Is BuzzFeed the Millennial’s News Outlet of Choice? How Pop Culture Is Impacting the News and Your Business

A picture is worth a thousand words. But what would 21 equal? If you are BuzzFeed, that would equal more than 120,000 page views, 2,000 plus shares on Facebook with an additional 4,500 plus “likes” and 200 Tweets.  These stats were the result of a recent BuzzFeed post on the second presidential debate at Hofstra University that featured 21 photos with captions that did not exceed 12 words.

 If you are not familiar with BuzzFeed, you will be. Its reporters are featured on all the major news networks talking politics next to aged pundits. Its recent coverage of Hurricane Sandy shed light on areas impacted by the storm but not featured on major news networks. And with every piece of serious coverage, you can find the lighter content, the stuff that drew college students and young adults to the site in the first place: 31 photos of red pandas sleeping or an article on 18 things you didn’t know about Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”

As the mainstream media begins to legitimize BuzzFeed and its editors – take this Fortune article “Meet the man reinventing the news” as an example – it is time for marketing communications professionals to consider the site and some of its basic mantras:

  • KISS (Keep it Simple, Stupid!) – Long form journalism has its place, but sometimes a few pictures do a better job telling the story. While news from a professional services company might be too complex to tell with pictures alone, think of ways to convey difficult topics in a simpler form. Would a graph better explain complex financial information or would a diagram of a process be easier to digest than writing out all of the steps?
  • Speak To Your Audience in Their Language – With the introduction of formal editors, BuzzFeed has been able to develop niche pockets of content from politics to lifestyle to sports. The result has been articles that specifically appeal to certain demographics. But where BuzzFeed also excels is the advertorial – sharable ads that look similar to its traditional content. GE, Coca-Cola, Dell, MTV and Nike are just some of the brands advertising on BuzzFeed that have integrated their ads into the BuzzFeed format. The most popular and successful, according to case studies on BuzzFeed, is the list post – taking a singular piece of content like a video and editing the video into a list. It has found that lists have greater viral views, click-through rates and social sharing than a typical, static post.
  • Measure, Measure, Measure – Every marketer wants to know the results of their campaign and BuzzFeed makes it pretty easy. Its online dashboard lets you determine how “viral” your content is and track your success in quasi real time. With each post you have the ability to track viral views, seed views, top referrals and search terms on a simple dashboard.

BuzzFeed is an interesting new platform that, in certain circumstances, would allow your business to reach an entirely new audience with little effort. As the site further legitimizes, marketing and PR teams should be marketing meetings to turn to this question: “so how are we going to get this on BuzzFeed?”

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