BuzzSumo Shares Content Marketing Trends in 2018 Report

Eric Kazda  |   May 23, 2018   |  Posted in Marketing

In the marketing industry, it’s vital to continue adapting your strategy based on real data. That’s why we love when companies like BuzzSumo conduct in-depth research about relevant topics in the digital marketing industry. Their latest research, the 2018 Content Trends Report, researches the latest content marketing trends. We’re sharing some of their findings so that we can all adapt our online content strategies appropriately.

Read BuzzSumo’s 2018 Content Trends Report in its entirety here.

There is an overwhelming amount of content on the internet.

The amount of content available continues to grow exponentially. The same cannot be said for the amount of engagement with that content. Web users are faced with too many options, so they tend to focus on engaging with a few trusted publishers.

This content explosion is even more rapid when a specific keyword or topic becomes popular. In this report, BuzzSumo references bitcoin to prove their point. Where there were once less than 10,000 articles about bitcoin being published each week in 2015, in December of 2017 over 40,000 articles were published in one week about that trending topic.

The main problem content marketers face is how to stand out amongst the competition within an oversaturated market. Why would a user click on your content over a major news site?

Social networks no longer hold the same sway for audiences.

Facebook was providing more traffic than Google for a period of time between 2015-2017 for websites dedicated to publishing content. However, social referral traffic has continued to plummet in 2017 and 2018.

BuzzSumo reasons that this may be caused in part due to the subsequent decline of social sharing. Median shares per post were 8 shares in 2015, compared to just 4 shares in 2017. But there is also reason to believe a rise in private sharing has overtaken public sharing on social sites. Private channels could be messenger apps or even email.

The cycle is all connected. When the amount of content available increases, the number of shares and engagement per article decreases. This decrease in sharing affects major traffic referral sources like Facebook.

The decline in traffic and engagement is also probably due to Facebook constantly tweaking their newsfeed algorithms. It’s extremely difficult for brand pages to show up in organic newsfeeds. Facebook also made a concerted effort to penalize headlines that were deliberate clickbait. Think headlines that say some variation of ‘find out what happens next.’

It will be interesting to see how the recent information about Facebook’s failure to protect users’ data affect these numbers. If users don’t trust the network, they certainly won’t be increasing the amount of content they share and engage with on that network.

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What’s a marketer to do?

While the report paints a bleak picture for content marketing trends, it also offers some guidance on how to succeed. Three sites mentioned in the report that have succeeded are the Harvard Business Review, The Economist, and The New York Times. Why is this? BuzzSumo has some ideas.

1) Be an authoritative and respected source in your content niche. was already talking about cryptocurrencies before bitcoin blew up. This positioned them to gain traffic even when users were encountering an overwhelming amount of content about bitcoin.

2) Have an opinion. Sites like The New York Times consistently saw high engagement on their political editorials.

3) Expand your social sharing beyond Facebook. LinkedIn is actually increasing social shares while Facebook is declining. Marketers should consider focusing their efforts on LinkedIn, especially if they are a B2B company.

4) Get quality backlinks to your content. BuzzSumo found that the median number of backlinks in 2017 for their sample of 100 million posts was ZERO! While sites that are already considered authorities in their field continue to get backlinks, the rest of the published content still struggles.

5) Create evergreen content. BuzzSumo bases this distinction based on these characteristics:

  • Research-based
  • Reference style
  • Has longevity
  • Is regularly updated with fresh insights

Key Takeaways

The report goes much more in-depth about each of the content marketing trends. However, the main takeaway is that you have to work hard to create respected content in order for that content to be found and shared. Stick to a niche and own it. Prioritize evergreen content over viral content. And most of all, focus on quality over quantity.

What did you learn from the report?

What takeaways do you have from the report? Leave them in the comments below!


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Eric Kazda

Eric Kazda is a leading expert in the interactive development industry with over fifteen years of experience. With a mastery of critical development technologies, Eric has crafted innovative award-winning work for clients both large and small. Coupling this knowledge with a real world understanding of usability and technological feasibility, his work is developed to be accessible by every user.