Video: 11 Ways to Tear a Page from Buzzfeed's Playbook


Video: 11 Ways to Tear a Page from Buzzfeed's Playbook

August 4, 2014

We get it, video can be a really daunting endeavor for BtoB publishers, but it’s also a necessity in any digital-first content marketing strategy. It’s a fact that online video consumption is only increasing, with an expected increase of 19% between 2012 -2017, with mobile video viewers growing 82% over the same time period.

While established publishers consider the merits of content marketing, media sites like Buzzfeed have emerged as leaders in delivering targeted content. The New York Times cited Buzzfeed as a major competitor in their recent Innovation Report and the site's growth numbers make it a compelling story:

By October of last year, Buzzfeed’s unique monthly visitors had reached 93 million, from September’s 85 million. Talking video content alone, its YouTube videos had a cumulative 92 million views and 2.7 million subscribers (one month later, those numbers were at 110 million and 3 million). 

Even though the numbers are powerful, we’ve learned that part of Buzzfeed’s success is not only about its growth numbers. As it turns out, there is a lot for publishers to learn from Buzzfeed's non-traditional approach, and while most tactics apply to video, it doesn’t take long to realize that many are applicable to a wide range of content:

  1. Tap into emotion and identity.As Jonathan Perelman (GM of video at Buzzfeed) says, “When you can create that piece of content that speaks to somebody about what they're going through, it's going to resonate better.” At Buzzfeed, this means striking a fine balance between news and humor. Regardless of whether it’s branded content or not, the trick is to create something that’s exceptional enough to make readers want it. Ze Frank, EVP of video at Buzzfeed says, "We should get it to a point where consumers are following brands’ content ecosystems because its good content."
  2. Take a lesson from your students—and create opportunities. Buzzfeed has a new paid residency program where individuals, regardless of professional background, can work with the staff to develop their own personal projects. While tapping "residents" to move projects forward, Buzzfeed leverages students' creativity to bring out fresh ideas and perspective to turn them into compelling video content.
  3. Hire a strong team. Buzzfeed has convened a highly skilled team of editors and writers who know how to find, polish and repackage content, along with develop original, compelling content. While the company has been criticized for it’s shameless reuse of images and storylines from other sites, their team has the ability to take that content and improve upon it to create a viral sensation. This is no exception for their videos.
  4. Don’t skimp on your platform.  It’s no secret that Buzzfeed has invested in a powerful publishing platform that leverages a variety of formats, in-depth statistics and data, SEO, testing, social integrations, native mobile apps and intuitive design. Buzzfeed credits removing tech obstacles to creativity for their ability to attract stellar staff, and of course, create an engaging reader or viewer experience.
  5. Leverage clarity and resolution. Buzzfeed attributes the quality of its images to the success in repackaging content to go viral. The staff only uses media that is sharp and vivid.

Let’s let these sink in for a little while and consider how you can apply much of Buzzfeed's approach to news delivery to your media business. We’ll continue in our next post . . .