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Published August 19th 2015

How To Filter New Content To Keep Ahead Of Your Industry In 5 Steps

Did you wake up this morning dumber than you went to bed?

The sum of human knowledge is accelerating and what we know as a proportion of total human knowledge decreases every day. Effectively we all wake dumber than we went to bed.  We could always become obsolete, the scary fact is we can now become obsolete faster than ever! Knowledge degrades quickly in a fast moving world but by using sophisticated filters and tools we can filter out the noise and focus on the knowledge we need.

In this post we look at how, in less than 15 minutes, you can set up 5 filters, alerts and dashboards that will ensure you are among the first to know about the latest news, research and trends in your industry.

We will show how you can save hours of research and reading every week by using human filters and algorithms including:

  • experts and influencers
  • crowdsourcing
  • BuzzSumo crawlers, searches and alerts

Too much content

Put simply there is too much content in the world to keep pace with it. For example, just three publications, the New York Times, the Guardian and the Huffington Post, published over 11,000 articles last week. Huffington Post alone was estimated to have 532 full-time editorial staff that produced over 1,000 pieces of content per day. Even a more specialist publisher like Business Insider has over 70 full-time editorial staff and produces over 300 pieces of content each day.

The world of content is even larger when it comes to blogs. There are over 86m blogs just published on WordPress. It is estimated that over 1.5m blog posts are published each day.

Ok, you don’t need to read everything. A lot of content is low value or recycled. Maybe you should focus on original research and insights. Maybe you just need to focus on on say relevant research papers? Surely that is one way to cut down the amount you need to read? Well, in 2012 it was estimated that 1.8 million scientific research papers were published every year, in about 28,000 journals. That is about 35,000 research papers a week.

That is too much content even for the whole scientific community to read.

According to one estimate 50% of these scientific papers are never read and 99% of these papers are never cited.

Ok, you get the point. There is a lot of stuff happening, from research to news. How do you filter the world’s content and decide what to read?

You could read the trade press, go to events, search Google, talk to colleagues, join a course or discussion forum.  However, what you really need are clever filters.

Three critical content filters to help you stay ahead

We all have different preferences but here are the three filters you can use to stay ahead of the game:

Crowd sourcing

What are other people reading and sharing? By tracking the most shared content in your area you can see what is resonating with other professionals and what they think is worth sharing.

Experts and influencers

What are the key influencers in your field reading and sharing. It is their business to be in know and to track latest developments. Thus you can use them as your personal editorial board and see what information they are filtering and sharing.

Crawlers and Algorithms

You can use crawlers and algorithms to filter content. You may already do this using Google searches. With BuzzSumo you can take this a step further and be alerted to new content published by specific sites on specific topics. You can filter content by author, language and top level domain. You can also filter by whether content is trending or the number of shares it receives.

The sophisticated use of these three filters can save you many hours of time each week and make sure you are among the first to know about the latest news, research and trends in your area. The

The President of the United States gets a Daily Brief intended to update them on new international intelligence that warrants attention and an analysis of sensitive international situations. It’s been filtered and flagged by a team of experts. It’s highly focused and efficient. This concept of a morning briefing is also relevant for the rest of us. You may not have a west wing’s worth of staffers to filter content for you, but you still need a briefing because things don’t stop while you are sleeping. Read more on how to be briefed liked the President by Informr.

5 ways to use filters to stay smart

In less than 15 minutes you can set up the following 5 filters in BuzzSumo to ensure you have the key information you need efficiently and quickly.

1. View the most shared content in your area last week

Create a search to see the most shared content in your area in the last week. Go to Content > Most Shared and enter a search for your topics. Use exact matches, ORs and negatives as appropriate. For example, you might set up a search as follows:

You can see the results of this search here.

You can then save this search by clicking ‘save search’ and then simply run this search once a week to see the most shared content in your area.

Tip: you can run variations of this search for example, enter the domains of the 5 key industry sites in your area separated by OR or 5 competitor sites to see their most shared content last week.

2. Be alerted when industry and competitor sites publish content

You can create a domain alert in BuzzSumo so you are alerted as soon as a site or group of sites publish new content. This allows you to be aware of all new content they publish without having to visit their sites. Go to Alerts, click ‘create an alert’ and choose ‘content from a website’ and enter your domains.

You can further refine this alert. For example, only be alerted when they publish content on a set topic such as when BuzzSumo.com publishes content about Facebook or only be alerted when content they publish achieves over 1,000 shares or approproate threshold.

Tip: Create an RSS feed for your alert and have notifications pushed to Gmail using If This Then That or to a reader of your choice such as Feedly. Here is an alert converted to an RSS feed for all content published by Hubspot.com.

3. Get notified of all new content published about your topic

You can create an alert for a keyword or group of keywords. Go to Alerts, click ‘create an alert’ and choose ‘Keyword Mentions’. You can use exact matches ORs and negatives to create a precise alert for any new content that contains your keywords in either the text or the title. As above you can create an RSS feed for the alert.

Tip: Create a daily digest so you can review all new content from the previous day. Here is an alert converted to an RSS feed for all new content that mentions “data driven marketing”.

4. Identify and track key influencers in your area

You can use experts and influencers as your personal editorial board and learning network. Go to Influencers and search for influencers in your topic area. You can create a Twitter list and add the influencers to your list and track their tweets. You can also click ‘view links shared’ for any influencer to see the content they have recently shared. You can filter influencers by location such as cities and type such as journalists.

Tip: You can see the links recently shared by multiple Twitter users by using this search format in Most Shared content for the last week

You can save this search and run it each week. Here is the saved search for all links shared by Moz, Hubspot and BuzzSumo this week.

5. Create a Trending Dashboard for your topics and RSS notiications

Create a trending dashboard and an RSS feed for your topics. Go to Content > Trending and hit the + button. This will allow you to create a trending content feed for a number of topics. Enter your topics separated by commas and include any relevant hashtags without the hash. This will create a real time dashboard of the trending content for your topics based on the velocity of social sharing. Here is my trending dahsboard for today’s trending content marketing content.

You can also create an RSS feed and have notifications pushed to Gmail using If This Then That or to a reader of your choice such as Feedly.

Tip: you can also create a trending dashboard for domains so you can enter 5 main industry sites and 5 competitor sites to have a dashboard of trending content.


So in less than 15 minutes you now have 5 powerful knowledgebases that are a mix of human and automated filters. With these in place:

  • Each day you will get notifications of new content about new content on your topics and new content from domains your are tracking.
  • Each week you can review the most shared content in your area and what your influencers have been sharing by simply clicking your saved searches.
  • At any time you can dip into your trending dashboard or simply reply on notifications from your feed to see today’s trending content.

You can now be the most knowledgeable person in the room without hours of searching and reading. You can also curate and share content that you filter to your team, clients or the wider world.


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