Creating a Buzz
January 26, 2015
Journalism was once thought to be a dying field, but in actuality, it’s the way we consume news that has changed. Whether we access news from our Twitter feeds, our mobile devices or our smart TVs, stories will always be available in some shape or form.
But in an ever-connected world, journalists have struggled to keep eyes on the page (and on the screen.) Many readers are now only willing to scan the first few sentences before something diverts their attention elsewhere. Cue the shift – the meteoric shift – of many news services to ditch the traditional news layout and add flashy photos, GIFs and videos.
This has been tried-and-true formula of BuzzFeed. Whether the story is focused on the outbreak of Ebola, or the best Weird Al moments of 2014, the layout stays fairly static – large photos with short descriptors in a list format. The method has proved to work quite well – they have a monthly audience of 150 million and counting – and that’s why so many PR professionals strive to get their clients featured on Buzzfeed.
Placing a story on BuzzFeed is easier said than done. Sure, the story you pitched sounds funny to you, but will millions of BuzzFeed readers share it on Facebook? If you’ve yet to get a response, I’m guessing the answer is no. BuzzFeed is a tough cookie to crack, so when your client is looking for consumer-facing publications, suggest BuzzFeed Community.
BuzzFeed Community is an offshoot of the main site that allows for placement of user-curated content. Whether you’re a brand, a CEO or just someone who unearthed a trend in Ryan Gosling’s Instagram posts, the floor is yours.
BuzzFeed offers guidelines for Community posts and explains how to generate viewership. Posts are fairly easy to construct with a user-friendly CMS (note that each photo and blurb needs to be posted to your story separately). BuzzFeed has an analytics feature for each post, showing whether users are accessing the story from social sites, email or organically. Community posts are often aggregated to the BuzzFeed homepage if your content is worthwhile.
We recently used this method for Mad Genius Radio with a story titled “What Your Music Purchases Say About You.” This piece was a subtle way to poke fun at people based on their music purchases, and it gave Mad Genius an opportunity to reach a new readership.