The BuzzFeed-Inspired Guide to Killer Content

It’s common knowledge that BuzzFeed is the king of content. From May to June 2016, they drove nearly 200 million unique visitors to their site, making it the 15th most visited site on the internet this year.



As content marketers, it’s necessary to pay attention to BuzzFeed. From content creation, to content formats BuzzFeed readers respond to most, there’s a lot we can learn about the way millennials consume media. Here are some of our biggest takeaways from Buzzfeed this year:


      1. 70% of BuzzFeed’s traffic comes from mobile, and users are 2x more likely to share BuzzFeed articles from mobile as opposed to desktop.


It’s important to tailor the design and format of your content for mobile. It needs to be easy to scroll through, fit your mobile screen, and contain a lot of visual content.


       2. 75% of BuzzFeed traffic comes from social


This one goes without saying. You need to be sharing your content on social, and not just one time. You may have written the most fantastic, engaging article, but none of that matters as a content marketer if no one reads it.


        3. Understand that the people reading your content are either looking for specific information (via search) or very, very bored.



Content creators have 2 major tasks: inform and entertain. Make sure your content mix is a balance of both.


Jonah Peretti, one of BuzzFeed’s founders admitted that one of their most important psychographic groups were those that were “bored at work” or “bored in line”. These people are generally scrolling on their phone or quickly flipping between tabs during the time they find their work screens unsupervised. Typically they are looking for content that has entertainment value, and can help them quickly pass a minute or two. In this case, it’s important to make sure a large portion of your content is SFW. Another characteristic of this group that we have to acknowledge is that they are probably not in the best mood…they are bothered by the 5 minutes they waste waiting in line, and probably have things they would prefer to do than work at a desk. BuzzFeed’s approach to this trait is to create empathetic content. You’ve probably seen more than one article like this.



Here’s a fun fact: the “bored in line” group are the most likely to share articles, and they are scrolling on mobile.


             4. Use your headline to target a specific audience.



Targeting niche markets can greatly expand your ROI, because you’re able to zero-in on those most likely to spend on your product. Try creating headlines that specifically call out a niche audience. Here are some examples from BuzzFeed:


“21 Things All Lazy Cooks Will Understand”


“15 Things You Should Eat in NYC if You’re a Vegetarian”


“19 Things You’ll Only Understand If You’re a Woman Who Doesn’t Want Kids”


People love to hear about themselves! Your content is not about YOU, it’s about THEM.


                5. Speaking of headlines….


It might be worth taking the time to write a couple of headlines, and run them by your team before you choose.


Upworthy also suggests content creators stay away from:


  • Writing opinionated headlines
  • Giving too much away in your headline

You need to give people a reason to stay and read your story. Everyone’s got a different opinion, so if you want to get a decent number of eyes on your page, it’s a good idea to keep your opinions to yourself (or let them go in the article, not the headline.)


If you give too much away in the headline, they are more likely to skim. If you want them to stay and read, you’re gonna have to write a headline that leads them to a question.



                6. Speak your audience’s language.


It’s important to be in touch with the way your audience communicates. Research their social feeds to see how they talk to each other. Take note of slang terms!



A general rule of thumb if you want to create content people can engage with and relate to is to limit technical wording. The goal of content marketing is to humanize a brand, so picture your content more as a conversation with friends than a sales pitch.