Dispatches from Buzzfeed at Social Media Week New York – Part Two

By February 21, 2014 No Comments

Buzzwords from Buzzfeed

Learnings from Jonah Peretti, CEO and founder of Buzzfeed

It was one of the highlights of Social Media Week New York – a 45-minute interview with Buzzfeed founder Jonah Peretti. Here’s a man who knows his stuff – his site, which is a wildly successful mix of news, entertainment, bonkers lists and animal pictures, is one of the most visited in the world and now boasts a UK version with other European launches in the offing. Indeed, he’d squeezed in this appearance before hopping on a plane to Germany. The auditorium was packed, and for me, he didn’t disappoint. Here are a few pearls of wisdom I picked up: 

You can reach too many people

What’s this? Surely the holy grail of social media or any form of digital content marketing is as wide a reach as possible? No, says Peretti. If your content is in front of the wrong people it can actually damage your brand. No one wants a ‘so what?’ response. This all boils down to audience research and targeting content. It’s what a savvy content marketing strategy should be about. 

Spend time experimenting, tweaking and learning from your mistakes 

The Buzzfeed team are learning all the time – their quizzes, which are currently one of the most popular things on the site took them six years to perfect, according to Peretti. A social media strategy has to start this way, experimenting with different types of posts, finding out what works and what doesn’t. And if something works, don’t just recreate a derivative new version of it, particularly if the original wasn’t yours to begin with. 

Focus on the people not platforms

I think a lot of social media strategists are guilty of this – trying to second guess what the different platforms ‘want’ you to do in order to get reach, likes, shares, etc, without thinking what the people who are visiting the platform are going to like. This is again a question of focusing on your audience or customer personas – really thinking about content that’s going to engage and excite them. 

Don’t be scared of long-form content online 

We all know how to scroll, right? The days of being restricted to a 300-word blog post are over. Buzzfeed is now publishing 6-12,000 word pieces and their research has shown that its mobile users spend 22 minutes on average reading them. 

Video, video, video 

Not only a takeaway from Jonah Peretti, but a theme of the entire week. Video is where it’s at according to everyone here Stateside. Buzzfeed has just set up its own production studio in Los Angeles to make its own entertainment videos. You may not have those kind of resources, but a flip cam is a good place to start on what can be one of the most creatively exciting content marketing challenges.

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