Simply stated, BuzzFeed’s success is impressive. The addictive news site has connected with a fast-growing global audience with breaking news and feature posts ranging from quirky to cute.
Why the fast success? BuzzFeed’s content is broad, yet article topics are very specific, speaking directly to groups of people, e.g., 26 Things Only Perpetually Tired People Will Understand, 23 Words Teenagers Love to Use And What They Really Mean. And, we can’t leave out 30 Reasons You Know You Work in PR.
Headlines are provocative, lists are relatable, the use of animated GIFS is hilarious and all of the above catch on like wildfire via social media. In fact, Facebook referrals represent the site’s biggest source of traffic, e.g., articles, polls, videos. From an advertising standpoint, BuzzFeed’s sweet spot is sponsored content that mimics the viral content usually published on the site.
In Nov. 2013, BuzzFeed reached 130 million unique global visitors and founder Jonah Peretti announced a number of growth initiatives, including an aggressive plan to hire more journalists focused on breaking and investigative news coverage. It is a big undertaking, can one media company communicate breaking news and quirky viral content well, satisfying a wide scope of readers?
Regardless of the answer, BuzzFeed’s content is highly consumable and shareable and a good reminder to all PR professionals to keep their writing pithy and relatable. Whether a press release or a contributed article, getting to the point quickly and summarizing content via video or images boosts reader engagement and social sharing helping a company achieve greater visibility and external communications goals.