Buzzfeed equals to content marketing genius. To me at least. Seriously? Grabby listicles, viral clickbaits and lazy journalism―all these do make Buzzfeed look like a chump in the world of high-end, sophisticated media but I beg to differ.
You see, the very phrase “high-end, sophisticated media” is exactly the reason why Buzzfeed rose to the top of the fame game. Buzzfeed is the oddball among the serious publishing giants with in-depth, hard-hitting pieces. (The irony is, Buzzfeed has become a giant of its own too.)
Buzzfeed is when you feel lazy and need to kill your time.
A hell of a content gap, to be honest.
Buzzfeed targets millennials, often tagged as ‘lazy’ and ‘entitled’, who also show a penchant for nostalgia, simple pleasures and hope of better times. (Very much like Thought Catalog.) But what is so special about Buzzfeed that their articles get shared by thousands and procure links by bucketloads?
Secret Content Marketing Superpowers of Buzzfeed
- Buzzfeed knows what his target audience “wants” to read. Buzzfeed is all about us, our lives and the humanity in general. And it involves hours of market research. No, it’s not keyword research. Keyword research helps only for informational, commercial or transactional content, not for entertaining content.
- Buzzfeed is interactive (in the form of quizzes). Think. Would something as fast and entertaining as “What kind of potato are you?” grab anyone’s attention, especially when he is bored? What we need to understand here is Buzzfeed thrives on its goofiness. It’s simply so human and so lively that we love engaging with it.
- Buzzfeed articles are exciting and extracts a specific response from its readers. Now what really goes viral is still a mystery. Even if you read Word of Mouth Marketing and dozens of similar books in an evening or have an hour long coffee chat with Jonah Berger, you still might not be able to crack the virality code. Alas! But the very fundament of it lies in one thing: content must be unique and appealing. It must elicit emotion from the reader, whether it is joy, sorrow, surprise, fear, anxiety, awe or utility (read this). But most importantly, viral content is something that “the reader wants to project as his own”. Read this sentence again and again until you get the meaning of it.
- Buzzfeed articles are timely. Buzzfeed capitalizes on what’s already trending. Perhaps, it can be by spinning trending news pieces or newsjacked articles with a novel angle. Buzzfeed content is timely and focuses on what others are already interested about and talking about for the time being (even for a day!). While evergreen pieces can go viral (again, Thought Catalog and Wait But Why shines in this regard), trending content can do much better in the short term. Buzzfeed proves that.
Can you become like Buzzfeed? Probably not. Heck! You are in the B2B niche and your readers are C-level executives, not a bunch of teenagers.
However, do take note of the content marketing genius of Buzzfeed (Jonah Peretti in particular) in its very essence and try to apply it in your own content campaigns.