We identified the the top 100 most engaging publications from our Content Analysis Report tab, with the following filters appended:

  • Date filter: 1 year
  • Country filter: All countries
  • Journalist filter: Content written only by journalists
  • Domain filter: Excluded

The Datapoints

The top 100 most engaging publications

  • 6 million + links analyzed
  • 876 million articles analyzed
  • 4 billion backlink engagements analyzed

Please note that BuzzSumo tracks online content – ie. articles, blogs, videos etc. Therefore the links analyzed will point only to publication articles – not webpages, footer links, etc.

NB: Not all links in this study will be representative of syndicated media. That said, the research proves that major, unrelated publications do pass significant authority to each other. Studying the connections between the content of the top 100 most engaging publishers goes a long way to inferring syndication, or at least strong connections.

What do the metrics analyzed in the chart mean?

Average engagement 

We analyzed the engagement that a publication earns for each article they publish.

Why did we choose this metric?

If you pitch to a publication, you want your brand or client to get the most amount of attention possible. PRs have long focused on a publication’s “Reach score” when reporting on coverage. This is essentially the traffic or impressions a publication generates overall. The problem with reach scores is that they are extremely broad, and in no way tied to individual coverage. Social engagement, on the other hand is, and is a metric that journalists are increasingly targeted on. The total engagement of a publication is more focused than a reach score. But if a media outlet publishes reams of articles with relatively low engagement, then a high total engagement score is misleading. This is why we chose to focus on average engagement. It involves dividing the number of articles a publisher writes, by their overall engagement, and gives you a more realistic idea of individual article engagement – ie. the amount of attention a placement could drive in said publication.



We analyzed the top 100 most engaging publications. For each individual publication, we discovered their top 10 backlinkers. But these top 10 backlinkers were picked from the same pool of publications (ie. the top 100), so that we focused on links from only the highest authority publications.

Why did we choose this metric?

You want your coverage to be organically referenced by other publications, so that it naturally syndicates. Analyzing a publications’ ability to pick up backlinks from other publications will help you do this. A backlink is a reference. Even if it’s not verbatim content syndication (ie. where your story has been republished word for word), it infers syndication or a strong connection. Spotting the connections between publications can guide your pitching efforts, and help you focus on outreaching to media outlets the have the ability to spread your story further than their owned site. We focused our analysis on a closed group of the most engaging publications, as these are the ones that are most likely to drop high quality, relevant links. Another benefit of limiting the analysis to links shared between publishers is that they’re also more likely to represent syndicated content. If we had opened up our analysis to any site (ie. ecommerce, B2C sites, etc.) the links analyzed would be less relevant, and therefore less likely to be syndicated.


Engagement of backlinks 

We worked out the engagement of the backlinks coming from a publications’ top 10 referrers.

Why did we choose this metric?

The number of backlinks pointing to a publication is interesting to know, and goes some way to revealing the authority of their network, but what if those backlinks all come from low authority sites with low traction articles? To prioritize value over volume, we chose to focus on the engagement of the articles containing those backlinks – ie. the ones that are most likely to drive true attention for your brand or client.