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How to Quickly Create Endlessly Successful & Shareble Content with BuzzSumo

by Workshop Team   |   Feb 21, 2014

With the ever increasing pressure to create and deliver epic content in a timely fashion savvy content marketers have discovered and are utilizing a new content marketing tool called BuzzSumo to help them accelerate their creation and outreach process.

While BuzzSumo might not be the only arrow in your quiver, it is certainly one of the more powerful ones. Let's look at some quick ways to use this new tool to:

  • Quickly discover trending content & historically popular content in any niche
  • Quickly discover popular content on any domain
  • Perform quick content gap analysis
  • Find the popular social networks your audience is active on
  • Identify influencers who will share your epic content
  • Quickly create and save influencer lists

How to Discover Successful Trending Content

Want to ride the #trending wave? Set your filter to 24 hours and enter your keyword.

Want to do a quick content curation post? Set your filter to Weekly and enter your keyword.

How To Quickly Discover Successful Content on Domains

It used to be that in order to gain an understanding of popular content a marketer would have to read, read, read, and read a little more (and perhaps more aimlessly than anyone of them might readily admit) in order to get a sense of what was really successful and share-worthy in a given niche.

With the invention of content marketing tools like BuzzSumo your consumption of content can be done in a much more targeted and efficient fashion.

While you can (and should) use BuzzSumo to discover successful content across a wide variety of domains, I’ve had the most success identifying major blogs and then studying the particular pieces of content that were the most successful.

Getting Started: Google search for top blogs

If you have no idea of your current space, the simplest thing to do is Google “[keyword] top blogs.” For example, top car blogs, top auto blogs. Also, top 10 car blogs, top 25 auto blogs, &c, &c. Review a few of the entries, then save the list (I rarely go beyond 5-8 domains) to a Google doc so you can regularly return to it and vet the entries.

Enter the Domain into BuzzSumo

Since we are taking the wide view here, set date range to previous 6 months and select all content. The result shows the most popular content by total shares. It looks amazing, but in order to make it even more useful, we will want to export to CSV. Regardless of whether you are conducting a content audit of the space where you can easily discover 500+ pages of content for one query, or even using the tool on major sites like (see screenshot above), we almost certainly want to export to CSV.

Where Is My Audience & What Are They Talking About?

So you have a massive excel spreadsheet. What can you see?

Two important things: (1) the type of content (video, article, guest blog, infographic) that is receiving the most shares and (2) the medium where most of the social activity is occurring. (Note: if you are short on time you can elect to set these filters from BuzzSumo's interface without exporting them.)

This quickly instructs you (and the client) as to which types of content you want to invest in, and begins to shape the contours of your content marketing strategy. If content is successful on Facebook, or Facebook and Twitter, but not Google+ you know where to spend your time (and possibly money) promoting.

I like to segment these content types out across individual tabs in excel, quickly showing me which type of content performs the best, and top performers within each content type. Of course, you can further segment. At this point we have essentially answered our questions about what type of content our audience is consuming and where they are consuming it. Now all you have to do is create the next piece of amazing content; easy right?

Of course not. But it is much easier. Now, you can quickly start to create topics based upon titles that grab your attention. This is like having a brainstorm with only the best ideas circulating around your head.

How To Do a Quick Content Gap Analysis with BuzzSumo

While looking at top performing content is important, it is equally important to examine content that didn’t have explosive social shares.

Pivoting back to @Jalopnik, there were 11 infographics produced (or newsjacked) on the site for the 6 month period that I scraped, compared to literally thousands of blog articles. Bottling the incredulity and angst directed towards under-researched and poorly designed infographics for a moment, we can ask a quick question about them.

Jalopnik top 3 Infographics vs top 3 blogs

Is this a true content gap or does it suggest that infographic content is not particularly successful with Jalopnik’s indigenous audience? Look at the top 3 blogs from Jalopnik and there is a marked difference between the social success of the two forms of content.

It is also important to note that you might have gone into a content campaign planning phase with the supposition that since automotive audiences love to look at pictures of cars, they might be have a predilection for exclusively visual content, which would lead you to video and infographics. The data you are able to turn up using BuzzSumo as an investigative tool helpfully complicates that theory to say the least. (As another aside, the "activity" on Goolge Plus is pretty damning. Facebook and Twitter appear to be doing the heavy lifting, but that is a tale for another day.)

However, it might also be the case that the infographics featured on this domain can be improved upon, and present an opportunity for our content marketers to create a noteworthy piece.

I also notice an absence of list posts like “18 Ways the New Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Stuns Us.” So again, there is a question: are these posts not successful or can they be done better? All of this goes to show how BuzzSumo aids in getting you to to important junctures in your research phase in a very accelerated fashion.

Identify the Influencers Who Already Love Your Epic Content

After you have created your piece of epic content that is ready to rack up tweets, increase your facebook audience, and take the Internet by storm, you need to take the all-important step of actually ensuring that the audience discovers your piece of work. Riffing off popular content or filling a content gap goes a long way towards increasing your chances for success, but it is all for naught if you don't identify the people who helped spread awareness for the content in the first place.

And this is where BuzzSumo becomes even more valuable. Not only does it show you popular content, it shows you who contributed to that content's social success.

And they make it simple. All you have to do is click “View Sharers” button next to each article,

To start with, I like to sort by reply ratio and retweet ratio to begin to obtain an idea of how interactive a particular user is. Average retweets advises of the "average number of retweets that user gets per tweet." So if someone has a higher retweet ratio that's good, but if their average retweets percentage is also high, that bodes well for chances of amplification. To really increase your chances of success on twitter, analyze some of these users in Followerwonk to find out when they are active, and also when their followers are active.

Links Shared by Users

For example, let’s look at since they have a retweet ratio of 34%. At first glance, it seems like you might have a fair chance at obtaining a retweet from them. Using BuzzSumo’s "View Links Shared", we can obtain a better understanding of their actual re-tweeting and sharing habits.

BuzzSumo notes that the links shared by users “[I]s not an exhaustive list of everyone that shared the article, but a sampling of people who shared this article 2-3 days after it was published. In most cases, this usually covers a large % of the sharers.”

Analyze Shared Links

So, what is Motor Trend tweeting and re-tweeting? Mostly Motor Trend content. Keep in mind that when you are analyzing a large domain with an established audience, often times you will need to dig deeper to find influencers. The great thing about BuzzSumo is that you can still find plenty of people with a good number of followers and a promising amount of social shares who spread content from these highly authoritative sites.

So let’s find another example, like this one whose retweet ratio (22%) and reply ratio (30%) that suggest he is approachable: This user has a much more heterogeneous link sharing profile. Not surprisingly, he is a journalist, someone you might naturally expect to sit at the nexus of many information streams and liberally disseminate articles he finds informative and entertaining. This is a likely candidate for someone you would want to reach out to, which brings me to my next and final point.

Create Outreach Target Lists Directly from BuzzSumo

What is also great about this tool is that it lets you create new twitter lists and add these outreach targets directly from the interface. This helps keep your process light and agile and maybe even frees up some space on your tool belt.

Get In The Dojo and LEVEL UP

BuzzSumo is an important stride from making content creation decisions based upon intuition (innocuous in itself, but perhaps less than efficient), to creating content based upon the more powerful marriage of data and intuition.

Workshop Team