I was particularly excited when I saw Jonah Peretti, founder of BuzzFeed was on the line-up for Inbound 2015’s keynote speakers. BuzzFeed is one of my favorite websites because of its ample personality quizzes, videos and humorous news pieces. Scrollable lists and quizzes were two of the famous types of content that BuzzFeed is notorious for producing.
Jonah started his presentation by discussing how BuzzFeed became a company with 12,000 full time employees, a 4 acre studio in LA and 4 billion+ content views per month! I will not share all the details in hopes you will watch the video of his Inbound appearance (embedded below). I will say that one of his greatest accomplishments at BuzzFeed is getting President Barack Obama to use a selfie stick for the first time, talk about a monumental experience for the US! Another fact I found interesting is BuzzFeed originated before Facebook existed. In order to succeed in the market, BuzzFeed changed platforms multiple times and expanded to having their own application and even Snapchat channel.
The second portion of Jonah’s speech explained how his team at BuzzFeed creates compelling content. According to Peretti, popularity is a good and easy metric but it is not enough. A piece of content can be popular but forgettable or spread a message that is misinterpreted or unintended by the creator. BuzzFeed measures success by asking themselves a number of questions when determining the impact of their content:
- Did it spread internationally?
- Did it spread to other platforms?
- Did it improve people’s lives?
- Did it help change powerful institutions, companies or governments?
- Did it help make the world more open or more diverse?
- Did it help people connect with each other?
Don’t think that all of these questions need to be addressed in one piece of content. I would personally aim to accomplish at-least one and view any more than that as a major success! If you work in a large team setting, it is probably easier to brainstorm types of content that can cover multiple categories simultaneously.
Jonah also touched on the concept of repurposing content. If something works really well on one platform, BuzzFeed considers how to adapt, translate or tweak that piece to be distributed somewhere else. I highly recommend you watch his entire 43 minute long presentation, so I’ll just leave this here for you…