"Social is the New Distribution": How to Succeed Like BuzzFeed

While we all know that video killed the radio star, it is time to start realizing that social media is forcing the video star to change its ways. In a ReelSEO article, author Mark Robertson explores how BuzzFeed has become so successful and what secret recipe it has to share with the rest of the media community. The focus of the article is on content that is consumable versus content that is shareable. ‘Shareable’ is the new buzzword in content creation because it marks the difference between information that is merely seen and information that users act upon beyond watching the video.

So what does this mean for the YouTube community? Due to the transforming landscape of video content, it is a necessity that all videos are as engaging and enthralling as possible. Long gone are the days that companies can get away with boring infomercials and advertising plugs. Instead, the information communicated in the videos needs to be done in an interesting fashion. Rather than cookie cutter molds, video content should be exploring new ways to intrigue the audience. This is because videos now need to do more than merely entertain. The content needs to encourage viewers to share this video with their network. Buzzfeed is blazing the trail for this standard of shareable media, and we can learn a lot from the site’s actions.

While views are still important, they are not the bottom line that we’re looking for anymore – shares are. Robertson’s article reveals 5 reasons people share content, but we’ll highlight our top 3:

  1. To be Social: Given the fact that we are using social media, a large focus of people’s sharing is to create a social scene in which a discussion can take place both within and outside of the internet. Therefore, in order to make content that will be shared for social reasons, videos could pertain to subjects that are highly discussed and engaged with by users. For example, Macklemore’s music video for “Same Love” was centered around gay rights – a very hot social topic for the 18-34 year olds who make up the majority of YouTube’s audience. Because the video’s theme was sure to incite discussion, users shared it on all their social media outlets.
  1. To express Feelings: Watching videos can elicit a grand scale of emotions, from happy to devastated. Because it can often be so hard to put these emotions into words, the simple share of a video can allow someone to know exactly how you feel while also getting in touch with emotions of his or her own. This should influence content makers to focus on content that is relatable and touching. Whether in a happy, sad, excited, or mad way, tapping into the user’s emotions tends to be a successful way to making a more impactful video overall.
  2. To be Funny: Everyone loves a good laugh because it is a universally enjoyable and social experience. Picking out the right type of humor may be difficult, but once that’s decided the ensuing laugh factor breeds a huge opportunity to have your video shared all over the web. This is because humor is an infectious quality that people love to share – and love to take credit for sharing. The act of posting something to a friend’s Facebook wall that 40 other people like is both a confidence booster for the user and a success for your company!

While these three tips may help launch your videos to the next level, the most important takeaway here is the growing significance of shares and how they will affect the YouTube space in the near future. In a New York Times article spotlighting BuzzFeed, co-founder and chief executive Jonah Peretti reveals that his company is successful due to its mastery of technology through distributing on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. The article quotes “social media accounts for 75 percent of BuzzFeed’s referral traffic” showing us how crucial social media has been for BuzzFeed’s success. If current media and content creation companies are able to focus on video strategies that influence audiences to share, these organizations will likely become more successful. Take heed from the up and coming behemoth that is BuzzFeed: it’s time to focus on shares.

by Mackenzie Hummel

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