How to Use BuzzSumo: The Ultimate Guide on Uncovering Hot Topics

How to Use BuzzSumo: The Ultimate Guide on Uncovering Hot Topics to Create Content Your Audience Will Love

by | May 5, 2020 | Content Marketing

This was originally published in 2017 and updated in May, 2020. What if I told you about a hot content marketing tool that allows you to dig deep into your audience’s brain?  ? This tool can tell you what your audience is feeling right now. Their current thoughts. What they’re looking for when they go online. The #1 topic they want to read about. Would you use it? Of course! Because the truth is, keyword research tools aren’t enough to help you generate steaming content your readers will devour, reread, and share. I’m not saying they aren’t necessary. They are. In fact, it’s almost impossible to do SEO right without these tools. But SEO by itself isn’t enough to build a brand. The ultimate recipe for success is SEO plus hot topics your audience cares about. So, how can you discover these hot topics? In this guide, I’ll show you how to do it using BuzzSumo. Let’s dive in! How to use BuzzSumo to uncover hot topics

How to Use BuzzSumo: 5 Ways You Can Use BuzzSumo to Discover Hot Topics Your Audience Adores

So, what is BuzzSumo used for? BuzzSumo is the ultimate content discovery tool. It constantly gets updated with brand new features, so you always know what kind of content your audience wants and exactly what they’re engaging with online. Here’s a list of awesome things you can do with BuzzSumo:
  • Instantly generate tons of hot topic ideas
  • Index over 3.5 billion articles and posts
  • Get an updated list of the most powerful influencers in your industry
  • Spy on your competitors
  • Monitor everything that’s going on online
Awesome things you can do with BuzzSumo [bctt tweet="5 ways to use @buzzsumo to discover hot topics: 1️⃣ Analyze top-shared content 2️⃣ Find top niche influencers 3️⃣ Find trending topics 4️⃣ Use Topic Discovery to generate ideas 5️⃣ Analyze top YouTube content ?" username="ExpWriters"] We at Express Writers absolutely love BuzzSumo. In fact, we use it extensively for our content strategy services. It allows us to:
  • Put our clients ahead of their competitors by knowing what their audience really wants to learn
  • Discover steaming hot topics in any niche
  • Save tons of time in the brainstorming process
Let’s go into detail and dive into five ways you can use BuzzSumo to discover topics your audience will love. BuzzSumo pricing guide:
  • Pro: $99/month billed monthly or $79/month billed annually
  • Plus: $179/month billed monthly or $139/month billed annually
  • Large: $299/month billed monthly or $239/month billed annually
  • Enterprise: $499/month

#1: Get Ideas from the Web Content Analyzer

BuzzSumo is your forensic tool for digging into your audience’s brain and finding out what they’re interested in. With the Web Content Analyzer feature, you get a list of the top content people engaged with based on a certain keyword. BuzzSumo is a forensic tool for digging into your audience [bctt tweet=".@buzzsumo is your forensic tool for digging into your audience’s brain and finding out what they’re interested in ?️‍♀️. Learn how to use it like an expert:" username="ExpWriters"] [bctt tweet="What if I told you about a hot content marketing tool that allows you to dig deep into your audience’s brain? ?✨ No, it's not magic - it's @buzzsumo! Learn how to use this mighty tool via @JuliaEMcCoy:" username="ExpWriters"] SEO by itself isn't enough to build a brand To get started, click on Content and select Web Content Analyzer. BuzzSumo web content analyzer

Source: BuzzSumo

Type your chosen keyword in the search bar. Searching using BuzzSumo web content analyzer Click on Search. What you’ll get is a list of content pieces with the highest number of engagement from your audience. top shared content on BuzzSumo As you can see, a piece about Bill Gates and the coronavirus tops the list with 34.6K total engagements. This gives you a hint on what your audience is thinking about and the kind of content they want to read and share. Want to filter your results by time? Simply click the filter button and select an option to see results from the last 24 hours, the past week, the past month, and as much as five years ago. BuzzSumo - filter web content analysis results For example, here’s the result you’ll get when you choose the 24-hour filter. Top results on BuzzSumo - last 24 hours The next step is to click on the top content pieces and find out why your audience loved them. What made them special? More importantly, how can you improve on them in your own content? Here’s an example. top content piece on BuzzSumo


Because this piece comes in the number two spot within the six-month filter, you now know that your audience is interested in being more productive in their content creation. Now, it’s your turn to create content with your own tips and tricks on how to be productive! Bonus: Experiment with the filters! They’re amazing. You can search for content based on type of article, word count, and even a specific domain. BuzzSumo web content analyzer more filters

#2: Find Top Influencers in Your Niche

Finding the top influencers in your niche will help you in three ways:
  • You can gain inspiration from their content
  • You can spy on them and improve on what’s missing in their content
  • You can get networking opportunities
To get started in your search for BuzzSumo influencers, hover over Influencers on the top bar and click Authors. You can also search for influencers on Twitter, YouTube, or Facebook. find top influencers on BuzzSumo In the Authors search bar, you can find top authors by looking up a topic or domain. For example, here’s the results for a search on using BuzzSumo to search for Forbes influencers On the left side, you can see the author’s name and Twitter handle. On the right, you can see how many articles each author published, plus their average and total engagement. Select View Top Content to see each author’s top pieces. For example, here are the top results for Zack Friedman. BuzzSumo - top content for Zack Friedman Looking for top influencers in your niche? Simply type in your desired keyword instead of a domain name in the search bar. Here are the results for “content marketing.” (I come in at #2, yay! ?) find influencers in your niche on BuzzSumo

#3: Find Trending Topics with BuzzSumo’s Discover Feature

Want to find content that’s creating a large amount of buzz online? Searching for trending topics within the last 24 hours (or less!) is the way to do it. To begin, go to the Discover option and click Trending. finding trending topics using BuzzSumo discover This will show you the top content pieces driving tons of engagement online. BuzzSumo - content pieces driving engagement On the left toolbar, you can filter your search by topics. For example, click Fashion and you get this. filter search by topic on BuzzSumo The magic is you can create your own custom feeds. Simply scroll down on the left-hand toolbar and click the plus sign beside the Custom Feeds option. BuzzSumo custom feeds Use the filters to create your own custom feeds. create a custom feed on BuzzSumo The filters allow you to add topics to your search, exclude results, and limit to or exclude certain domains. Here’s an example custom feed. content strategy custom feed on BuzzSumo Click Update Feed and use it to filter your results. Here’s the top result for “content marketing trends.” BuzzSumo trending topic result Is your audience looking for ways to win at SEO during COVID-19? Hmmm… You could write something on that.

#4: Generate Tons of Content Ideas with Topic Discovery

This option is a great choice when you’re feeling stuck and want an inspirational brainwave. It helps you find a ton of hot topic possibilities in seconds. BuzzSumo discovery tool [bctt tweet=".@buzzsumo's Topic Discovery tool is a great choice when you're feeling stuck and need some inspirational brainwaves. Learn how to use it via @JuliaEMcCoy ?" username="ExpWriters"] To start, go to Discover and select Topics. topic discovery on BuzzSumo Type a keyword in the search bar. Keep it broad to get a wide range of results. (You can always narrow it down later.) BuzzSumo - discover topics by keyword What you’ll get is a brain cloud of content ideas for your chosen subject. The options in larger font are the options most relevant to your search. topic cloud for topic discovery in BuzzSumo Scroll down to go more in-depth on each keyword. You can find out great content ideas, common questions asked on the topics, and related keywords. insights on topics using BuzzSumo discover Want to test a term based on engagement? Click on it to view its performance over time. For instance, select “SEO tools” within the brain cloud. You get this. check topic performance over time in BuzzSumo

#5: Analyze Top Content on YouTube

This option is new to BuzzSumo, and it’s absolutely GREAT because YouTube is a huge platform with  two billion monthly users. Imagine the exposure you can get for your brand with this audience! So, how can you find hot topics on YouTube? Hover over Content, and click the YouTube option. analyze top YouTube content on BuzzSumo Type your keyword into the search bar. For instance, this shows results for the keyword “guitar lessons.” top performing videos on YouTube for guitar lessons The amazing part is you can click on Analysis to find out the secrets behind high engagement on YouTube. BuzzSumo top performing content analysis Want to find the top influencers on YouTube? Head over to Influencers and select YouTube. Follow the same steps to finding top influencers in your industry. analyze top YouTube influencers on BuzzSumo Here are the top guitar lesson influencers on YouTube. find YouTube influencers on BuzzSumo

A Step-by-Step Guide to Discovering Hot Topics and Keywords for Your Content

Now, let’s go into a step-by-step on how to map your topics and keywords for outstanding content. (This is exactly how we do it at Express Writers!)

Step #1: Come Up with Goals for Your Content

Each piece of content you write must have its own specific goal. If you don’t have goals, you’ll be creating tons of random content that don’t fit into your overarching content marketing goals. Every piece of content must have a specific goal [bctt tweet="Each piece of content you write must have its own specific goal. ? If you don’t have goals, you’ll be creating tons of random content that don’t fit into your overarching #contentmarketinggoals." username="ExpWriters"] To guide my content, I came up with a unique concept I call the “three bucket strategy.” (Read more about this concept on my blog, Content Goals: Here’s How to Come Up With Profitable Content Marketing Ideas Using My 3-Bucket Topic Strategy. I also teach this in-depth in my comprehensive, 6-week Content Strategy and Marketing Course.) 3-bucket topic strategy

Step #2: Use BuzzSumo to Discover Hot Topics for Your Content Buckets

The next thing you’ll do is go to BuzzSumo and use one (or more!) of the five tips above to find topics your audience will love. Research topics to fill all your content buckets.

Step #3: Use an SEO Tool to Map Out a Keyword

Remember, BuzzSumo works flawlessly with the best SEO tools out there. So, once you’ve decided on a topic, take it to your SEO tool of choice to map it to a keyword. Let’s say you chose the topic “SEO tools” from the topic discovery option on BuzzSumo. Take it into an SEO tool like KWFinder to discover if you should try to rank for this keyword. Should you? Apparently, no. Although the search volume for “SEO tools” is high, its keyword difficulty score is 69/100. This means you’ll be going up against huge brands, and it’ll be almost impossible to compete for this keyword. vetting topic discovery with keyword research


What you can do is look up related keywords. Remember, a keyword difficulty score below 50 is considered good. And we got one! “Best SEO tools” has a keyword difficulty score of 40 and a search volume of 5,400. Not bad! vetting topics with keyword research See how BuzzSumo works flawlessly with an SEO tool?
Want to learn every step involved in setting up profitable content marketing? Check out my Content Strategy & Marketing Course.

Other Content Tools We Recommend

At Express Writers, we use only the best of the best tools for our content strategy services. These are the same tools I teach to my students that we use in my programs. Here are the top SEO tools we recommend.


SEMrush is the ultimate keyword research tool that allows you to do in-depth keyword research, detailed domain analytics, lead generation, in-depth competitor research, and more!


Ahrefs is a tool that comes packed with everything you need for keyword research and SEO analysis. It allows you to do SEO audits, comprehensive backlink analysis, and domain comparison.


KWFinder is an extremely user-friendly keyword research tool that’s more affordable than the other two above. Although KWFinder is only for keyword research, you can sign up for the basic plan to get access to a ton of other Mangools tools (SERPchecker, SERPwatcher, SiteProfiler, etc.). Want to dive deeper into which keyword research tool is best for you? Check out my blog, 3 Must-Have Content Tools for Marketers: SEMrush, KWFinder, Ahrefs.

 A Look into the Future of Discovering Hot Topics Your Audience Loves

Worried you’ll wake up one morning with no idea what to write for your blog? (This used to be me! Find out the story in my FREE masterclass). With topic research from BuzzSumo, you don’t have to feel this way ever again. In fact, you’ll be drowning in a deep well of topics your audience will beg you to create! So, is BuzzSumo worth it? From me and my team, a HUGE BIG YES!! Want hot content based on expert keyword and topic research? Visit our Content Shop to learn more. Check out great content from strategy-minded creators]]>