Do you remember the day before BuzzFeed became one of your favourite websites? The chances are you had no clue what a BuzzFeed was. So how are they managing to win over new audience members so quickly and easily? Well they do things a little differently, but there’s no reason why what they’re doing can’t become the norm for you.
‘But what if my content is nothing like the content BuzzFeed produce?’. Well, whilst you may be playing the ball game in a different park, the rules are still the same, and BuzzFeed don’t just follow them, they invented a bunch of their own too.
Speak a language your audience understand
BuzzFeed have a clear style guide for their writers to follow in order to maintain complete consistency with their tone of voice. They’ve actually made this publicly available and it makes for rather interesting reading, check it out here.
A consistent tone of voice is not just important, it’s necessary. But what’s the point in establishing the voice of yourself as an individual or your brand if it’s not one that your audience approve of. You may think it’s tricky to present a voice that will be received well, but a voice that will always receive a positive response is a copy of the voice your audience use themselves.
If you make ridiculous content for younger people, you should use the same slang as them, and take inspiration from their humour. Or maybe you make informative content for business owners that you know appreciate formality but are still looking for quite a relaxed easy read. Researching your audience, how they present themselves, and mimicking it will help you vastly improve on how you are perceived.
Everyone loves to relate
It’s never been a secret that content that targets a certain demographic will always have the potential to perform really well among that group, given that the content is good obviously! BuzzFeed are well aware of everyone’s love of self-identification, especially when it comes to personality quirks and things you know based on where you live.
Here are two example titles of content tailored to these sort of specifics. 10 things anxious people can relate to. 15 things a true scouser knows. Anyone who would describe themselves as anxious or grew up/lives in Liverpool is going to be intrigued and click one of those, and as long as your list is correct and the content is good, the chances are they’ll love it. Which means they’ll share it.
Get celebrities to share you
If only it was that simple right? Celebrities have large online followings and if they share your content you’re going to get a large amount of traffic, isn’t that the dream? Well, BuzzFeed took that dream and made it a reality by devoting content to public figures that they think are likely to share it. So how can we copy this? We don’t all have the level of exposure to offer that BuzzFeed do.
Take time to research your audience. Find followers of yours with large followings. A large following doesn’t necessarily mean 2 million followers, an account with just 5000+ followers should be considered large enough to target. See how you can incorporate them into your account. Are they a customer that you could speak to about their experience with your brand? Or maybe they have a wide knowledge or a good opinion on a topic in your industry that you could share? Even if it’s just their mates that click it when they share it, it’s traffic you wouldn’t have otherwise had.
Be regular, be consistent
BuzzFeed boast around 200 million unique monthly visits to their website, but many of those visiting won’t just go to the site once a day and that’s because they know that dozens of new pieces of content are posted every day. What do we learn from this? Believe it or not, it’s not that you have to be posting a hundred blog posts a week. Being regular is important, but consistency is the key.
If you make it known that you are posting every Monday for example (being regular), and then ensure that you stick to this (being consistent), you’ll see repeat visitors. Visitors that will click onto your new blog posts before you’ve even shared them because they know they are going to be right there at that time on that day.
Work out what matters and optimise your site accordingly
Imagine if all you really wanted was for people to share your content onto their social media, but instead your site was optimised for receiving comments on the blog post. What a nightmare that would be. The worst part, this is all too common, but among the best of the best, this problem never even existed. Right from the start BuzzFeed knew exactly what they wanted you to do on each page. On the home page, it is quite clearly laid out to encourage you to click on the various articles displayed. The headings are large and bold, the pictures are intriguing and clear.
Once you’ve chosen an article, the chances are the first thing you’ll notice are the rather sizeable sharing buttons for the main social media networks. Who posted it is kept small and tidy, when they posted it is even smaller, but those buttons are not going to escape your gaze, and that’s done entirely intentionally. Take some time to work out exactly what you want and then take some more time to optimise your website to ensure users will give you those responses.
There are a million other things you can learn from media giants like BuzzFeed, VICE and many others, but 5 is all we have time for today. The best way to pick up all their other little tricks will be to read them yourself if you don’t already and familiarise yourself with the way they do things simply by observing it all. Good luck, there’s an awful lot of content there to study!