This is my thought leadership summary of a top notch article by Single Grain Team. For access to the full article:

Before you even start brainstorming your thought leadership content ideas, it’s incredibly important to know what’s relevant to your niche or topic area. That starts with staying on top of industry-related news, trends and searches.

Single Grain Team recommends the following:

1. Use Google auto-fill, Google Keyword Planner, and Google Alerts

Google, it says, is ‘your best friend’ for trending topics and questions.

Kick off by taking advantage of Google’s autofill feature. This is a fantastic way to discover the trending topics and keywords your target audience is searching for. As long as you narrow down the keywords you want to focus on, autofill can suggest ideas or help you pivot in the right direction before you bunker down for additional research.

Google’s Keyword Planner is also a fantastic tool that you can use to compare keywords by search volume. While you need to register for a Google Adwords account to access the Planner, you don’t have to pay for any ads to actually use it – making it one of the most effective free keyword research tools out there.

Another handy Google feature is Alerts which can be set up to report on specific keywords directly to your inbox. Alerts can be set by result type, language, region, frequency, and volume.

2. Make use of Twitter search 

While searching keywords on any of the social media sites is a great way to stay on top of trending topics, Twitter is unique because it also lets you easily identify and follow other thought leaders within your industry. You can follow their tweets for ideas or simply keep track of what the competition is doing and one-up them.

According to the Single Grain Team, simply filter your search by ‘People’ and type away to find out what the most relevant Tweeters in your industry are doing.

3. Check out LinkedIn 

Over the past few years, LinkedIn has become one of the most respected social media sites for thought leaders. Featured LinkedIn pieces regularly attract tens of thousands of views in a single day, and a well-titled LinkedIn article is one of the fastest ways to gain a solid following and to establish a reputation as a true industry thought leader.

Regularly browsing through your LinkedIn profile is probably one of the best ways to see what business people like yourself are doing to get their name out there. It’s very easy to follow and keep track of influencers and the content they’re putting out to build their followings, which can help you in your own content creation process.

But LinkedIn also offers another distinct resource that all content marketers should be taking advantage of: LinkedIn Groups. LinkedIn members can join up to 50 groups free of charge. These groups are essentially forums for industry-specific discussion that you can use to keep track of trending topics, questions, and strategies.

 4. Browse through Quora

Quora is an audience marketplace for thought leaders looking to build a following.

The question and answer platform has a customizable feed that allows you to see what others are asking about and what responses they’re receiving. Blog posts that live on Quora are also automatically sent to the feeds of members who may be interested in what you have to say (and who can upvote what they read).

For example, if you wanted to learn how to build a better blog in order to attract a larger audience, all you’d have to do is ask. Someone will have an answer. Alternately, you can offer answers and slowly build up your presence as a thought leader while doing research for your next piece of content.

 5. Create an RSS feed for thought leadership content 

According to the Single Grain Team, Feedly is arguably the best RSS feed or aggregator out there right now, and is used regularly by some of the top marketers in the world, including Neil Patel. It’s a one-stop-shop for keeping up on trending topics at a glance, and is also a great way to follow sites (and not just people) in order to stay up-to-date on industry best practices. RSS is all about simplifying the way we view and digest content on the internet. Web pages are typically multimedia experiences, with multiple columns of images, text, and advertisements. An RSS feed of a page strips it down to the bare essentials — usually the main text content, main images, or in the case of podcasts and video channels, the content itself.

So if you need help staying abreast of what is being said on your niche topic, these recommendations from Single Grain Team’s are brilliant.  I use a number of these techniques, myself and so does my business partner, Trudy Rankin.

For those  of you who are interested in learning more about thought leadership, Parker Public Relations provides ongoing mentoring and coaching or you can book into one of our regular two-hour workshops.

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