Getting Started With BuzzSumo: A Tutorial

in Getting Started

Welcome to BuzzSumo! This tutorial will guide you on using BuzzSumo for your content and influencer research campaigns. Here are the most common use cases of BuzzSumo: –

Use Case: Find The Most Shared Content + Influential Authors For A Topic

Let’s say you’re doing content marketing for a client in the paleo diet industry, and want to know what types of content people want to read. With BuzzSumo, you simply navigate to the “Top Content” section, type Paleo in the search box, filter by date period, or article type, and press Search.


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As you can see from the screenshot, these are the most shared links about Paleo for the past 30 days. You can sort the articles by the number of Google +1 (and Google+ shares), Twitter Shares, Linkedin Shares, and Facebook Likes + Shares. There’s a lot of insights you can extract for this data, including: – Identifying which types of topics people love to share – Identifying content formats that work – Identifying catchy headlines – Discovering influential authors.

We recommend you take a piece of content that was shared a lot, and improve upon it. Or adapt that same idea for a different topic (BuzzFeed is very successful at this). Keep in mind this data also provides you with the most influential authors in your niche. These are very powerful influencers who write articles that are being shared by many people. If you’re doing an outreach campaign, these authors are obviously the first group of people you should build relationships with.

The top content search is also useful for finding specific types of content: whether it’s infographics, guest blog posts, interviews, giveaways or regular articles. This is extremely powerful, and here’s an example. Let’s say you want to find guest blog opportunities for Paleo blogs. All you have to do is unselect all the types except “Guest Posts”, and do a search as show below.


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We highly recommend just exporting all this data to Excel by clicking on the blue “Export” button on the top left. After you export, you can do many things with the data. Such as gathering more metrics for each link (ie Moz page authority), or finding the contact information of the authors who wrote these articles.


Summary: By seeing what content has been most shared in your industry, you can see what types of content resonates most with the audience you’re after.

Use Case: Identifying Most Shared Content for a Domain

With BuzzSumo, you can also see the most shared links for a particular domain, such as your competitor’s. Let’s say you’re a publisher that covers startup news. How do you discover what topics people love to read and share? One way is to analyze what’s been working for someone like Techcrunch, a very popular startup news publisher. Just type into the search box, and you’ll see just that. Again, we recommend exporting this data into Excel so you can do your own analysis.


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Summary: By identifying the most shared content for a domain, you can see what’s working for your competitor.

Use Case: Viewing Who Linked To An Article

In BuzzSumo Pro when you undertake a domain search you have a number of options to review backlink data i.e. the sites linking to a site or specific article. The results page provides two ways to review backlink data.

backlinks buzzsumo

1) You can click on the backlinks tab to see all the backlinks for the domain.

2) You can see all of the backlinks for a specific article by clicking on the ‘view backlinks’ button next to the article.

Find out more on analyzing backlink data with BuzzSumo.

Use Case: Identifying Who Shared An Article

Let’s say you identified a piece of popular content, and decided to write a better article on the same topic. How would you go about finding influencers to share or link to it? With Buzzsumo, you can see who shared a particular link on Twitter by clicking on the “View Sharers” button for that article, as shown below:


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This is very similar to what you can do on sites like Topsy. One limitation is we only show sharers that have shared an article in a 2-3 day window after the article was published. However, we also show more metrics on these sharers such as their engagement rate (reply ratio, retweet ratio), and their influence level (page authority, and average retweets their tweets get). Here’s a screenshot of all the data you’ll see:


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With BuzzSumo, you can follow these influencers, add these influencers to a Twitter List, or even send a message to them, as shown on the screenshot below.


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Just like Top Content, you can export these influencer results for your own use. Just click on the blue “Export” button in the far right to export to CSV or Excel.

Summary: Find a popular article that’s been shared a lot. Find people who shared that article, contact them, and build relationships with them.

Use Case: Identifying Influencers For A Topic

Our 2nd major feature (and arguably just as powerful) is our Influencer Search. While there are many tools that offer the ability to search for influencers, we’ve differentiated ourselves in several ways. First, if you search for a topic, we not only return influencers with the topic in their bios, but also influencers who commonly tweet and share links related to the topic.

Secondly, BuzzSumo also shows the Page Authority and PageRank for the URLs belonging to these influencers. This way you can target influencers who have a high page authority and save valuable time. Lastly, BuzzSumo allows you to filter influencers by specific types, such as bloggers or journalists.

If you’re doing an outreach campaign and want to reach content marketing bloggers, simply type “content marketing” and filter only by “bloggers” as shown below. This shows you ONLY bloggers who tweet about content marketing, or have “content marketing” in their bio, sorted by relevance.


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As you can also see, you’ll see the following metrics for each influencer: – The Twitter username – The Twitter bio – The Page Authority of the URL – The Pagerank of the URL – Number of Followers – Retweet Ratio: the % of tweets that are retweets – Reply Ratio: the % of tweets that are @ replies to another user. The influencer types you can filter on include: – Bloggers – Influencers: These are actually powerful influencers, not just “normal” ones – Companies – Journalists – Regular people: everyone else that isn’t the above.


Summary: Use the influencer search to efficiently identify people to target, whether it’s influencers with high page authority websites, or whether they be bloggers, journalists or companies.

Use Case: Identifying the Links Shared by an Influencer

Let’s say you’ve found a couple of influencers you want to contact for an outreach campaign. How do you contact them about your content, or product? Cold emails are an option, but not effective unless you know the influencer’s interests and what they usually share. This is where BuzzSumo can help as well. You can see a sample of the links that influencer has shared on Twitter for the past 6 months or so. Simply click on the “View Links Shared” button. For example, let’s say I want to pitch an idea to Tim Ferriss, a very popular influencer and best-selling author of “The Four-Hour Work Week”. If I search for his username “@tferriss” and click on “View Links Shared”, the below screenshot is what I see.


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From this, I can infer that Tim must have at least some interest in Bitcoin, startups, food, health.. and Japanese culture? From this data, you can customize your pitch so it’s more in tune with these interests, ensuring a higher conversion rate.

Summary: View the links shared by an influence so you can craft a more targeted email, or tweet to an influencer

Create a Content Alert to Track a Topic or Competitor

In BuzzSumo you can set up different types of alerts to track a topic, a competitor or an author. The four alerts are:

  1. keywords or brand alerts – so you are notified any time the key word or brand is mentioned in an article or blog post
  2. competitor domain alerts – get notified whenever they publish new content
  3. link alerts – get notified whenever articles or blogs link to a domain you are tracking
  4. author alerts – keep track of new content by authors


content alerts


Alerts appear on your dashboard and are also emailed to you. You can choose a real time alert or a daily digest. There are also many options such as filtering by numbers of shares, choosing a language or sending the alert to a colleague. Read more on creating content alerts in BuzzSumo.

Run a Content Analysis Report For a Topic or Domain

If you want an overview of the content being published and shared for any particular topic or domain you can run a content analysis report. This report will provide the following information and charts:

  • total articles published in the last 6 months
  • average shares per article
  • average shares by network
  • average shares by content type
  • shares by content length
  • most shared domains for a topic or keyword
  • most shared articles in the period

content analysis report



Need Help or Support?

If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to shoot us an email at or send us a tweet @buzzsumo. We’ll be glad to hold your hand so you can use BuzzSumo for your content and influencer research.