Getting Content Seen The BuzzFeed Way

Everyone’s been there. You have a great strategy, which identifies that content is the way to be seen and engaged with. You’ve had the meetings and there’s a team of creatives just buzzing with great ideas. You press the button and then, well then, quite often not a lot happens.

It was interesting to talk to the guys at BuzzFeed’s London office this morning about the disappointment that frequently accompanies content teams feeling their great ideas have fallen on barren soil. Now, as a platform offering native content opportunities, you have to first signal that BuzzFeed most definitely has a self-serving argument here. But then again, if you’re going to listen to anyone on getting content seen, it’s a publishing giant well worth listening to.

Their golden rule about how digital publishing has changed over the past few years is that it used to be mostly conceived as 95% being weighted toward great content and 5% attention spent on distribution. That is now a 50:50 equation. Great content is a starting point, but it needs distribution to a targeted audience

There’s an axiom at BuzzFeed that if you want to gain traction with an audience, go for the niches. If you want to get people to share something, the accepted wisdom goes, there is no point in writing about what it’s like to be right-handed. Blog about what left-handers go through opening tins or playing the guitar seemingly upside down and you have hit an audience that will share because it says something about their identity.

In fact, if you’re looking at great content that will be shared, identity is one of three key ingredients -- content that speaks to someone’s experiences, such as 10 Things Only Americans Married To Brits Will Know, will get tagged and shared by people who have gone through the experience as well as people who know someone who has.

The other two key sweet spots are emotion and interesting views. We’ve all seen cute kitten pics that probably speak to a person’s identity as well as their emotions. We’ve also all seen how quickly memes get shared that back up a view sharers will typically believe in and simply want to restate.

If you can find niche audiences and target content to them that speaks to any of the three reasons for engaging with content (ID, emotions, views) then you have a very good starting point for content that will be engaged with.

So you can take it with a pinch of salt as coming from a publishing company that wants to sell its huge audience to brands, or you can take it as a little freebie of the things they have observed. I would most definitely advise the latter.


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