10 Reasons Why You Should Take Notes From Buzzfeed

BuzzFeedBuzzfeed has risen to global fame with its dangerously addictive formula of funny gifs, breaking news, interactive quizzes and legendary lists.

Not only are they a social influencer in the U.S., their UK site alone now sees 16 million monthly users, which accounts for almost 10% of BuzzFeed’s global traffic. (click to tweet)

Some of the most popular and highly shareable content seen throughout social media comes from BuzzFeed. With their ability to tap into trending topics at a moment’s notice and craft content in a uniquely relatable way, BuzzFeed has quickly become a key social influencer around the globe. If you want to have your content shared, take a page out of BuzzFeed’s book.

Luke Lewis, a former Editor of NME.com and now current Editor at UK BuzzFeed, shared some advice for PR pros at a recent Gorkana event in London:

1. Buzzfeed is determined to make their content as distinctive as possible, meaning they avoid using any reports from standard news outlets. Summing up his intention to avoid duplication, Lewis stated, “If everyone’s doing an interview with Kylie, what’s the point? Well, if everyone is covering an event, it may well be thats what’s being discussed on TV or Twitter is what really interests us and our audience.”

2. Whereas traditional media has long been obsessed with reporting the most universal details of a story, Buzzfeed takes the counterintuitive approach of seeking out unique perspectives and unusual niche aspects of that same story. For example, 19 Differences Between Paris and New York, 26 Signs You Grew Up On A Scottish Island or 19 Things Northerners Miss When They Move To London have all been popular by looking at an issue narrowly, but at the same time deeply. These lists, as well as BuzzFeed’s other postings, consist of content that’s directed at audiences in a way not typically seen from other news outlets. This is what makes BuzzFeed distinct from other media reports.

3. BuzzFeed’s job listings famously ask for “no haters” to apply. This is because they want their site’s DNA to be entertainment, fun and sharing. They also want to differentiate from the snarky tone of other sites and magazines. On this subject, Lewis remarked, “We’re not part of that world and the figures show that snark may intrigue, but it doesn’t get shared.”

4. BuzzFeed is not the only site taking this style of approach towards publishing their content. For example, the Daily Mail Online and Huffington Post are two of their main competitors, that feature similar types of articles. However, unlike those sites, Lewis wants BuzzFeed to fill the gaps in people’s lives when they are “bored at work or bored in-line.” This philosophy allows BuzzFeed to be an informative, interactive and enjoyable site to visit at any time of the day.

5. BuzzFeed posts around 25-30 items per day, which contributes to a global output of around 200-300 posts per day. Their posts are never duplicated and they have created several different handles to avoid competing with their own content. Doing this allows users to easily sort through their ample posts and find the article they are looking for.

6. BuzzFeed writers don’t usually have traditional content categories, which is uncommon in social media. Unlike traditional news outlets that people frequently visit, they don’t write reviews or publish many interviews. To help expand their categorical reach across the globe, BuzzFeed will focus on obtaining more employees to touch on political, fashion and beauty and scientific content.

7. They understand their audience and cater their content around it. 70% of BuzzFeed’s traffic comes from Facebook and 10% comes from Twitter (click to tweet), with the remainder coming from various other social sites. 60% of their users are in the 18-34 age range and a small majority of their users are female.

8. Whereas U.S. BuzzFeed posts seem to focus on uplifting content, such as 21 Photos That Will Restore Your Faith in Humanity, the UK humour and content dominates what’s socially shared by gently poking fun at class, regional differences and unusual aspects of British life, i.e. 27 Middle-Class Problems. Understanding the difference in audience and brand voice by country is what helps BuzzFeed be the success story they are today.

9. BuzzFeed takes a fairly scientific approach to headlines and thumbnail photos with two-hour split tests, but don’t test 25 different headlines, like Upworthy. Understanding the analytics behind what does and doesn’t work allows publishers to strategize what copy will go into their future posts.

10. In Lewis’ opinion, the site has redefined the role of the editor from a person who says, “No” to unorthodox content and tone, to a person who encourages experiments. This unique approach breathes fresh-air into the reporting of trending topics, as well as provides an enjoyable, interactive way for certain audiences, such as the Millenials, to obtain their news.

Buzzfeed recognizes that their best ideas often come from freewheeling conversations, “that take place at the watercooler.” Lewis reflected that, “Often what sounds like a totally ludicrous idea can ultimately end up becoming the most shared piece of content that day.”

Paul Middleton is a Corporate Communications Manager and splits his time between Ketchum’s Corporate Communications team and London visibility. Paul’s job means that he is often involved in Ketchum London’s work around media, events, awards, sponsorship, campaigns and social media. Paul brings a decade of PR experience and has worked on diverse initiatives including billion pound infrastructure projects, the Notting Hill Carnival and promoting London’s West End. Outside of work, Paul is a wannabe motorcycle racer, a devoted father and a slow but tenacious runner. He tweets using the handle @pjsmiddleton