Internet users love casual information sites. Whether you spend a quick bathroom break scrolling through home DIY tricks or while away a weekend reading about random topics, we have all enjoyed the content of sites such as BuzzFeed and BoredPanda. Even during working hours, it is difficult to resist clicking on their catchy titles and savoring a tiny dopamine rush and the satisfaction of acquiring a tasty morsel of information.
This winning formula of providing knowledge in a fun and highly digestible manner has propelled BuzzFeed to the top of the millennial content game, earning them a staggering 3.2 billion views monthly. In June this year, the Internet media industry was abuzz (pun intended) when BuzzFeed announced an upcoming merger and public listing plan that would take the company’s valuation to $1.5 billion.
To date, BuzzFeed has more than 14 offices and over a thousand employees around the world. These employees create original articles and videos, edit and moderate user content, and design products to promote their partners. BuzzFeed’s advertising collateral boasts an 8 percent increase in brand awareness (three times the industry norm) and a 10 percent increase in purchase intent (five times the industry norm) for advertisers.
Given the impressive figures, many businesses and personal brands want to be featured on the platform. In addition, BuzzFeed holds an impressive DA rating of 93, meaning that search engines consider it a highly reliable source of traffic. However, not everyone has the advertising margins to sign up for a partnership contract with BuzzFeed. The good news is that there are different ways to get your name mentioned on the site, and many of them are free!
Becoming Part of the Buzz
For companies or individuals trying to build up an audience, content distribution through platforms like BuzzFeed can help to skyrocket brand awareness and website traffic. This is particularly true if you are aiming for users from the millennial and Gen Z demographics. Internet content has evolved greatly in the last decade, making the shift from business-to-consumer and platform-to-user communications to crowdsourced content where users can both create and consume simultaneously.
The truth is, blatant advertising is just as out of style as the pop-up ads that used to plague our browsers. Internet-savvy audiences these days want to hear from real people like themselves. The relatable and informal way that BuzzFeed presents its articles is reflective of this sentiment. So if your brand, product, or service is something that can be helpful or interesting to audiences without the hard sell, then BuzzFeed is perfect for you.
Creating Community Content
The easiest way to get involved with BuzzFeed and start posting articles is to sign up as a community creator. It is easy to create a community creator account; you could even sign in with your Facebook or Google credentials. Once you have done that, head to the BuzzFeed Community page and click on Join Us to be taken to the BuzzFeed content management system where you can start to draft your article. When you are done with the article, hit Publish Now to send it off for approval by a Community Editor. Unless you have made a major community rules faux pas, your post will be approved and published on the BuzzFeed Community page.
Speaking of community rules, there are some guidelines to note before you embark upon your BuzzFeed writing career. The most important of these is the first item on the BuzzFeed Community Rules list: No self-promotion. This means that your username should not have anything to do with your business at all. Because the community section is focused on supporting unbiased and non-commercial content, shameless self-promotion will get your posts rejected and can even result in your account being deleted. That said, there are many ways to give yourself a marketing nudge without being overtly obvious; you just have to be creative.
For example, you could include yourself in ‘10 Musicians On TikTok Who Will Definitely Be Famous Someday.’ Or, you could surreptitiously include a jacket from your clothing line in ‘Buy A Bunch Of New Clothes And We’ll Guess Your Zodiac Sign.’ As long as you maintain an objective tone and mention your brand only once, there is no reason for BuzzFeed editors to get upset. The site also allows the inclusion of media from a variety of other platforms such as Twitter, YouTube, or Instagram. This means that while you cannot promote yourself on BuzzFeed itself, you can direct viewers to your social media channels where you may advertise yourself and sell your products.
Another benefit of the BuzzFeed listicle (list/article) format is that you can garner support from other industry influencers, even if they are your competitors. How does that work? Well, people love to show off any public appreciation of their brand. Hence, a BuzzFeed post that lists them in a good light would likely be shared or forwarded on their social media channels, driving traffic to your post. The increased traffic for your post will not only give you more clout as a community contributor, but also enhance the image of your brand as viewers see it displayed alongside other brands that they support.
Ultimately, the quality of your content will be the deciding factor on whether your BuzzFeed journey ends in tears or triumph. With a poll under every post where users can leave feedback about your content, the BuzzFeed community can be harsh. If you put in a mediocre effort, then chances are that your post will fare poorly. But, if you publish relevant, engaging, and entertaining content, you will gain more views on your post and additionally win the coveted reward of being featured on the front page of the BuzzFeed site.
Getting featured on the front page of BuzzFeed is the Holy Grail of community contributors. Because the site receives billions of views every day, a front-page feature translates to a remarkable rise in visibility. Even if it is only mentioned briefly in the post, awareness of your brand will increase dramatically.
Relax, I’m a Professional
If you are unimpressed with the odds of making it to BuzzFeed’s front page as a community contributor and have writing experience, you could take the professional route and submit an article pitch to BuzzFeed instead. The platform has niche topics that they prioritize—such as LGBTQ+, K-Dramas, and Pop Culture—for which freelance contributions are welcome. Topics of focus typically change based on seasonal trends, so your content must be timely.
Should there be a niche that is suitable for your brand, an appealing freelance piece could be your ticket to being featured. In addition to being published on the BuzzFeed main site instead of the community subsite, your title will be displayed as BuzzFeed Contributor—a title that sounds significantly more authoritative than the common Community Contributor.
By now, the professional route must sound like a much better use of your time. However, do note that freelance contributions to BuzzFeed are generally held to a higher standard of writing, research, and entertainment value than community contributions. This means that you will have to send samples of your previous work to BuzzFeed editors and that they must accept your post pitch before you even put pen to paper. The completed article will also be subject to review, where editors may pick up on any subtle marketing maneuvers.
If you are daunted by the effort that will be required in the preparation and polish of a professional article, consider hiring an experienced writer to help draft the post and pitch it to BuzzFeed on your behalf.
Outside of the listicles, quizzes, and ‘how to’ guides of regular BuzzFeed lies a literary repository known as BuzzFeed READER. READER is a branch of the no-nonsense BuzzFeed News with a strong spotlight on personal essays and cultural criticism. If you have been finding the general content on BuzzFeed too flippant for your tastes, then perhaps READER would be the right fit for you. Because of its emphasis on personal and cultural context, being published in this subsection would be suitable for people or brands who are involved in issues such as mental health and racial literacy. While it is inappropriate to promote yourself in an article of this style, the platform provides access to a larger audience, and simply being listed as the author can help generate awareness of your existence.
Despite the pandemic—or, perhaps, due to it—the BuzzFeed audience has continued to grow in recent years. The company’s 2020 takeover of HuffPost and plans to go public indicate confidence in its media formula and future expansion in the industry. The platform now has a variety of divisions pushing all kinds of media from casual entertainment posts to in-depth independent news reports.
In the long run, if your target audience finds value in BuzzFeed, then you will too. Although the road to earning a feature on BuzzFeed may have its challenges, the increased brand recognition and potential for incoming organic traffic is definitely worth the effort.
If you want to get featured on Buzzfeed with a post that gains real traction, get in touch with our team.