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How to use Buzzfeed to drive website traffic

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Content distribution

There is little doubt that Buzzfeed is a website that has a unique ability to churn out viral content. It can be great for giving simple yet highly shareable video content global exposure. Now the site has moved into covering business news and bringing the viral nature of the site to various businesses.

How does a business capitalize on the viral nature of Buzzfeed? Here are some helpful tips for using the publishing giant to gain major exposure.

Don’t Advertise (at Least Not Directly)

As generations of Internet users become increasingly skittish about things like forced ads or ad-heavy websites, it has made them view overt marketing in a largely negative fashion.

This has led some businesses to take a more indirect approach to generating interest in their brand. For example, businesses have been using content marketing. This is where you don’t approach potential customers directly with what you have to sell, but provide them with useful and interesting content. That content can either demonstrate how useful your company could be to them or say nothing about it at all…but still allow for positive connotations to be made about your brand.

For example, Virgin Mobile has done a great job using Buzzfeed to share hilarious lists that are highly relatable and sharable with no direct advertising. This is a strategy that many companies could implement, so long as you can create engaging content suitable for Buzzfeed’s audience. For example, the brand Havahart, which sells humane animal-trapping cages, could easily create a Buzzfeed post about beaver facts and include tons of cute or funny beaver memes. Buzzfeed readers love animals, memes and little-known facts so this brand would easily be able to indirectly advertise their products with a sponsored post.

Work on sharing content that is amusing, interesting and relatable. At the same time, make sure that there is a way to tie it back to positive aspects of your business.

If You Must Advertise, Make It Entertaining

There are some companies that create advertising content that is not only unique, it is highly catchy, memorable, and sharable. Perhaps the best and most consistent company that has done this within the past decade has been JG Wentworth. Wherever they advertise, you will be hard pressed to find persons who don’t know their jingle, even if they’ve never had need of their service.

How would a company like JG Wentworth or anyone with catchy jingles benefit from a site like Buzzfeed? They could invite individuals to film a parody of their commercials and count down a list of their favorites. That way they aren’t directly advertising their service, and yet a form of advertising is happening. It also makes the experience highly interactive, which is very attractive to social media users.

Plan for Viral Content

Were you attempting to make a commercial and things went horribly, horribly wrong? A thirty-second clip of the “butterfingers” moment might actually be put to good use. Clips of events that take an unexpected turn tend to be highly sharable. Buzzfeed is made for this type of business misadventures.

Even if you don’t have any oops moments, you can always latch onto current Internet trends. For instance, videos about the “Harlem Shake” were at one time really popular. Practically everyone who was anyone had their version of the meme out at some point, even if it was an anti-Harlem Shake video.

Pay close attention to what trends and jokes are very popular and you can release highly sharable content based on that.

Whatever content you choose to share, keep it short, tasteful (the wrong type of content can backfire, and negatively impact your brand), and in good fun. The more relatable and authentic your content, the more it fits in with content typical of Buzzfeed.

You’ll benefit from being able to directly gauge what the young and trend-watching audience of Buzzfeed wants, which can better enable your business to reach a wide audience. This knowledge can also go a long way towards helping you stay relevant in the eyes of a changeable Internet audience who is always moving from one social media platform to another.

Main image by Treesha Duncan

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Courtney Gordner is a blogger/journalist who loves to write. While she enjoys writing about a variety of topics, internet marketing and social media are her favorites. You can read more from her on her blog, Talk Viral or connect with her on Twitter, @CourtGordner, Pinterest and Google+.