Writing blogs, social media posts, creating infographics…it’s all a day in the life of a content marketer.
But what, oh what, do you say? How do you create fresh ideas for new content? What if you’re in a niche industry and you feel like you’re tapping the tank dry for ideas?
Enter: Google Trends.
It’s been around since 2006, watching all the top searches and clicks that we make on their search engine. It tracks them but gives us back info that can be oh-so-valuable in creating unique content your users are hungry for.
You can even sort Google Trends by category, or just browse the top-hit news as of late. As of this publishing, Kim Kardashian and Taylor Swift are trending (for some reason — I haven’t checked the news yet today), as well as the World Cup’s kickoff. Curious what was trending nearly 20 years ago? No worries — Google Trends offers a look at trending topics as far back as 2001.
As someone who works in healthcare marketing, the health category is a helpful place to browse to see what kind of topics people are searching. For example, after actor Robin Williams’ untimely death in 2014, Williams’ widow wrote about his suicide as a possible result of Lewy body dementia in a neurology journal. Searches spiked for the condition. For healthcare content marketers, it was an opportunity to address a rare condition to help readers answer their questions.
Using Google Trends to drive your marketing
While Google Trends is a great place to see what’s going on around the world — what interests other people have, what topics are trending and why, what’s making headlines, and so on — it’s also a valuable place to harvest ideas for marketing.
First and foremost, Google Trends is a great place to capitalize on blog topics and categories. Whether you tie your blogs directly to topics, or reference topics to brainstorm new ideas, Trends is a helpful place to start if you’re stumped. HubSpot’s blog idea generator to get your creative juices flowing.
Taking my “ketogenic diet” screenshot example from above, as a healthcare content marketer (or nutritionist, or fitness guru), you could build blogs or articles of the following:
- Expert Opinion: The Pros and Cons of the Ketogenic Diets
- Compare: Differences Between Ketogenic Diet and Whole30
- The Best Keto-friendly Cookie Recipes (They Do Exist!)
- 5 Tips for Starting the Ketogenic Diets
- Reader Input: How Ketogenic Diets Effect Different People
Videos and podcasts
Video marketing is on the rise, now becoming one of the preferred media for younger generations to access information. The post-Millennial (“Generation Z”) generation has taken to video like ducks to water, engaging with YouTube as either young vloggers (video bloggers) themselves, or interacting with their favorite brands on platforms like YouTube. Tap this trend by creating videos — if it’s appropriate to your brand message — around trending topics.
Likewise, podcasts are only a click away for most people, especially on mobile devices. If you can find the time to create podcasts, audio interviews, or other video and audio-friendly content, take the leap!
Again, taking the ketogenic diet example from above, how could we turn this into video or audio?
- Podcast (doctor interview): Is Ketogenic Diet Right for Me?
- Podcast (dietician interview): Best Keto Foods On the Market
- Video: Keto & Coffee — Best and Worst Options for Keto Dieters
- Video: 3 Easy Keto-friendly Recipes for Success
- Video: 5 Great Exercises that Work with the Ketogenic Diet
Tie your video, audio, blogging, and other formats (i.e., infographics) to your social campaigns. Post and post often. Use trending hashtags (also available on Twitter) to tie your audiences together with topics that interest them today.
Even Google Trend topics can be evergreen content
About a year or so ago, I wrote a blog for my company about how hospitals and health systems can use the Pokemon Go! craze to attract families to their campus. Because the healthcare industry has been pivoting its focus to wellness rather than “sick care,” I thought this was a great way to jump on the Pokemon Go! craze while also inspiring hospitals to create family-friendly events for their courtyards and playgrounds.
But that content didn’t age well. Yes, Pokemon Go! is still a thing, but it’s lost quite a bit of steam. Rather than writing an article surrounding Pokemon Go! (like I did), I should have used the mobile game experience as an example instead of a focal point of how hospitals can look outside their walls to sponsor events.
As a content marketer, you know evergreen content is some of the best content you can have — it ages well, or doesn’t age at all. Consider, as you write content around trending topics, how your media can be evergreen, too, by altering the direction or focal point of your article, rather than on the trending topic.
Google Trends is a valuable starting point to know what makes us tick and click.
More than anything, Google Trends can deliver great content ideas right to your doorstep. Take a few minutes, poke around, jot some ideas, and see if it’s the kick in the pants you need to crank up your content marketing.