On the Future of Content: An Interview with Steve Rayson of BuzzSumo
If you have never used BuzzSumo, you are missing out. BuzzSumo is one of the best content discovery & improvement tools available, offering a range of insights into social performance, influencers & backlink data – there is a heap of ways you can utilize BuzzSumo’s many data points to get in-depth, actionable measures to develop your content process.
This week, the man behind BuzzSumo, Steve Rayson, is launching an app called Anders Pink, which develops detailed overviews of the latest news from your chosen networks.
I spoke to Steve about the new app, the success of BuzzSumo, and his thoughts on the content marketing landscape. As you might expect, Steve offered some insights – here is a summary of our chat.
The Growth of BuzzSumo
On BuzzSumo – the app earned $2.5 million in annual revenue in its first full year, with more than 160,000 users. I asked Steve about the key lessons he is learned from the app’s growth.
“I think the key has been focusing on a specific task, such as content research,” Steve said. “It is very tempting to add lots of new features, such as sharing, scheduling, planning & creation tools – and we have been guilty of some of this. However, I think the key to a successful app is focusing on helping users to do a specific task quickly & easily.”
This is great point, and you could see why some companies look to add in a wider range of new features & tools to expand their horizons. But there is something to be said for doing the core elements.
“BuzzSumo helps our users see what content is resonating & why, starting a simple search,” Steve noted.
That said, the success of BuzzSumo is obviously aligned with the success of content marketing more widely – I asked Steve if he has any concerns about us reaching a content saturation point, the impact of ‘content shock’, as flagged by expert Mark Schaefer.
“I personally think we are only in the early stages,” Steve said. “The volume of content published will develop significantly as the internet population grows, as creation tools get easier from video to writing.”
But still Steve notes that we will see increased focus, which may narrow content scope & efforts to appeal to a wide audience.
“We are going to have to get better at filtering out content that’s relevant & important to us.”
The Future of Content
As content marketing grows, and more publishers look to produce more content, the competition for attention is also heating up, and bigger players in the market will always have more resources and more capacity to hone in & produce more focused content. I asked Steve how he thinks this will impact smaller, lower volume publishers & their content reach.
“I think this is a key challenge,” Steve agreed “Large publishers have big audiences & the money to promote their content. It will become increasingly hard to achieve audiences, as social channels become more pay to play.”
Steve says that the way to overcome this lies in providing content that people simply cannot get anywhere else.
“The key will be relentlessly creating unique & valuable content. Building an audience takes time & you need to find a specific niche where you could compete.”
That word – ‘niche’ seems to be a key theme there, focusing on a very specific market & working to boost your appeal by being the specialist in this area.
In September last year, Steve published a blog post in which he recommended that the key to success in content marketing can lie in publishing more content, not less, citing some big publishers – their use of automated systems to produce content – as instances:
“The Washington Post publishes around 1,200 posts a day. That is an incredible amount of content. My initial reaction when I read the statistic was ‘surely that is much, the quality will suffer, why produce so much content?’ “
The post sparked a lot of conversation in content marketing circles, no doubt a lot of concern in the minds of content creators. I asked Steve whether he thought the robots are coming to take over content jobs.
“No, I do not think so, but I suspect we will see a huge increase in automated content – i.e. content written by robots & algorithms. These tools will become available to all internet users in the coming years & my fear is they will be abused in much the same way as automated sharing tools have been.”
This will make it harder for content marketers to get their message out, with an increasing amount of noise to cut through. What the impact of automated content bots will be is impossible to say, but it will be interesting to see how such systems will work, and how they will change the process.
Steve’s been working on a new app called Anders Pink for some time, and it functions as a daily briefing, depended on a range of customizable filters & tools.
I asked Steve where he sees the new tool fitting into the content process & what it can add for creators & publishers.
“If you want to create unique & valuable content, you need to be an expert or very knowledgeable about your field,” Steve said. “Our new app is about keeping individuals & teams briefed & updated on developments in their industry.”
The tool provides a range of customizable filter selections to hone in your data, which Steve elaborated on further:
“It lets you to filter out relevant content from the millions of articles published each day. You can use domains, RSS feeds, Twitter lists & other sources, and then filter by keywords or filter all of the content published using advanced keywords.”
“The aim,” Steve noted, “is to help people get briefed each day & stay smart.”
Given the success of BuzzSumo, and Steve’s knowledge & experience in the field, it is certainly worth a look.
I asked Steve for one tip, one top piece of advice he would give for creating effective content.
“This is more than one tip, but my advice would be concentrate a niche.”
“Become an expert in that niche, read everything you can & then regularly & consistently create unique content that adds value to your users. You need to amplify your content – but everything begins with the quality of the content itself.”
Some great notes here from a man with deep knowledge of the field. It is worth paying attention & considering the lessons Steve outlines in his tips.
You can check out BuzzSumo here & the new Anders Pink app at this link.