One thing that draws BIG traffic is current news, trends and buzz.
The mainstream media is basically doing the work for you! All you have to do is create content about the topic, because people will definitely be searching for it online.
It's one of the easiest ways to write content that is good Link Bait (or "share bait"), and that has the potential to go viral.
So how do you find out "What's Hot?" I'll give you links & tips for getting the scoop, and some creative examples of ways you can tie these into your niche and content...
Finding Breaking News, Buzz and Current Trends
Here are just a few sites to get you started:
Trending Topics on Twitter is a good resource as well. You'll find it in the sidebar of your Twitter account. (The screenshot above was taken 9/12/2012)
You can also do a search for niche or topic-specific news. If you have a site about Great Danes for example, Google "great dane news." If you have a site about beach vacations, Google "beach news" - and of course report on any major hurricanes or other natural disasters that affect beach areas.
Bookmark these resources, and any you find in your own topical research, and refer to them daily. Better yet, put them in your feed reader, so you can keep a closer eye on them! You never know when that one hot story is going to break that could bring you a flood of highly targeted web traffic.
Getting The Most Traffic With "Hot Topics"
News and Trending Topics tend to get top priority in search results, and they often "trend" on social media sites like Twitter. Leveraging these stories gives you an advantage for mass exposure.
The first step is to make sure you properly optimize your blog post. Since keyword research tools give historical keyword data, and not current, you'll have to be intuitive and simply optimize for the main name or topic of the news/trend.
Google gives you great suggestions with the "related searches" line below the headlines on their Google Hot Searches page.
Your headline will be the most important element of your post, as it will dramatically affect your click-through rate. Crafting a funny, shocking, or thought provoking headline will result in the most traffic.
Be sure to hit Social Media as well, and on Twitter you'll want to use appropriate hashtags. Refer to the Trends block on Twitter and/or use the search box to locate relevant hashtags to use in your tweets.
Monetizing "Buzz" Traffic
Ideally you will use these Buzz posts to increase your readers and subscribers, but some hot topics are only good for short-term bursts of traffic. Consider the best ways you can monetize this particular traffic, and use a strong call-to-action in your post.
If it's a loose tie-in, and the traffic won't be targeted enough to convert your own offers, be sure to monetize these posts with Google Adsense.
Note: Adsense tends to get a higher CTR (click through rate) from search traffic than from your regular readers.
Getting Creative With The Buzz: What's Your Angle?
The key is to look for stories relevant to your niche, OR to come up with a creative tie-in that *makes* it relevant to your niche. As I mentioned above, a great headline is key. Having a good angle is what brings the viewers.
As I write this post, the story of "The Topless Photos of Kate Middleton" is being discussed everywhere across the web. Using Google Hot Searches I can see that the keyword phrases people are using (over a million so far) are: Kate Middleton, Kate Middleton photos, Kate Middleton topless photos, Kate Middleton Nude.
If you chose to use this particular headline story, your "angle" would depend on the topic of your blog - and your objective...
"Buzz Content" Ideas & Examples
Modern Parenthood, on CSmonitor.com, used the Kate Middleton story to tie in to teen sexting and they lead in to a parenting quiz:
Let's say I wanted to tie this story in to my low carb blog. Next, I Google "Kate Middleton diet" and guess what I find? She used the Dukan Diet, which has some similarities to Atkins & low carb - and would be a very easy tie-in for me on TravelingLowCarb.com (Kate was even traveling when these photos were taken!).
See how easy that was?
There is always news, and there will always be hot topics and trending stories. Consider how you can leverage those, and tie them in as relevant content on your blog. The mass media does the work for you - they get people interested and searching. All you have do to is create and optimize the content...
Get creative with it and have fun!