What makes something go viral? It's a common question these days. And in the quest for answers, brands would be remiss to neglect an entity like BuzzFeed, a platform described as a new kind of media company for the social world.
Jon Steinberg, BuzzFeed's president, notes that visitors to BuzzFeed simultaneously engage with an endless mashup of high- and low-brow content, from news to wacky animal photo montages. All categories of content are welcome, Steinberg says, so long as they meet BuzzFeed's simple threshold -- is it shareable?
According to Steinberg, brands that work with BuzzFeed need to consider three things when figuring out how to create content worth sharing.
- Does the content have a voice or point of view?
- Is it a content gift?
- What does the content do for the brand?
While the last question might seem obvious to anyone who works in advertising, the first two questions are a big part of what makes BuzzFeed such a unique play for marketers. Brands can't buy banners ads, although they can purchase placement for their post in a given vertical. But there's a catch -- the content has to be good. If it is good, people will share it. If it's a dud, BuzzFeed has an algorithm in place to swap it out for something better.
With nearly 27 million unique visitors a month (according to Google Analytics in April), BuzzFeed is clearly a careful steward of its content ecosystem. It also tends to be way ahead of the viral curve. As any BuzzFeed user can tell you, what you see on BuzzFeed today will likely be on Facebook tomorrow. Naturally, that's a huge draw for brands looking to make a social media splash. But engaging with social media takes more than just showing up. So to help marketers reimagine themselves as social publishers, we're showcasing five brands that have figured out how to buzz on BuzzFeed.