Love the Listicle
The Roundpeg office has a BuzzFeed addiction. At regular intervals throughout the day, you’ll hear, “Dude, did you read ‘38 People Who Should Not Be Allowed to Use The Internet‘?” The posts are as addictive as potato chips: You pop one interesting factoid or cat gif after another. They serve as a mental break without actually taking much mental power. Most articles are “listicles,” or numbered lists with a small amount of supporting content and often a picture or gif. That format makes them fast and easy to read, which is exactly what the Internet wants. It’s because of this appeal that BuzzFeed has become favored over sites that dish up similar kinds of stories in longer packages, like Cracked.com.
Scanning: The Secret to Success
BuzzFeed succeeds in today’s ADD age because it’s highly scannable. People easily hop around, browsing content which applies to them and skipping what doesn’t. So while we’re not suggesting you stick animal gifs into every blog post, there are some clever takeaways you can learn from even the dumbest BuzzFeed article.
Start with a Clear Title
Some people try to be too tricksy with their headlines, but BuzzFeed is about as literal as it can get. When you click on “14 Things You Didn’t Know About Labyrinth,” you’re going to get 14 bites of information on Muppets, David Bowie and how they did those cool juggling stunts. There are no games, no lies. By the time people click on the article, they already know if it’s something they want to read or not.
Lists Are Your Friends
Using numbered lists are a huge cliche in blog posts, but you know what? They work, darnit. Not everything should be a numbered list, but every now and then, throw one in. Chances are it’ll get you big results.
No List? Use Headings
For this post, I debated on using a list, but decided it wasn’t a linear progression or a ranking. For me, that meant opting for these big, chunky headlines breaking up the text. Bullets are also a great option, but headings allow people to skim to what interests them and skip what doesn’t. As long as they walk away with one worthwhile bit of information, you’ve done your job.
Don’t Fear the Niche
Some BuzzFeed posts, like “22 Childhood Feelings You Wish You Could Get Back,” are massively broad in terms of appeal. After all, everyone was a kid at some point or other. Others, like “25 Signs You Went to UCLA in the Good Old Days,” are much narrower, yet that post still garnered more than 70,000 views. If you target one particular community and nail their hopes, dreams and concerns, you’ll have success, even if it’s small.
Don’t Overstay Your Welcome
If you’ve said what you need to say, stop talking.