Friday, May 09, 2014

The Impact of Influencers on your Start-Up - Our BuzzSumo Experience

Every day the first thing I check is not my email or my social networks but the number of people who have signed up to BuzzSumo. Our free BuzzSumo tool aims to help people amplify their content marketing by providing insights into the most shared content. The benefits of this daily monitoring, or paranoia, is that I can see quite clearly when we get spikes in sign-ups and track the reasons or sources of referrals. This week I have been assessing the impact of influencers on our sign-up rates.

We had our first big spike in sign-ups back in March when Lifehacker ran a review of BuzzSumo.

buzzsumo review

The post only received 410 Twitter shares but drove a significant amount of traffic and sign-ups.

In the last few weeks we have a steady growth in sign-ups which have been driven to new highs by recommendations and articles by influencers.

We were particularly proud to get a nice Tweet this week from Rand Fishkin, as one of our heros in the SEO industry.

Rand was worried about sharing his views and overwhelming us with traffic. By contrast we were hoping for a tsunami of traffic. As a start-up too much traffic is one of the better problems to have, even one you dream of

Rand gets 18 retweets on average and this one received 25 retweets and 55 favourites. It also attracted some good feedback which you can see on the post here.  Thus we were optimistic it would generate many new BuzzSumo users.

There was a nice spike of traffic immediately but unfortunately it tailed off quite quickly. Maybe it is just the typical short life-cycle life of a tweet. However, Rand's comment made our week and has inspired us to work even harder on the product. It can be difficult when you are head down working, sometimes you question if others will see the benefits that you see. Thus receiving praise from someone like Rand is more encouraging than you can imagine.

A week or so before Rand's tweet we were invited to publish a guest post on Noah Kagan's OkDork site. My colleague Henley undertook a major piece of analysis using BuzzSumo reviewing the shares of over 100m articles to tease out why some posts went viral. The resulting post is here Why Content Goes Viral.

The post was promoted by Noah and was well shared. At the time of writing it had been shared over 3,000 times as seen from our BuzzSumo analysis below.

This post led to a significant increase in sign-ups. The spike happened almost immediately but more importantly we have continued to receive sign-ups from this post weeks later. The post has been picked up by other sites and continues to be shared.

At this stage as a start-up we are spending everything on product development and nothing on marketing. Hence, the support of influencers to drive awareness and traffic is very significant. My experience of recent weeks is that a blog post by an influencer, or a guest post on their blog, is far more valuable in terms of traffic than a tweet or a mention, however positive. This is no surprise really as an article has more depth and permanence but something to consider in your influencer marketing plan.

What we need now is a blog post from Rand on why he loves BuzzSumo. :-)