If you’ve ever found yourself mindlessly scrolling through listicles like “17 Dogs Who Cannot Handle This Weather” or “30 Corn-Based Recipes You Need To Try This Summer,” you know firsthand the power of BuzzFeed to draw people to the site.
What you may not be aware of is that much of this content gets tens or even hundreds of thousands of views in a relatively short period of time. BuzzFeed has certainly mastered the tools of the viral content trade.
BuzzFeed has certainly mastered the tools of the viral content trade. And believe it or not, healthcare organizations can learn a lot from it.
Here are 5 viral content marketing tips your organization can learn from BuzzFeed, according to Colleen Callinan, a sales director at BuzzFeed.
1. Create Quality Content.
Making both highly relevant and extremely shareable content is a major skill. BuzzFeed has perfected it.
Timeliness and shareability are important factors in whether content goes viral, Jonah Peretti, the company’s founder and CEO, wrote in an April 2013 article for Facebook Stories.
2. Know What Works (And What Doesn’t).
BuzzFeed’s content strategy “is built on obsessive measurement,” a January 2014 article in the UK edition of Wired explains. BuzzFeed takes analytics tracking to the next level: Each piece of content is given its own dashboard to track relevant stats.
As a result of all of this testing, tracking, and analyzing, BuzzFeed has mastered the science of creating viral content.
3. Create Standout Headlines And Visuals.
A standout headline can determine whether someone clicks on a link to your content, says Colleen.
Visual content is important, too. Great supporting graphics contribute to content’s memorability and sharability.
Also read: Rules Of Thumb About Facebook Graphics Colleen suggests running tests to see what’s most effective.
Colleen suggests running tests to see what’s most effective.
3 Of My Recent Favorite Headlines
Why it stands out: It provides an interesting spin on a situation you wouldn’t normally think about—what our pets think when we bring home another human family member.
This Plot Hole In “The Little Mermaid” Changes Everything Why it stands out: I instantly want to know what the plot hole is—and therefore, I will definitely click the link.
Why it stands out: I instantly want to know what the plot hole is—and therefore, I will definitely click the link.
Why it stands out: Not only does it make me wonder, “How can a person suck at hobbies?”—it also makes me a little self-conscious. Do I need new hobbies, too?
4. Reach Out To Online Influencers.
Colleen suggests you find social media influencers in your field who will spread the word about your content.
Of course, in order to encourage anyone to share or promote your content, it has to be quality material to begin with. (See number 1 above.)
5. Encourage Meaningful Social Engagement.
As BuzzFeed’s Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith explained to Wired, when it comes to successful content marketing, “It’s not just numbers, it’s being part of the conversation.”
Shani Hilton, Deputy Executive Director at BuzzFeed, explains that content with a smaller number of views isn’t necessarily a failure. She told Wired that, “If you’re doing something that will get only 50,000 views, that’s fine—as long as our piece is optimised to get all 50,000 who should see it.”
But there’s more to it than just numbers. As a March 2014 Contently article explains, “The goal of each piece of your content is to get people to return, so that you can build a loyal audience.”
That means your content needs to do more than just gather shares and clicks. It also needs to get people to spend time on your site, and encourage them to interact through comments and social media.
In the end, it all circles back to very first point: Create quality content.