How Marketers Work: Steve Rayson from BuzzSumo on Data-Driven Marketing


As we move into the third installment of the How Marketers Work interview series, I hope you’re walking away with actionable advice that you can start using right away. After all, the goal of this series is to showcase how marketers get inspired, stay productive, and generate results, and how you can do the same!

Today, we hear from Steve Rayson, director and co-owner at BuzzSumoIf you’re keeping up on the marketing technology landscape, you’ve probably heard of BuzzSumo. It is one of my favorite marketing tools of 2015.

I use it daily to find trending content to share with my audience, and I also use some of the deeper functionality to generate ideas for future blog posts, grow my social following, and more. It is totally worth testing out!

With that being said, Steve is extremely passionate and knowledgable about social data, content marketing, technology, and much more. It is a real honor to hear what he has to say about BuzzSumo and digital marketing in general.

Let’s get to the interview, shall we?

How would you describe BuzzSumo in just a few sentences?

BuzzSumo is designed to help content creators produce better content by understanding data (e.g. the content resonating with their audience, the content that gets shared, the trending content and who is amplifying that content).

In which ways can marketers use BuzzSumo to increase their productivity?

The typical use cases are content research, content curation, influencer marketing and competitor tracking. You can see for any site or topic the content that is working, the top content formats, the trending content, etc. Thus you can use the tool for content ideas, to find top performing content or see what is working for your competitors. You can also see the influencers that amplify content and build outreach programmes.

Which new skills are most important for marketers to learn in the next six months?

Marketing is changing. I think we will see an increased emphasis on data to help make decisions and personalised marketing. The good news is we have never had so much data, the challenge is using it to generate valuable and actionable insights. I also think we will continue to see marketing tools evolve and greater use of APIs to integrate tools. If you are in marketing I think data and technology will grow in importance.

How do you stay updated with the latest marketing industry news?

I have a set of RSS feeds set up in BuzzSumo (e.g. content alerts for topics like “data driven marketing”) which gives me a daily digest of new articles and RSS feeds set up from trending dashboards like our marketing dashboard so I can instantly see when articles start to trend.

Are there any particular marketing trends on the horizon that really excite you?

Lots! I think social continues to be interesting and rapidly changing. Last year more people visited content via social than search engines, which has implications for how we market certain products, services and content. I think Joe Pulizzi is right when he talks about content marketing as a long-term strategy for building an audience rather than simply running campaigns. Building an audience is a key task. I also think data as I mentioned will help people create better marketing as you can see what is working through data analytics.

Can you share one of your favorite productivity tips?

I personally like using my BuzzSumo feeds with tools such as IFTTT and Buffer to streamline my social activity. We also use tools such as AgoraPulse and Intercom.

Which one book would you recommend every marketer should read?

Love Is the Killer App: How to Win Business and Influence Friends by Tim Sanders. Basically be helpful and give away your knowledge.

What’s in store for the future, as BuzzSumo continues to grow?

We are adding some new features later this year and more sources. I see it as an organic process of adding features that add value to our users, as when we added Trending earlier this year. We now have over 100,000 subscribers and I anticipate we will see this more than double in the next 12 months.

Connect with Steve

You can find Steve on TwitterLinkedIn, and Contently.

And of course, be sure to check out BuzzSumo and sign up for a free trial if you’re not already using it!

The How Marketers Work series asks marketers from around the world to share their greatest productivity tips, tricks, and tools. Do you know someone who should be interviewed, or do you have specific questions you’d like to see answered? Let’s chat.

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Want to steal our marketing process?

Discover exactly which steps we take with each new project, and how you can systematize your marketing efforts.