At every single writers’ conference I attend, and this year I attended a lot of them, I hear the same question, either when on a panel or in one-on-one meetings: “What are the trends you see in the market?” My answer is always the same:
“I have no idea.”
Helpful, huh? But in reality, tracking trends is something that most often is done in hindsight. Unless you’re a marketing pro, watching a gazillion sources every day, measuring those sources with formulas that put NASA scientists to shame, tracking current trends with any kind of accuracy is extremely difficult.
There are those serendipities that take place—unexpected moments that give us a glimpse into people’s hearts and struggles. Such a serendipity happened this week for one of my clients, Susan Basham. She posted an article on ProdigalMagazine.com about something that happened to her at Starbuck’s. And about her initial—then her God-infused—response. (I’ll post the link at the end of this blog so you can read all about it.) She thought it was a nice article, as did I. A nice learning moment for her and those she shared it with. But the response was, in a word, astounding.
To say Susan’s article struck a chord is the mother of all understatements. The response is a testimony to her instincts and skill as a writer. I love that! But the response tells us something else, too.
By the end of the day her article appeared online, she had 55,000 shares. Yes, 55 THOUSAND. A day later, these were the share numbers:
173K on Facebook
431 on Twitter
329 on Pinterest
86 on email
32 on Google+
174K on Share
One more day, and the numbers were:
294K on Facebook
605 on Twitter
541 on Pinterest
144 on email
74 on Google+
296K on Share
I just checked today, Tuesday, and it’s still growing. More than 360K shares! All of which is great for Susan and her platform. But beyond that, it’s great for all of us, because if you read the comments on her article, and if you read what people say on all those outlets where they shared the link, guess what you can find?
Yup. Trends. Specifically, the issues, concerns, hurts, and longings burning in people’s hearts and minds. And those are, at the core, what we need to write to. Those, my friends, are the kinds of trends we need to address in our stories and messages. Those are the needs we can try to meet with the words and truths God gives us.
So when I’m at the Maranatha writers’ conference (starting Wednesday), you can be sure that when the question about trends comes, I won’t have to say “I don’t have a clue” any longer. Instead, I’m going to tell people to visit Susan’s article on ProdigalMagazine.com. And then to take a look at all those outlets to find the comments, stories, and blogs that have struck a seemingly universal chord. Because that’s where we’ll find the soul-deep trends affecting the people around us.
And those are the trends that matter most.
Here is the link to Susan’s article: “She Yelled and Called Me Names”