Eric Rubino

I don’t need to convince you how important social media is nowadays. That’s a given.

I don’t even need to explain the value that social media offers for digital marketing. That’s been said and done.

I’m here to tell you how critical the use of social media is when creating content marketing assets of all sorts, from blog posts and eBooks to infographics and animations.

It’s this simple: If you don’t know what your target audience is talking about and sharing on social media, then you don’t know your target audience.

If you don't know what your target audience is talking about, then you don't know your target audience.

How will you know what they’re saying, what resonates with them, what they find interesting and valuable? And most importantly, how will you know what they’re reading and sharing?

Do what we do: Use BuzzSumo

It all starts with BuzzSumo. If you haven’t heard of BuzzSumo, you’re about to thank me. This platform, among many other things, allows you to search for socially trending content by topic or keyword. And tons of big brands use it, including Brafton.

BuzzSumo works with many brands and publishers.

In fact, in the past year at Brafton, BuzzSumo Pro went from being a very useful tool to becoming an invaluable part of our content creation arsenal that all Brafton writers use to inject their clients into the current conversations for most – if not all – industries. Its Content Discovery capability is a tentpole of our content mapping process, and honestly, that’s just the start.

In the years to come, I imagine we’ll use BuzzSumo for dozens of other reasons as well. But I digress.

Discover the most shared content

BuzzSumo’s Content Discovery feature allows you to search for the most shared content given a keyword or topic. I could paraphrase and such, but I asked Steve Rayson, Director of BuzzSumo, to explain in his own words how to use social media to create blog posts, and, well, he gets us.

“We leverage social media in a number of ways to create content,” Rayson said. “In our case, we tend to use our most shared search to review, say, the most shared articles on content marketing this month or the most shared on LinkedIn or Twitter.”

Once you identify what your target audience is sharing, you know which content is most shareable, and therefore, the most valuable, informative and engaging in the eyes of that audience. Then, you can inject yourself into that conversation and create content your audience will want to read and share.

Identify what your audience is sharing and use what you learn to create shareable content yourself.

By using social media to create blog posts (thanks to BuzzSumo), you can walk the walk of your target audience and speak the same language as them. You can and should source that most popular content to develop blog posts, eBooks, infographics – you name it – that you know will be shareable as a result. You’ll know what your prospects already know, and that allows you to get on their level – a major element of ensuring your content resonates with them.

Better yet, with BuzzSumo, you can identify what isn’t being said. What key points did the most shared articles miss? When you provide that information, opinion or solution, you stand out, you get heard, you lead the conversation.

More ways to leverage social media for content creation

How about identifying aspects of most shared blog post titles that you should use in your content titles? Are they formed as questions? Lots of listicles? Do they commonly use “how to” or “why?”

Do popular articles contain videos, custom images or embedded social posts? Make sure your blog posts provide similar visual elements.

There are a wealth of insights that you can glean from most shared content. I’m really at the tip of the iceberg.

Tracking influencer activity

Consider influencers for a moment. You can identify what industry experts find shareable.

“[With Buzzsumo] you can also analyze Facebook pages, such as an analysis of the content shared by, say, Donald Trump on Facebook,” Rayson explained. “This also provides a useful source of material for blog posts.”

After all, if influencers think a piece of content is interesting and worth posting on their own personal accounts, then audiences in that influencer’s industry will likely find that content interesting. Extract the key takeaways from shared sources and add to that conversation. And, by the way, it’s not just Facebook pages that you can analyze with BuzzSumo – the social aggregation tool supports all the major networks.

Click to download our eBook, "Pay to Play: How to Use Social Ads for Lead Generation

Then there are the non-Buzzsumo ways to use social media to create engaging content. Rayson gets that too.

“I think other interesting uses are the way companies source images from Instagram using tools that manage licenses and permissions,” he added.

Spice up your content by embedding social media directly into it. But we already went there, so if those aspects of using social channels intrigues you, check out this blog post from earlier in the month.

All said, I highly encourage you to head over to BuzzSumo and take their free trial for a spin. There are a bunch of other really cool features that the platform has to offer and my words won’t do them justice.

Special thanks to Director of BuzzSumo Steve Rayson for contributing to this blog post! Seriously, even if he didn’t provide some quotes, I still would have said these great things about the platform because Brafton’s creatives use it every day to create relevant, engaging content for our clients.