BuzzSumo

I scored this a 4 / 5

Recently I’ve been trialling BuzzSumo to see if it would help me with my content generation and promotion plans for 2017.

I am not a marketer (despite what some people would have you believe, Derek) but I do feel that in order to provide the most about of value in projects I am involved in I should be able to research relevant content and see how content involved in the project is doing.

The two line description of BuzzSumo from their website sums up their proposition well;

Analyze what content performs best for any topic or competitor

Find the key influencers to promote your content

Here are some of my thoughts on the usefulness of BuzzSumo for my (admittedly, light weight) needs.

There are three main sections to the application; Content Research, Influencers, Monitoring. I will go through each one in turn.

Content Research

As the name implies this is all about digging into content to see when and how it is being shared. It is split into subsections.

Most Shared

This is for seeing the most shared content for a given search term or domain over a set timeframe.

I’ve been using this to find new content to read whilst researching articles, seeing what sites are writing about certain topics and how well certain topics tend to get shared.

It has been useful and I’ve been able to find some great articles as a result. I could easily see me adopting going to BuzzSumo for research when writing any new article going forward. In fact I’ve just used it to look up various BuzzSumo Reviews. Unfortunately most felt like a sales pitch, bleurgh.

Trending now shows you content split into categories like Tech, Entertainment, Health, etc. You can see what is currently trending or has been shared the most for a given timespan between 1 and 24 hours.

I haven’t had much real use for this except to find some interesting things to read. It has helped to reaffirm that a lot of low quality stuff ends up trending on social media, but we already knew that!

In the backlinks section you can search a URL or domain and see what is the most shared content that links to that domain.

This is a goldmine.

Within a few minutes I found tonnes of great articles that link back to my content that I had no idea existed. This is great because I can see what types of content in my project people care about about to link to in their posts.

I haven’t spent any time researching competitor sites but I have to imagine it would be useful for that as well.

Content Analysis

Content Analysis gives you some graphs representing various statistics on where and how things are being shared on a particular domain.

You can compare domains to see how they are doing, personally this doesn’t seem particularly useful and is more a vanity metric.

There is a top author report, but I need to be a paid up agency subscription to get access, which I am not.

Looking at graphs is always nice, but I can’t see me jumping into these reports particularly often since I don’t see how they could be immediately actionable.

Influencers

The influencers section is all about finding and contacting people deemed to be important on social media. It has a huge skew towards Twitter which is a shame because for a lot of niches other networks would be more useful.

There are three sections within it.

Outreach Lists

Whilst using the other parts of the influencers section you can save people into categories so you can outreach to them. I don’t outreach, circle back, or touch base so this is of little use to me.

What I have been doing is following anyone that seems interesting on Twitter, then if I want to chat to them I will contact them whatever way they specify on their website.

It seems odd to me that this is the first section you see, as it will be blank until you populate it.

Twitter Influencers

Twitter influencers lets you search for topics and see who is influential on twitter.

I’ve found this pretty hit and miss to be honest, a lot of the folk being returned are people with certain keywords in their profile but not a lot to say on a subject.

I do like that you can filter to ignore accounts that only post and never reply or share other content and you can do other filtering to exclude companies or only include bloggers, for example.

Audience Builder

With the audience builder you can search for topics/domains and see who shares content from them. The idea being you could use this to build audiences to import into Twitter when making a new ad campaign.

This seems like it would be useful but it is only available on the Agency Plan, you get to preview it when in trial but I have no intention of going in at the agency level should I become a paying member.

Monitoring

With monitoring you can set up various types of alerts. I am a big fan of email digests and things that mean I don’t need to remember to log into your service once a week in order to get value.

There are six alerts; Brand Mentions, Competitor Mentions, Content from a Website, Keyword Mentions, Backlinks, and if an Author posts something.

I have just set up brand mentions and backlinks for now.

Other Features

BuzzSumo have an API, which would be handy if you wanted to chain together reports from various tools. I have no immediate use for it.

You can invite other folk to your team - since I work for myself I wouldn’t have a use for this, but good to see that even on the smallest plan there is some amount of collaboration available.

The majority of reports are downloadable, which is great. I can’t attest to the quality because you need to be a paid up user to access downloads, I am still on the free trial as I write this.

Conclusion

I still have about a week left on the trial and I am going to keep playing, right now I am leaning towards paying for access because it seems like a useful tool to have in my belt for the majority of the projects I am involved in.

It costs about $948 a year for the smallest plan and I feel like the time I would save and the value I would gain more than makes up for the cost.

If you’re reading this post because you are considering BuzzSumo I’d certainly recommend giving the trial a go, even though you can’t export at the very least you’ll gain some interesting insight. Its interface is intuitive and you will be up and running in no time.