Neil Patel and Rand Fishkin), and who provides the most useful and up-to-date information.
If you don’t already, follow them on social media to see what they are sharing, posting or retweeting, and who they are interacting with — these could be other field experts that would be worth following too. You’ll also be able to see what their followers think and how well their posts are being received. Reviewing audience responses is useful to gauge if it is worth your time investing in exploring a trend.
If they have an email newsletter, you can subscribe to this too for regular updates. They may also have a regularly updated YouTube channel like Gary Vee, who posts new videos daily.
Set up keyword notifications
Once you’ve established who the key influencers and big names are in your industry, you can set up notifications so that you get regular updates when they post new content.
You can also set up alerts for keywords and terms so that if a topic that you’re interested in is discussed/written about, you will receive a message, email or alert.
Google Alerts allows you to monitor the web and create an RSS feed or email notifications so that you can easily find the information and news that you need. This handy tool lets you set options like regions, language sources and the frequency at which you’ll get alerted.
There are other tools like this, but Alerts is easy to use and free, so it makes sense — particularly if you’re trying to decide if this is the right content-gathering method for you.
Monitor social media channels: check trending sections
By leaving comments unanswered, especially ones that include questions and complaints, you give off the impression that you do not care about your followers- and this impression is not just felt by the commenters themselves, but by everyone who reads the unanswered comments too. Ensure that you spend some time each day responding to messages and comments, being as authentic as possible.
Social media channels are an awesome way of checking the latest news and online trends. Social media isn’t all about marketing strategy — keeping a steady eye on what is going on in your industry means you will stay abreast of current topics.
As we’ve mentioned before, you should be following any thought leaders and experts in your niche. But you can also discover general trending topics in other ways.
Each social media platform has a way you can discover trends:
- Twitter: there are two ways of discovering trends on Twitter. ‘Moments’ is a curated list of daily news and trending stories which comes with a brief explanation and tweets. ‘Trends for you’ (only available for those with Twitter accounts) features stories based on your location and following habits, making it more relevant for the user
- Facebook: Facebook’s ‘Trending’ section has recently been removed by the social media giant but they are apparently working on an alternative. In the meantime, you can use your social media monitoring tool if you have one
- Youtube: The video platform has a ‘Trending’ videos section on its main menu (on the left-hand side). You can also change your location to discover trending videos in other countries — great if you’re trying to appeal to a global audience
- Instagram: Insta’s search page is full of popular videos from around the world
Check these regularly for any new information and trending topics, but remember that these sections do tend to be tailored to your interests; you’ll need to change your settings for other locational trends.
The end of the year is upon us, and the internet is already starting to fill up with predictions for next year’s online trends, regardless of whichever industry you work in. Begin gathering useful sites, posts, and content that will help you to keep up with trends and developments, and get 2019 off to a good start.