BuzzSumo Review & Tutorial: Content Research Made Easy

BuzzSumo is a powerful pro tool to use in building up content marketing strategies. Its core principle is simple: the easiest way to discover content worth valorizing is by searching what best resonates with social media audiences. Forget about wasting time on researching social media, reading the news, or setting up ineffectual Google Alerts to get the hottest content ideas. Here’s an app that will put LinkedIn to work for you, alongside Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and lots more.

BuzzSumo Review overview of features

In this review and tutorial, I will present BuzzSumo’s key features as well as its latest enhancements you can benefit from to develop and better promote your content.

What Is BuzzSumo and How Does It Work?

BuzzSumo is a web-based app designed to identify best-performing web content. Based on diverse search queries, it provides you with detailed information on what pieces of content are most shared for specific topics, keywords, brand names, or domains. Also, it identifies the top authors and key influencers in a particular niche. This kind of data is available in a matter of minutes and a couple of clicks.

To paint the bigger picture, what this research and monitoring tool can do for you is:

  • Search the most engaging web content for any topic or domain ranging from articles and interviews to videos and infographics. Simply type a topic and you will see what’s being shared and by whom.
  • Analyze what kind of content works best for a keyword.
  • Research competitors by showing what content is most shared on their social media channels.
  • Compare two domains in terms of social media success and see what the most popular content types are (lists, how-to articles, visuals).
  • Find key influencers for networking and outreach purposes.
  • Set up content alerts for a certain keyword, topic, author, or domain.
  • Analyze Facebook engagement (a new addition to BuzzSumo’s toolbox).

What Are the Costs?

Let’s talk about expenses. In brief, there are three BuzzSumo plans you can pay for:

  • Pro, which is ideal for bloggers or small teams. It costs $99 per month.
  • Agency, which is addressed to larger teams, and costs $299 per month
  • Corporate, which offers advanced functionality for brands and publishers. Pricing is not made public for this option. You’ll have to contact them.

If you opt for annual billing, you get a 20% discount. The best part is that you can try it out by signing up for a free 14 days trial (no bank details required).

BuzzSumo Key-Features & Benefits

Let’s explore each of the main tasks this tool can help you with: discovering trending content, identifying key influencers in your industry, analyzing competitors, and setting up content alerts.

1. Researching Content

How many times have you spent hours skimming through websites in search of new, brilliant ideas? BuzzSumo is one of the SEO world’s favorite tools, when it comes to identifying fresh and engaging content. Why? Because the minute you use it, it changes the way you read, create, and share content online.  BuzzSumo shows you what’s worth reading and writing about based on widely shared content on social media channels.

Here’s a quick overview of the features that can best serve your content research endeavors:

The “Most Shared”: to better exemplify how this part of the tool works, I simply hit the Content Research tab and entered “content marketing” in the search bar. Not only do you get the most socially successful posts for this topic but you can also check who shared the content and who linked back to it.

BuzzSumo Content Search

For more specific results, you can refine your search by date, language, country, and content type.

Trending Now: this feature is particularly useful is you are looking for trending content to share on your social media channels and engage more audience. You can filter popular content by selecting one of the following categories: news, sports, entertainment, tech, business, video, fashion, science, politics, health, and marketing. BuzzSumo also shows you how quickly a piece of content was shared allowing you to determine what’s likely to go viral.

Content Analysis: if you are looking for more detailed info, this report will show you what pieces of content perform best for your query by network, content type, date, domain, and content length.

content analysis for buzzsumo review

As far as my search query is concerned, it seems that Twitter is the best network to promote materials on content marketing. Also, while lists and infographics are popular content types shared on Twitter, videos enhance Facebook engagement the most.

Charts and diagrams fans, this part of the report is for you. The tool puts together the top domains on all networks for any topic. The results below are for my “content marketing” search.

buzzsumo diagram for top domains

Top Authors: find the authors that generate the most popular pieces of content for a certain keyword or domain. Sadly, this feature is available only for those who subscribe to (at least) an Agency plan.

Facebook Analyzer: this is a new addition to BuzzSumo arsenal of features, helping users to check and increase Facebook engagement. Available for Agency and Corporate users only.

2. Identifying Key Influencers

BuzzSumo makes both content research and networking easier. Just as you can find the most popular pieces of content, you can identify top influencers in your niche by topic or username. We all know that creating quality and “sharable” content is not enough. Networking is an essential part of a digital marketing strategy, and promoting your content successfully is all about reaching out to the right people.

BuzzSumo Key Influencers outline for content marketing

If the person you are looking at has a web address included in his or her Twitter bio, BuzzSumo shows you not only the Retweet ratio, reply ratio, and average retweets, but also the MOZ authority metrics for his/ her blog.

The downside of this feature is that its functionality is limited to Twitter. Otherwise, apart from assessing social influence, you can filter the results according to other points of interests.

If, for instance, you are hunting for authoritative websites for a link building campaign, the Domain Authority metrics for an influencer’s blog might be more useful than the number of his or her followers.

3. Analyzing the Competition

BuzzSumo keeps you well-informed on your competitors. As a top tip, use the Domain Comparison feature to identify:

  • What type of content performs best for them on social media networks;
  • What channels get the most shares;
  • Who links back to their best performing pieces of content.

Let’s admit it. We all spy on our competitors. To make this review more informative, I’ve chosen two powerful SEO blogs to compare: and By doing the same with a competitor site you get more insights into content creation and outreach. See below some actionable data about their social media performance.

buzzsumo domain comparison feature

When it comes to SEO best practices, there are as many myths as facts. Most content marketers rave over posts counting over 2,500 words while others lay stress on how unfruitful long articles are (given the fact that people just scan online content). What about adjusting the content type and length to the medium you choose for promoting your posts?

BuzzSumo Chart of Average Shares by Content Type

BuzzSumo sprinkles the subject with a few suggestions for you. By comparing the domains previously selected, it appears that longer posts (over 3000 words) work pretty well on Google+ for By doing the same trick with a competitor site, BuzzSumo can provide you with more ideas for promoting your content. Don’t hesitate to explore more the mediums that work for other people in your industry.

4. Creating Content Alerts

The Content Alerts feature is one of the best things BuzzSumo has to offer. The tool allows you to custom alerts according to your SEO strategies.

BuzzSumo Content Alerts Feature

Here’s how it works:

  • You can get notified as soon as a domain publishes new engaging content either in real time or at a time of your choosing (daily, weekly).
  • You can track most shared posts on competitor sites.

BuzzSumo website content alert

  • You can track new links pointing to your website, as well as brand name mentions spread across the web.

BuzzSumo Link Alert

  • You can monitor top-performing posts for a specific keyword.

BuzzSumo Keyword Alert

BuzzSumo Review Summary

BuzzSumo is a versatile and super intuitive tool you can use for many SEO purposes. While it was specially designed for content research and analysis based on social media shares, it can easily serve outreach and link building campaigns. You can export results in Excel spreadsheet and optimize planning.

BuzzSumo’s Strengths:

  • It is super easy to explore and use.
  • It saves hours of manual research.
  • It finds and analyzes the most shared content for any topic, keyword, or domain.
  • It identifies the most popular authors in your niche so you can reach out to relevant influencers.
  • It notifies you about fresh, popular content.
  • It tracks backlinks.

BuzzSumo’s Weaknesses:

  • The key influencers findings are limited to Twitter results.
  • The new Facebook analysis tool is available for Pro users in beta. Otherwise, only Agency users can have access to it.

Final Word: BuzzSumo is an excellent research and monitoring tool all SEOs should try out. While there are many programs that help you gather metrics and stats around successful content and industry leaders, this software is hard to beat in functionality, usability, and pocket friendliness. My overall mark is 90/100.

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