During my time at BuzzFeed I got the opportunity to embed within the editorial department for six weeks. During this time I was focused on creating food and travel related content, developing a niche for service-driven posts and quizzes. Two of my quizzes even managed to draw in over 1,000,000 views. It was beneficial for me to witness firsthand how the tools we develop on the tech team help content creators make and distribute content with such a vast reach.
What I Learned
I learned that a good headline doesn't necessarily have to be a banal description of what inside your post. It can be conversational, it can be an answer to an unasked question. I learned that sometimes it's a better strategy to start with a good headline and let that inform the content of your post rather than the other way around. I also learned about how distribution channels can influence what the content itself should be. For example, a travel post on its own doesn't have many places to live within the BuzzFeed ecosystem (there is no social channel or audience dedicated exclusively to travel), but if you write about travel from a food angle or a shopping angle, the post can benefit from BuzzFeed's vast food-dedicated audience and distribution platforms.
I learned that quizzes can be a vehicle for making more personalized recommendations to readers as opposed to a list, and that authentic photos taken on a smartphone are often more compelling than staged professional photographs. I also learned about ways to write food and travel content that are less aspirational and more accessible for the majority of our readers.