Interconnect optimization, including buffer insertion and Steiner tree construction, continues to be a pillar technology that largely determines overall chip performance. Buffer insertion algorithms in published literature are mostly focused on optimizing only the most critical path. This is a sensible approach for the first order effect. As people strive to squeeze out more performance in the post Moore’s law era, the timing of near critical paths is worth considering as well. In this work, a p-norm based Figure Of Merit (pFOM) is proposed to account for both the critical and near critical path timing. Accordingly, a pFOM-driven buffer insertion method is developed. Further, the interaction with timing driven Steiner tree is investigated. The proposed techniques are validated in an industrial design flow and the results confirm their advantages.