After tracking Buzzfeed News for the course of the semester, I think I have gained a greater understanding for the site’s mission, style and audience. In true Buzzfeed style, I have created a listicle of my observations and greatest takeaways from the course of the semester.
1. Buzzfeed knows how to write for its audience
As a news outlet targeted at millennials, Buzzfeed caters to its audience exceptionally well. The stories that appear on the site’s homepage and social media are of interest to this audience, and often have a direct effect on them. The length of stories is also the perfect length to keep the reader engaged, and the language is informal enough to make sure the audience doesn’t glaze over any information due to complex word choice.
2. Buzzfeed takes complicated issues and makes them understandable
Similarly, Buzzfeed does a great job taking important and/or complex issues and breaking them down. To do so, often Buzzfeed will publish a listicle about a major event to break it down or will make a post that read something along the lines of “Everything You Need To Know About…” with complicated concepts or events broken down into sub-sections of the article.
3. Buzzfeed can take a story and cover it from multiple angles to appeal to all different kinds of readers and learners
I noticed this when I observed Buzzfeed’s coverage of the Super Bowl. Not only did the site have a recap of the game, it also had a listicle of highlights, pieces strictly about Lady Gaga’s half time performance and a listicle of the most important photos from the night. This is just one example of all the ways Buzzfeed covers the same stories multiple ways.
4. Buzzfeed knows how to connect with its audience on social media
Buzzfeed utilizes all the social media millennials use when promoting a story. Buzzfeed News has a Twitter, Instagram and Facebook page. And this is in addition to the general Buzzfeed Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat account and Snapchat Discover Story, which also promotes Buzzfeed News stories. Therefore, through all these accounts a millennial is bound to encounter a Buzzfeed News story while scrolling through various social media accounts.
5. Buzzfeed gets a bad rep, but has an incredible staff of reporters
Buzzfeed knows a large portion of its audiences frequents the site to take quizzes and read listicles about the struggles of being a millennial. But in December, Buzzfeed News hired Anthony Cormier to its Investigative Unit and Nancy Youssef to its World team — a Pulitzer winner and a top Pentagon correspondent, respectively. They are not the only notable reporters, all Buzzfeed News’ reporters are well-established and some of the top journalists in the field, creating engaging, well-reported and accurate content.
6. Buzzfeed does a great job with breaking news alerts
Buzzfeed is always at the forefront of breaking news. Through its use of the Buzzfeed News app, the news outlet is able to send readers brief and informative news updates as they happen. Buzzfeed News also has an active Twitter presnse, and tweets out news in a timely manner. From my observations, however, they never retract tweets and always wait to release breaking until it is confirmed.