Review: How to Use BuzzSumo to Become a Better Content Marketer

    By Joe Wills
    Published: April 28, 2014

If you’ve not come across BuzzSumo before … you’re missing out!

In this review, you find out how BuzzSumo lets you find out what’s being shared, and who’s sharing it. If you’re looking for some ideas for your next piece of (hopefully) viral content, or if you’re searching for influencers who might share your latest blog post or infographic, it’s a great place to turn.

You can search for content related to a particular topic, e.g. “blogging”, or content that’s published on a particular domain, as in the screenshot below:


You can try out BuzzSumo without signing up, but if you want to run more searches, you’ll need to create an account. It’s free and only takes a few seconds (you just need to put in your email address and choose a password).

In our BuzzSumo review, here’s how you might use :

#1: Become a Top Content Curator (and Stay Up-to-Date With Industry News)

One of the best ways to position your company as helpful and generous experts is to share highly useful content that other people have produced, and/or to link to breaking news.

This is handy for your audience (who may get their burning questions answered, or come across a brilliant new idea), it’s a great way to build relationships with other content creators in your industry, and it also makes you look good by demonstrating that you’re up-to-date with what’s going on.

By using BuzzSumo’s search function to check out different topics or domains, you can easily discover content that’s already hot – if it’s had thousands of shares, there’s a very good chance it’s well worth reading. For more advanced ways to use keywords, check out BuzzSumo’s article here.

Pro tip: Using the New OR Command

You can now search for the most-shared posts across multiple domains, as well as searching by keyword.

Here’s an email that BuzzSumo sent out, related to a feature request I made a couple of weeks back – so they really listen to their customers!

Hi We recently came out with a new feature that lets you search for the most shared content across multiple domains. For instance, if you wanted to see the most shared posts across SEO blogs, you could search for: OR OR OR OR This would return the most shared posts across all of those domains. There’s a limit of 10 domains at once. Although you can search for a topic like “SEO” instead, searching across multiple domains could give you more relevant, targeted results if you know the sites in your industry of interest. Give it a try, and mention us (@BuzzSumo) on Twitter if you like this feature, or any other feature. We’ll send a free Starbucks gift card to one lucky person that mentions us before the end of Friday! Also, be sure to check out the epic post we did over on Noah Kagan’s Why Content Goes Viral: What Analyzing 100 Million Articles Taught Us and How to Use Social Analytics to Improve Your Marketing Performance over on the BuzzSumo blog. Thanks! James

#2: Identify Key Influencers (and Find Out Who’ll be Perfect to Share Your Content)

You already know that not all social media shares are created equal. John Doe, with twelve Twitter followers, is unlikely to drive much traffic to your site – but a big-name influencer with 120,000 followers will probably give you a big boost.

Plus, once one influencer shares your content, others are likely to follow suit, potentially sending a huge rush of targeted traffic your way.

By clicking “View sharers” against a piece of content listed on BuzzSumo, you can see exactly who shared it – and how many followers they have.

Here’s an example:


(By default, this list is ranked by “average retweets”, but you can click any column heading to reorder it – as I’ve done with “number of followers”.)

Note that this list currently only includes Twitter users (which tends to be where most influencers hang out); people who shared the content through other networks won’t be shown.

Pro tip: You can also drill down into the content that a particular person has shared by clicking “view links shared”; useful if you want to figure out whether or not someone’s a good target for you. Ideally, you’ll want to find people who are sharing lots of content that’s on-topic for your brand; that way, they’ll be more likely to promote yours as it will fit well with their interests.

#3: Research Competitors’ Content Successes (and Use These to Inform Your Own Strategy)

Has one of your competitors written a post that went viral … or a whole bunch of them? Want to know how they did it?

BuzzSumo allows you to look at the top content on specific domains (just type the domain into the search bar). You can then find out exactly who’s sharing it, follow them, and even add them to a Twitter list.


BuzzSumo explain the why and how here:

Are you keeping pace with the competition? It can be very helpful to take a look at your competitor’s content performance. For example, what is their most shared content, what networks are they getting most traction on, what content formats are they using and who is sharing and amplifying their content.

Pro Tip: Consider researching indirect competitors e.g. those in the same industry but overseas, or those in the same country yet not the exact same industry, but a related one instead. Remember you’re trying to learn from the strategy so you can go broader than you might first think.

Are you using BuzzSumo already, or is it new to you? How could it help your business take your content marketing further? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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