By Neil Patel
I use a lot of different tools and various software for marketing.
But one of my absolute favorites is BuzzSumo.
I love it!
At this point, I consider it a linchpin useful for several different aspects of marketing.
And apparently I’m not alone.
Big name brands, such as TechRadar, TechTarget and even Rolling Stone magazine, use BuzzSumo to optimize their campaigns.
And because I tend to be compulsive about certain things, I’ve gotten into the habit of checking BuzzSumo every single day.
As you might imagine, I’ve come up with some pretty interesting insights along the way.
In this post, I’ll share with you what I learned from checking BuzzSumo every day for a month.
It’ll tell you, without a doubt, which influencers to target
One of the major selling points of BuzzSumo is it allows me to perform streamlined influencer research.
If you’re wondering whom to target for a guest post, brand endorsement, etc., BuzzSumo will let you know.
Here’s an example of how to use it.
From the dashboard, enter the topic or keyword you’re interested in.
In my case, it’s “digital marketing”:
This will show you which content has received the most shares.
But I want to take it one step further, so I’m going to click on “Content Analysis” at the top:
Scroll down a bit, and you’ll see a section called “Most Shared Domains by Network”:
This lets me know which publications, websites and blogs are getting the most shares, telling me how influential they are.
I also like the pie chart, quickly showing me how things stack up.
If I wanted to pitch a few brands with a guest-posting idea, I would want to aim for some of the top brands on the list, like Search Engine Land, Marketing Land, Social Media Today and so on.
But wait, there’s more.
Go back to the top, and click on “Influencers.”
Here’s what I get:
It’s a massive list of influencers along with accompanying key metrics such as their page authority, domain authority, follower count, etc.
I can literally find thousands of influencers in the digital marketing niche.
I can then reach out to any of them by visiting their website or contacting them on Twitter (BuzzSumo provides links to both).
I honestly can’t think of a more streamlined and efficient way to find the top influencers.
If influencer marketing is your bread and butter, BuzzSumo is a godsend.
You can see where competitors are getting their links from
Backlinks are everything.
It’s a toss up as to which is more important: content or links.
But I think we can all agree that the quality and relevancy of the sites linking to you impact your search rankings heavily.
One of my favorite features on BuzzSumo is “Backlinks.”
With a simple search, you can find out who’s linking to your competitors and which specific pieces of content those links are coming from.
Here’s how you do it.
First, click on “Backlinks” from your dashboard:
Now, enter the URL of the competitor you want to check out.
I’ll use Kissmetrics as an example:
Click on “Search.”
Voila! Just like that, I can see where their backlinks are coming from.
Here are just a few:
And I can take it one step further by checking the rest of the backlinks coming from a particular website.
Just look at “View [X] More Links”:
If you see that a particular site is linking to your competitor like crazy, this is a good indicator they may be willing to link to you as well.
This is helpful because it gives me plenty of ideas for backlink opportunities.
By knowing who’s most likely to link to content in my industry, I know to whom I should reach out and who’s most worth my time.
You can tell which topics are trending in your industry
Evergreen content is definitely important and serves its purpose.
In particular, I’m a fan of long-form evergreen pieces.
But as good as evergreen content is, it’s also important to cover the hot topics trending right now.
This is especially true for fast-moving niches like news and politics.
Striking while the iron is hot is a surefire way to bring attention to your brand and grow your audience.
And it just so happens that BuzzSumo is perfect for determining which topics are trending in your industry.
All it takes is a quick search.
You first want to go to your dashboard and filter by a recent date.
I usually look at content from the previous week, but a month or even 24 hours can work as well, depending on your industry.
Click on the filter you want to use:
Type in your keyword:
Now click “Search.”
Within seconds, I can see which topics are trending and the number of shares each piece of content has received:
The more engagement content receives, the more interested I am in it because people are obviously responding to it favorably.
I know for a fact this content is resonating with my audience at this particular moment.
If I create a similar post or skyscraper it, I’ve got a good chance of getting positive results.
And believe me, this beats the heck out of manually scouring the Internet, trying to figure out what’s working.
Going that route is incredibly arduous and labor intensive.
It also involves too much guesswork for my taste.
By using BuzzSumo, I know for sure what’s trending and have access to several helpful metrics, which means I’m basing my findings on concrete data—not just a hunch.
You can determine which content formats to use
This one’s a biggie.
Which content formats should you use to reach your audience most effectively?
You could always experiment and base your content strategy on speculation.
Or you could use data to guide your strategy.
Although I think most successful marketing campaigns do require a certain amount of experimentation, I’m a fan of using data whenever it’s available.
And in this case, BuzzSumo makes it readily available.
This information is also available in the “Content Analysis” section.
Just look for “Average Shares By Content Type.”
For digital marketing, a list format is your best bet:
For “IoT” (the Internet of Things), it’s video:
Just plug your industry/niche into the search box, and you can instantly tell which type of format is resonating the most with your audience.
You can use it to find the sweet spot for content length
I’ve written quite a bit on choosing the right length for your content.
I even published an article that specifically points out what the ideal word count is according to your industry.
And quite frankly, word count is one of the most widely discussed topics in the content marketing world.
If you’re not quite sure how long your posts should be, BuzzSumo can definitely point you in the right direction.
Again, you’ll want to go to “Content Analysis.”
Then scroll down until you reach the section called “Average Shares By Content Length.”
Here’s what pops up for digital marketing:
I can see that aiming for over 3,000 words is my best bet for maximizing shares.
But this isn’t the case for all industries.
Here are the results I got when searching for IoT:
In this case, I’m better off aiming for 2,000-3,000 words.
And here’s one more random example—marathon running:
In this niche, 1,000-2,000 words would be best.
This shows you how this feature can work for almost any industry.
It lets you know which social networks produce the most shares
Another question many marketers have is which social networks they should focus on.
Should you stick with the biggest user base and put the bulk of your attention on Facebook?
Or are you better off opting for another network?
BuzzSumo will let you know for sure which platforms are best for your industry.
Just look for “Average Shares By Network” on the “Content Analysis” page.
Here’s what I got for IoT:
It’s clear that Facebook is bringing in the most shares, followed by LinkedIn and Twitter.
I would probably want to focus on those networks in that order.
Here’s what I got for digital marketing:
For this industry, Twitter is actually bringing in the most shares, followed by Facebook and LinkedIn.
You get the idea.
The only catch is you’re limited to these five platforms because BuzzSumo doesn’t currently feature Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, etc.
But it’s still a good way to gauge which major networks are most worth your time.
BuzzSumo is a gold mine for marketers!
Whether you want to know which influencers to target, where your competitors are getting their backlinks from or which content formats to use, BuzzSumo will provide all the details.
It’ll give you in-depth insights on how to best approach your marketing campaign, and it’s super easy to use.
Most people can figure out the basics in minutes. It’s very intuitive.
I use it to guide multiple areas of my marketing and highly recommend you try it as well.
What’s your take on BuzzSumo? Do you use any similar tools?