How To Find The Latest Trends For Writing Articles
Words to Consider
Can you tell me who the first person was to break the four-minute mile in track and field? If you answered Roger Bannister you would be correct. Now, who was the second person to do so?
Chances are pretty good that you have no idea and that, quite simply, is the point of this article.
In the writing field, it is often said that by the time you write about a hot trend, a new one has taken its place. With that as a reference, wouldn’t it be lovely if you were able to predict new trends before everyone and their mother wrote about them? In other words, wouldn’t it be wonderful to be at that revolutionary period just before a trend begins, so that other writers are following in your footsteps rather than the other way around?
If I am one of the obedient sheep, today I should be writing about the suicides of musicians or the continuing debate about gun control. Either topic would garner me some reads and a modicum of interest. However, what if I was the first to write about a new trend or topic, or I gave in-depth coverage of a subject rarely written about just before it became big news?
Do you see what I am saying? One way is safe and easy. The other way requires some research and fore-sight but it may well render huge results. Read along and see if any of these techniques can help you spot trends before they happen.
England Swings like a Pendulum Do
My apologies to Roger Miller, but his lyric seemed like the perfect lead-in to this first tip.
If you are a writer in the United States, and to a lesser extent in other parts of the world, you should be paying attention to England, our neighbors “across the pond.” For whatever reason, England seems to be the birthplace of many new trends that occur here in North America. Shall I mention The Beatles? How about “The Office?” My goodness, folks, from romance novels to chick-lit to clothing, England seems to have its pulse on the latest in styles, literature and even off-beat bizarre culture. Pay attention to the Brits and learn what’s coming down the pike. They have been teaching us here in the States for over five hundred years. Obviously they know things we do not.
How Important Is Television?
Gee, I don’t know! Let’s see, the average American household has over three television sets in it. Americans watch, on average, over four hours of television each day, or 28 hours per week. Having said that, you can bet your bottom dollar that television executives have done some serious research before presenting you with the latest in programming.
Take a close look at the new offerings in September. Are there any new trends in the shows being presented? Remember that all it takes is one wildly successful tv series and you can count the minutes before ten clones of that series will appear. All we have to do is look at the success of shows on the Food Network to understand that success breeds success and it also breeds efforts to capitalize on that success.
Turn to Hollywood
What kinds of movies are in production? What under-funded indie film did really well lately? Again, success breeds success.
What about the classics? Which ones would appeal to today’s market? Remember, we have millions of Baby Boomers who are a viable audience for anything nostalgic. Can you spot a trend in the theaters that will play well to that demographic?
You can check industry magazines to find out about movies still in production. Those movies themselves may be worth writing about but they may also point to a new shift in production theory.
Flip Through the Catalogs and Magazines
How would you know a new trend even if you saw it? The simplest answer to that question is repetition. If you see a new idea start showing up in catalogs, there is a good chance it is a new trend and worth writing about. What is the hottest new toy on the market? Are there any clones of that toy coming out? How about new beauty products? New car technology?
The same can be said about magazines.
I love going to the supermarket and browsing the magazine rack. I look at story titles in a particular field, like fishing. Then I’ll look at a different fishing magazine and see if there are any similar stories. If so I may have just found a new trend.
What are the movie stars doing lately? Is there a trend you can spot among them?
YouTube is a great source
Newspapers and the Internet
Without a doubt the best source of information is the internet, followed closely by newspapers. The writers and editors have done most of your work for you. All that remains is for you to spot a trend in all of those articles.
I tend to look at articles that have a strong personal interest attached to them. I’m looking for a human connection that everyone will associate with. Last year I saw a small article about a man named Arthur Boorman, who lost a great amount of weight and overcame crippling injuries through the practice of yoga. I wrote an article about Boorman, concentrating on the personal aspects of the story, the struggles he went through and his refusal to give up. It was a great success. You can bet I’m always on the lookout for more stories like that one.
The internet has proven to be a birthing ground for new trends, so pay close attention to what is going on with Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other sites. There is even a new phrase called “Twitter Trends,” and that should tell you how influential social media is in any discussion of hot trends.
Talk to Your Kids
Do you have children? If so, ask them what is hot and what is not? I promise you, they will know. Somehow they have their finger on the pulse of all that is cool in the world, so you might as well tap into that resource while they are still living at home.
Did this article help you at all?
Open Your Eyes and Pay Attention
I’ve given you some suggestions. My best suggestion is to just pay attention. If you see an idea take root and appear several times, there is a good chance a new trend is forming and you need to be on top of it.
You can always check on Google Trends for assistance, but those just relate to what is trending for the day and may not help for long-term. You can find that site here.
By the way, the second person to break the four-minute mile was John Landy of Australia. He did it forty-six days after Bannister and his record stood for three years. Remember him? Of course you don’t.
Get out in front of the pack and race for the finish line. Be the first to discover a new trend rather than the one-thousandth to report about it.
2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)