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7 Ways To Improve Your Content Marketing with Insights from BuzzSumo

To be effective as a content marketer you need knowledge and insights. You need to know what content topics are hot, what is trending, what type of content is being shared, who the key influencers are for your area and how your competitors are doing. The difficulty we all have as content marketers is that things change and quickly, it can be hard to keep up. The real danger is complacency as the future is not what it was.

There are lots of different free tools you can use to track and monitor developments across the different social networks, I personally use Topsy for Twitter, Allmyplus for Google Plus, Hootsuite to track feeds and publish, and I am still struggling to find the best way to track content activity on LinkedIn. There is no shortage of content marketing tools, Doug Kessler recently listed over 100 content marketing tools. However, what I really want is a practical tool that makes my life easier by providing insights across all social networks not lots of different tools. That is why I was impressed with BuzzSumo (so impressed I subsequently got involved with the project).

Buzzsumo is a search and analytics tool which is focused on content. You can find the most shared content by topic, by domain or by author. It also helps youunderstand what content formats are working and who is amplifying the content. It searches across all the main social networks. Below are seven ways in which the insights from BuzzSumo can make you more effective as a content marketer.

1. Knowledge of what is hot and trending across platforms

As a content marketer you need to know what the trends are in your area and what is currently hot. With BuzzSumo you simply type in the area you are interested in, hit search and it will produce a ranked list of content that is currently being shared most. Below is a search for ‘content marketing’ and the top two results. BuzzSumo shows me the number of shares across the main social platforms and allows me to reorder by popularity on the platform.


I can also filter by type of content and by date such as the last week or last 24 hours. There is a left hand panel where you can do this, see below. Thus BuzzSumo makes it very easy for me to see what content is hot in a particular area and how it has been shared across the main social networks.

buszzsumo filter


2. Content research for an article

When you are researching an article as a content marketer, you not only need to do research on the subject but make sure the article you are writing is unique. It is incredibly helpful to be able to see current articles on the topic you are writing about and how they compare. You can then adjust your copy, change your headline, and provide a new angle or perspective. I am currently writing an article on landing pages and hence I searched BuzzSumo for articles that have been shared over the last week. I immediately get a list of latest articles being shared. I can see the headline, the website and I can click straight through to read the article.

I can also see the relative popularity of the articles and how they were shared on the different networks. This type of information makes it much easier for me to write an article which fits with current areas of interest, to make sure it is unique from current content and to make sure it is distributed on the right platforms.

3. Research and analyze content types

With BuzzSumo you can search by content type. Thus if like me you want to know about trends you might want to quickly look at the latest infographics for a particular area. You can do this simply by choosing the infographic filter option on the left. Below is the search I did for marketing trends which immediately picked up a batch of infographics on 2014 marketing trends that I can review.

buzzsumo trends

4. Research and analyze headlines

BuzzSumo shows you the headlines for each piece of content and the popularity across platforms. I did a very general search for ‘marketing’ and the top posts had two forms of headline. The first two articles had number headlines eg “Five LinkedIn strategies” and the third article had an “How to ..” headline.   Thus I can start to see how headlines work across platforms, and what works best in a particular area. For example research and survey headlines appear to do better on LinkedIn than Twitter from my BuzzSumo searches. buzzsumo-headlines

5. Research and engage influencers

Influencers are key in making content go viral. Thus you need to know who are they, how best to engage them and where to find them. On BuzzSumo you can switch to the influencer tab and do a search. Below is a search for influencers in “b2b marketing”. I can quickly see who they are, their Twitter name and website address. I can also look at levels of engagement. For example, Jon Miller in this example has a much higher reply ratio and may indicate someone more likely to involved in active dialogue with their network.

buzzsumo influencers

6. Analyze what is working for your competitors

I probably spend less time than I should looking at my competitors. I can look at their twitter accounts or search Topsy for shares on Twitter but what about their wider activity. BuzzSumo makes this easy, I just type in their domain and I can see the content on their site that is being shared currently. In the example below I searched for I have just shown some of the shares so you can see the headlines. buzzsumo-ibm

I can see what content is being shared and what headlines they are using. The first article is a developer wiki that has only been shared on LinkedIn. The next two are about lean enterprise and smarter cities. Interestingly the second is being shared mainly in LinkedIn whereas as the third is being shared almost exclusively on Facebook and the fourth result on Linux is mainly being shared on Google Plus. This may reflect the type of content or it may suggest IBM are deliberately targeting different platforms for different stories.

7. Find content to share and curate

Nothing is easier on BuzzSumo than finding content to share or curate. I can just search for say articles, interviews or infographics. In this example I searched for “LinkedIn B2B marketing” as I want to share content around this theme. buzzsumo linked marketing BuzzSumo finds me the popular content, which I can review and decide to share. One advantage of BuzzSumo is that you can see the platforms where content is not being shared much. In the example here, the second article which is about LinkedIn and B2B marketing has been shared over 100 times on Twitter but only 13 times on LinkedIn. If you find examples like this where content has not been shared on certain platforms you could be first to introduce that content to a new network rather than reshare content that has already been widely shared on the platform already.

In summary, BuzzSumo looks like it could be a great practical tool for content marketers. It is currently in beta and currently free, so register now and try it out. Let me know if you agree or if there are better tools in this space.

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  • Toby Crabtree's picture
    Nov 6 Posted 3 years ago Toby Crabtree

    Great insights on improving content marketing. The most important point to be focused is on researching for the content to be unique. This has great impact on the article.

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