How do Buzzfeed decide what content to create?


At Web Summit this year I attended a talk by Buzzfeed’s Ze Frank. He discussed how Buzzfeed view content and how they choose what content to create.

Flipping the order

As content creators we often come up with an idea for the content we want to create as our first step. Once we’ve got the idea, we create it, put it out into the world and see how people react.

People tend to create in this order:

How we typically create content

Buzzfeed have chosen to look at things in a different way.

They think about the job the content is supposed to do first. Then they come up with an idea of how to do that job, then finally make the content. You can watch Ze Frank’s presentation online if you want to see all that he said.

Job? What job?

Content has different functions or jobs.  It can change someone’s mind and beliefs, inspire them, make them laugh – or make them angry.

Consumers of content want it to do different jobs too. Maybe they want their beliefs validated, to be taught something new or they could be looking for LOLs.

But the content doesn’t just exist between creator and consumer. People will share it with their friends and family too: to explain how they feel, make their friends laugh – to show everyone how smart they are.

How we react to content

So, next time you’re creating, why not reverse the typical flow? Instead of coming up with an idea then discovering what job it accomplishes, start with the job you want the content to do and think about the job your audience will want it to do. Next come up with your idea to achieve this and then create it.

Creating content the Buzzfeed way

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Deborah looks after JustGiving's paid media channels. She loves creating ads that engage and inspire their community, and spread the word about JustGiving around the world.