How do I love BuzzFeed as a source of inspiration I anticipate will sustain me in 2014? Let me blog the ways! BuzzFeed hovered around my brain’s perimeter for most of last year, but I didn’t acknowledge it as a mighty deity until a pre-Christmas blog post.
Some might think the site a bit crass and cracked. But where others see flaws, I see blogging stimulation served up fresh and tasty, every day. The people who write for BuzzFeed are so “on fire” with their wicked witticisms; they probably prod their heads up with oven mitts as daily deadlines approach. (That was an odd metaphor, I admit…)
Here’s what you need to know about using BuzzFeed to boost your blog posting and other content-creation efforts:
Allow BuzzFeed to Quench Your Thirst for Blogging Ideas: According to Wikipedia, “BuzzFeed is a website that combines a technology platform for detecting viral content with an editorial selection process to provide a snapshot of ‘the viral web in real time.'” Two cool guys named John Johnson and Jonah Perretti founded the online platform in 2006.
It turns out that Mr. Perretti is a co-founder of my beloved Huffington Post. According to this fabulous article in Wired Magazine’s U.K. edition, BuzzFeed evolved from one of his side projects. What I love most about the site is that it holds steady to its “no haters” policy, allows users to share/post hilarious content, and implements a fun rating system for all posts.
If you want to contribute to the madness, you can sign up with BuzzFeed via your Facebook account or email address. (Please note: The sign-up option isn’t in an obvious location like the category buttons or navigation bar at top. Scroll down on the Home page and click the tired-looking cat’s head.)
The next time you visit New York City, get a glimpse of BuzzFeed’s fairly new, posh headquarters at 200 Fifth Avenue. Please let me know if you get in…
Believe It or Not, BuzzFeed Offers Regular News: Not yet prepared to delve into the wackiness of BuzzFeed’s buttons in the top right corner? Then start out slowly with the horizontal navigation bar: News, Entertainment, Life, Video, and More. I guarantee you’ll find something that will lodge inside your brain and transform into a blog post or article idea. Of course, provocative list-oriented posts await you directly on the Home page…
Here’s one I selected at random: “17 Struggles of Having a Common Name.” Let’s say you’re a business coach and you help clients overcome personal/social obstacles. You could easily springboard from this BuzzFeed post by writing a “helpful tips” article. Why not analyze how business owners with common names (e.g., John Smith or Susan Jones) can distinguish themselves in the business community?
Such tips might include: incorporating a visual cue/prompt when introducing yourself at networking events, developing a business nickname to avoid confusion or lack of recall, and so on. And just like that, you have a blog post or article!
BuzzFeed’s “Laughing Out Loud” Is Your Blogging “Awesome Sauce”: The LOL button leads to inspiring stuff that will make you chuckle as you gather blogging or article ideas. Look what was waiting for me at the top of the LOL feed as I was drafting this blog post: “The 17 Worst Guests at Every Wedding.” (Yes, BuzzFeed is known for its cornucopia of humorous lists.)
All you need do is winnow down and massage this helpful list (I especially like ‘The Cry Monster’ and ‘The Unannounced Speech Maker’). Transform it into “The 7 Worst Attendees at Every Business Networking Event,” and voila – your blog post du jour is ready to be served.
You Can “Win” One for Your Blog with This Category: I’m not sure what the criteria are for a Win post, but this feed offers you easy pickings. Use the following BuzzFeed “Win” as a guideline to promote your staff online in a fun, pictorial way: “29 Photos of the Cast of Downton Abbey Being Totally Un-Downton-Like.”
(Just be sure the selected photos demonstrating your staff’s silly side don’t include any illegal or addictive substances…)
For When You Need Some OMG in Your Content: At this point, I should advise you that the various BuzzFeed categories co-mingle quite a bit. In fact, some of the OMG posts might make you wonder why they’re not in the WTF category. Are you thinking the OMG feed is a waste of your content development time? Think again as I walk you through this one: “33 Super-Fancy Ways to Eat More Nutella.”
Any of my health/wellness/nutrition coaching or personal chef business friends should have no problem altering this headline into: “10 Super-Easy Ways to Eat More Green Veggies” or “10 Super-Delicious Ways to Eat More Exotic, Hip Grains.” This type of post should be photo-centric (with recipe links à la the BuzzFeed post). It will probably appeal to Facebook, Tumblr and Pinterest aficionados.
I Would Be Remiss By Not Mentioning These Four More Feeds: I hope you’re getting excited about using BuzzFeed as a brainstorming tool. Would you believe there are even more feeds to follow? It’s not that I’m carelessly lumping the Cute, Trashy, Fail, and WTF categories together – I just don’t want to lose your reading attention.
Here’s what we’ll do. I’ll select an outrageous BuzzFeed post, and I’ll leave it to you to determine its source. Extra points to any reader who then crafts a viable blog post/article topic and shares it via a comment. Riddle me this: “There’s a guy on Instagram Who Takes Photos of Himself Wearing Naked White Women as Scarves.”
BuzzFeed’s Crooked Arrow Points You in the Direction of (“Hot”) Albuquerque: This feed is exactly what it appears to be – the hottest stuff climbing the BuzzFeed charts. So that you know, those Fre.sh links merely denote “hot stuff” curated from a combination of BuzzFeed and other websites.
While this feed is most definitely a hodgepodge of content, there’s business gold in them there posts. For example: “36 Genius Ways to Hide the Eyesores in Your Home”; “24 Invaluable Skills to Learn for Free Online This Year” (Candy Crush Saga lovers, please see #4); etc.
If/when you start using BuzzFeed to generate ideas for your content marketing arsenal, be prepared to fight off its alluring time suck. Prior to reading this blog post, had you heard about BuzzFeed? Do you think you’ll bookmark the site? If so, how do you envision using it? As Miracle Max and Valerie would say, “have fun storming the (BuzzFeed) castle!” (p.s. Yes, I slightly exaggerated about those 51 reasons. Sorry!)
Lori Shapiro is the owner of By All Writes LLC, a business-to-business (B2B) writing, editing, and research company in Marlton, New Jersey. She revels in shielding her clients from the pain of writing their own print and web marketing copy. Please call Lori Shapiro at 856-810-9764 or email By All Writes LLC at email@example.com for a no-obligation project quote today!