Succeeding In A Distributed Platform Reality

Leveraging distributed platforms has become a key growth mechanism for most digital media companies. In the past, content distribution was controlled by media conglomerates, who owned large groups of television stations, radio stations, newspapers (national and local) and magazines. Many would say they also controlled the conversation.

Today, the content creation voices are vast, and there is an abundance of distribution options: traditional media, social media platforms, news aggregators, messaging apps, and syndication on other Web sites. Content creators have a choice, and the distribution path they select is pivotal to achieve success.

Distributed platforms present an opportunity for both content discovery by new customers and content promotion to existing customers. BuzzFeed has been leading the charge and the conversation, utilizing more than 30 different platforms.

We made a similar commitment to the distributed platform model in the middle of 2015, but with a more targeted approach. Our audience fully embraces Facebook: that’s where she lives; that’s where she consumes content. Both approaches have their merit, but it is important to master a few platforms and establish a loyal and engaged audience before attempting to distribute content “everywhere.”



We fully embrace and leverage the philosophy that “content is king” and “distribution is queen.” Our strategy for Facebook distribution has been driven by a few key factors. First off, we treat Facebook as four different platforms: Traditional News Feed, Live, Native, and Instant Articles. Then we optimize content — subject matter, length of video, and sound (on or off) — for each.

In the world of Facebook, engagement translates to comments, likes, and shares, and we test and optimize for those actions. The key to success in any external platform is recognizing the KPIs for each platform and striving for success in those measures, as well as your own internal targets.

In order to master the distributed platform model, publishers must never stop looking at where their audience is — and where they are going. It’s not the same answer for any two publishers. For some, it is a platform that didn’t exist a year or two ago, such as Snapchat (now working to rebrand as Snap Inc.) or Facebook Live. For others, it’s expanding into other established platforms, such as Instagram or Pinterest. Keep experimenting, keep iterating, keep listening to your audience, and keep an eye on your ROI.

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