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16 Free Online Tools to Help You Find Trending Content

February 26, 2015

8:00 pm

Whether you’re trying to find the latest trending content as part of your job, or simply trying to stay relevant, the Internet can sometimes be an almost too-expansive world; with so many different websites and social networks out there, it can get a little confusing as to what to use when trying to pin down the latest viral trends. For those of us who are content creators, social media specialists, or community managers, staying on top of today’s trending content is essential to our survival: we need to have a firm knowledge on what’s relevant in our society, in order to ensure that we can contribute something to those conversations. Realizing this need, we’ve compiled 16 different online tools and resources that you can use to help you remain aware of the latest trending topics.

The following list was inspired by the recently published Medium piece “300 Awesome Free Things” which listed various, free, online resources and tools that statups can utilize to operate their businesses. Among them, a handful of online resources were listed for finding relevant content on trending topics. We took some of those things, added a few of our own, and created the list of 16 below. One or two of the tools are focused more on helping content creators come up with relevant, trending content, but still fits in with the overall theme of trying to stay current with trends.

Stay on top of today’s trending topics with these 16 free online tools:

BuzzFeed Trending

buzzfeed-trending

If you’re trying to find some of the most recent and interesting trending content making the Internet rounds, then there’s nothing better than checking out BuzzFeed’s trending posts. Sure, it can sometimes be filled with list articles replete with GIFs, but nonetheless BuzzFeed’s editorial staff makes sure to stay on top of trending news items: from things going in Congress, to whether Kim Kardashian has paid her selfie retoucher, yet. And, I mean, it’s a great resource to help you come up with other content for your own site or brand.

BuzzSumo

buzzsumo

BuzzSumo is a great online platform that helps you determine what kind of content has done well in the past year per whatever specific topic. So, for instance, a search for “pokemon” will show you results for the most-shared web content in the past year relevant to the topic of Pokemon. This gives you an idea on the kind of future content to create. With Pokemon, it seems that online quizzes tend to fare well, so the logical thing to do would be to create a similar type of quiz in the future if you want that content to be highly-shareable. BuzzSumo lets you narrow your search to the content in the past month, week, or day, to show you the most recent, popular content surrounding a topic, as well as sort the results per the type of content (e.g., article, infographic, video, etc.). They offer premium services, but the free tool is great on its own.

Facebook Trending

facebook

While Facebook’s little trending sidebar initially served as a major annoyance to many years when it was first released (and, actually, may still be an annoyance for users), it’s a highly valuable resource when trying to figure out what the world is talking about. Taking into consideration Facebook’s position as the top social network in the world – with more than 1.35 billion active users every month – you got to believe that it will provide you an accurate count on what topics or content are trending.

Google+ What’s Hot

google-plus-whats-hot

So, many us may not be active users of Google’s social network, but Google+ actually provides its own version of presenting trending topics. The page offers you different ways to explore trending content or relevant communities. You can look at what hashtags are trending (including searching for any that aren’t featured as a trending hashtag) and determine whether there’s been an increase or decrease in social activity regarding that topic. The page also features popular posts, interesting people and pages to follow, and even suggests communities that Google+ believes are relevant to you.

Google Trends

google-trends

One of the most undervalued yet best tools for tracking trending content and topics across the Internet, Google Trends looks at the trends in Google searches around the world. Considering that most people use Google for Internet search, Trends provides a pretty accurate gauge on what is or isn’t hot right now. What makes Trends so great, though, is its visualizer, which shows you a visual display on how any particular search term has done over time. For example, looking at “Kim Kardashian butt”, we see from the visualizer that there was a huge spike in Google searches for that key phrase in November (around the time when Paper Magazine released those now-infamous pictures).

Hacker News

hacker-news

Hacker News is definitely more targeted towards those whose beat is in technology or startups, but it’s a valuable resource nonetheless. It’s simple layout can seem to be intimidating at first, since it gives off the persona of being more technical than it is, but it’s actually really easy to navigate. Hacker News has an upvote feature in place, allowing user to vote for cool or interesting content that’s posted to the site. To find what’s most interesting to people, simply look at the number of upvotes on a post; there’s no way to re-sort it by number of upvotes (which is a bummer), but it’s still pretty great.

Hubspot Blog Topic Generator

hubspot-blog-topic-generator

If you’ve already got content in mind that you want to write, but just don’t know what the content will look like, HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator can you give you some inspiration. By putting in three different nouns (representing the idea or story you want to pursue), the tool will give you a few examples of the type of content you could produce. For example, I used “iPhone”, “Doctor Who”, and “Mindy Lahiri” as three possible topics I want to write about, and HubSpot suggested a few different articles I could produce.

NewsWhip

newswhip

NewsWhip is seriously fantastic. The platform tracks millions of stories, pictures, and videos every day from more than 100,000 different source. Every two minutes, they check up on changes to how often or how fast certain content is being shared on the Internet. They have a premium tool, but their News App is free to use, and still shows you the most relevant content that you should definitely know about.  .

Portent’s Title Maker

portent

Similar to Hubspot’s Blog Topic Generator, Portent’s Title Maker essentially wants to help you nail down a title that can make your content go viral. By simply inserting the topic on which you want to write, it suggests a title and angle on which you should write, along with a breakdown on the explanations behind the words it uses or the format of the title. Of course, the goal is really to focus on the title format rather than the contents of the actual title it gives you (since they sometimes just don’t make any sense – The Mindy Project and a filibuster…?)

Product Hunt

producthunt

Another tool that’s really aimed towards those in the tech or startup beat, Product Hunt is an amazing resource to keep you on top of what people are talking about. It works on an upvote system, and unlike Hacker News, products listed on Product Hunt move up or down per their number of upvotes. Every day, you can check out what’s trending most on the site, offering you ideas on what to produce content around. Often, trending things on Product Hunt produce some of the most viral content on the Internet.

Reddit

reddit

One of the best places to discover trending content around the Internet. From articles and memes, to jokes and recent world news, Reddit aggregates trending content making the Internet rounds. Posts are upvoted or downvoted, which pushes the most popular content to the top of its front page. Many people create content around the stuff that they find on Reddit, and many of the Internet’s most viral memes originated from the site.

Swayy

swavy

After linking your brand’s Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts, Swayy analyzes the type of content your share and the types of communities in which you engage, and then suggests relevant content for you. You also have the option to add topics for which you’re interested, and the platform will further suggest popular online content. Swayy is free for one person in your brand. You can add additional dashboards for more people, but you’ll have to pay a premium price.

Topsy

A simple-to-use social analytics platform, Topsy gives you social media insight on such things like key influencers, data analytics, and web traffic. Using the basic features (without having to log-in), you can easily find the latest top content on the Internet. If you log-in with your Facebook or Twitter account, you gain those additional features. You’ll also have access to alert settings, for which Topsy will alert you when there are specific mentions of your brand, event, name, site, or favorite topic being talked about on Twitter. Topsy also offers a Google Trends-like visualizer for social mentions on a particular keyword.

Twitter Trending

twitter

Really the first social network to get on top of trending topics across the Internet, Twitter is one of the top resources for discovering trending content online. Not only can you look at what’s being said around any given hashtag or keyword, Twitter’s algorithm has drastically improved over time to show you trending contents that it thinks is most relevant to you or your brand. If you want, yo can opt to have Twitter stop providing you with these tailored trends and instead search for trends per certain criteria (including sorted by location).

Quora

quora

Hardly anyone I know uses Quora, which is really a shame. It’s a community of people who specialize in their specific fields and industries, providing knowledge to people who want to learn more on anything from woodworking to venture capital. Quora is a great place to inspiration for the next big trending content piece, as well as for pinning down what people are actually interested in right now. As certain topics become popular in offline and online discussions, you’ll see a similar shift in discussions towards those same topics on Quora. On Quora, you can subscribe to specific feeds that interest you, as well as follows certain questions or topics that people post, and stay updated on how the community responds.

What’s Trending

whats-trending

What’s Trending is a website dedicated to showing you…well…what’s trending. The site shows you content across the Internet that are currently trending, content that’s trending in real-time, and offers predictions on what they believe is going to be the next big thing.

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Ronald Barba is the managing editor of Tech.Co. His primary story interests include industry trends, consumer-facing apps/products, the startup lifestyle, business ethics, diversity in tech, and what-is-this-bullsh*t things. Aside from writing about startups and entrepreneurship, Ronald is interested in 'Doctor Who', Murakami, 'The Mindy Project', and fried chicken. He is currently based in New York because he mistakenly studied philosophy in college and is now a "writer". He also likes to cook things; you can check out all the noms on his Instagram. Email Ronald ([email protected]) or tweet @RonaldPBarba. You can also subscribe to him on Facebook or find him on Google.

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