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August 1, 2017

How to Use BuzzSumo to Analyze and Boost Your Content Insights

Sharing and linking are two central components that help content gain traction.

But, according to Moz, most Web-published content is ignored in both of these areas. Moz figured this out by teaming up with BuzzSumo and analyzing one million articles.

What does this conclusion mean? One of two things:

1. The content was not worthy of being shared or linked on another website or social platform.

2. The content creator failed to properly promote their content.

If you’re one of the brands suffering from neglected, ignored content, you don’t have to accept defeat. You shouldn’t keep churning out the same stuff, either, hoping things will change.

Instead, learn how to analyze your own content successes and failures. Analyze the successes of influencers in your industry. Take a hard look at what’s working for them.

Bring that wealth of knowledge to the new content you create.

“That’s all well and good,” you might say, “but how do I acquire this knowledge?”

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Comic from A Daily Cartoon

Dear reader, there exists a little tool that can help you out in every way when it comes to content analysis and insights. In fact, we’ve already mentioned their name: BuzzSumo.

How to Gain Surprising Insights from BuzzSumo

There are more startling statistics from the Moz/BuzzSumo analysis.

Apparently, in a random sample of 100,000 posts, 75 percent had zero external links. Fifty percent had two or fewer total Facebook interactions.

If this makes you want to curl into a ball in the corner and pretend content marketing doesn’t exist, I don’t blame you.

If the outlook for your content traction is so bleak, what can you do to improve your odds?

Use BuzzSumo, and use it well.

Why? This tool is a hotbed of information. It offers a veritable trove of useful stats that are only a few clicks away. You only have to know how to use them to improve your posts and leverage yourself for better engagement.

There are both free and paid versions of BuzzSumo, but here I’m talking about the paid iteration. Once you see what it can do, it may inspire you to lay down a few bucks – a worthy investment.

Tip 1: Discover Influencers, Then Target Them

One of BuzzSumo’s greatest features is its ability to find top influencers with the most shares. Find out who they are: Do a few individual searches for related keywords and see who pops up again and again in key areas.

The areas to give your attention:

1. Content Research – Content Analysis – Most Shared Domains by Network

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On the dashboard, do a search for a keyword relevant to your industry. For demonstration purposes, I’m going to look at “content marketing.”

When the search is complete, click on “Content Research,” then “Content Analysis.” Scroll down until you see “Most Shared Domains by Network.”

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For the keyword “content marketing,” the domains with the most shares are HubSpot, Content Marketing Institute, and Entrepreneur.

Repeat this search with various related keywords. See who comes out on top again and again. Write down a running list of them. These are domains you can target for your own content elevation. Here are some ideas:

  • Pitch a guest post to a top domain and get some exposure.
  • Research what’s working well in their content – this gives you a good idea of what people want to see.

2. Influencers – Top Authors

You can also check out individual influencers for certain keywords.

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Click on “Influencers,” then on “Top Authors.” Search for a relevant keyword. You’ll immediately get handed a list of the top people who write for this term.

Building contacts with influencers is a great way to boost your content. Read and comment on their posts, follow them on social media, like their stuff, and tweet at them. Focus on relationship building first, and the rest should fall into place.

You can find out how to contact or follow influencers with BuzzSumo, too. On the same screen as the previous example, click “View All Content” next to the influencer name.

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This button will lead you to a page filled with that author’s work across the web, including website links. Follow an article link – the post will usually include where you can contact or follow the person.

You’ll also be able to view who is linking to this person’s posts:

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This tool is especially helpful for checking out your direct competitors. You can see exactly where their links and shares are coming from and hone in on those targets, yourself. You can also analyze what your competition is doing to get that engagement.

Tip 2: Gauge What’s Worked for You (and What Hasn’t)

Yep, you can search your own domain and see how your content is stacking up. Just go back to the “Content Research” page and search for your own URL. You’ll be able to see which of your posts are the most-shared, and which are being neglected. You’ll also see who is linking to you and who is sharing.

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Look at your top posts and try to glean what it is about them that’s working. Compare them to posts where you have little-to-no engagement. What’s the difference? Adjust your strategy accordingly.

Tip 3: Hop on Trending Topics While They’re Still Trending

BuzzSumo has options to filter your results so you can see what has the most shares within the last 24 hours, the past week, the past month, and more. Use these date-oriented filters to see what’s gained traction quickly.

For instance, I’m going to search for “content marketing” and set the filter to “24 Hours.”

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Here are some of the results:

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With these results, I want to look for recurring trends or themes I can potentially use in my own content.

Scrolling down, I notice quite a few mentions of Bing’s new “Popular Content” feature on its search results pages. Interesting!

Now I have to ask myself if this topic would make an interesting post, or if there’s an angle here I can use. Specifically, I can read the posts listed and see what others have covered. Then I can determine if I have a fresh angle. Maybe I can explore how this might impact traffic from organic search?

This is just one example of an insight – get creative, play around, and see what you can discover.

Add BuzzSumo to Your Content Marketing Arsenal

Tools like BuzzSumo can provide valuable insights if you analyze the data intelligently. Add it to your toolbelt and you’ll be well on your way to more success with your content.


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Julia McCoy is a serial content marketer, entrepreneur, and bestselling author. She founded a multi-million dollar content agency, Express Writers, with nothing more than $75 at 19 years old. Today, her team has nearly 100 expert content creators on staff, and serves thousands of clients around the world. She's earned her way to the top 30 worldwide content marketers, and has a passion for sharing what she knows in her books and in her online course, The Content Strategy & Marketing Course. Julia also hosts The Write Podcast on iTunes.

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