At first glance, Buzzfeed looks a bit like a pop culture wasteland forever enslaved to the viral web. But take a deeper look, and you can uncover veritable gems – keys to commanding strangers’ attention, speaking to your demographic, and growing your brand. You may not love their style – it may be a little too edgy or too silly or unprofessional or _____ for your liking – but Buzzfeed undeniably has important lessons to teach about the viral web and clickable, shareable content.
Here are seven of my favorite takeaways – and their real-life application for your company’s travel blog:
1. Know Your Personas
Buzzfeed knows its audience really well – well enough to tailor each and every post to hyper-target a very specific persona (demographic). Take their post on 53 Things Only ’80s Girls Can Understand: it would be difficult for a 30-something woman with a desire to procrastinate (a typical Buzzfeed persona) to avoid clicking. Your travel blog should do the same. Get to know your personas intimately, then write what they care about. And when you hit on topics or formulas that work for your audience, stick with it.
- The 18 Worst Things For Left-Handed People
- This Dad’s Pictures With His 3-Year-Old Show Just How Hilarious It Is To Be A Father
- 29 Things That Are Way More Important Than Work Right Now
2. Be Emotional
Buzzfeed posts almost always evoke some sort of emotional response, whether it be nostalgia, joy, wanderlust, or the thousands of other emotions we humans experience. And when it comes to the emotion of travel, Buzzfeed hits the mark with posts like 27 Surreal Places To Visit Before You Die – lists and photos and to-the-point descriptions that combine in an addictive mix that binge-feeds the travel bug. Luckily, the emotional aspect of good blogging is probably the easiest Buzzfeed element to replicate for your travel brand.
- 12 Literary Spots In London That Every Book Lover Needs To Visit
- 24 Grooms Blown Away By Their Beautiful Brides
- 22 Cats Who Are Pretty Much Over This Whole “Monday” Thing
3. Embed Photos. Lots of Them.
A photo carries incredible power – the power to transport, to inspire, to energize. Photos take travel blogging to the next level, truly transforming your content into something that encourages action (like bookings). Take this simple post on 11 Reasons Your Next Trip Should Be To Cinque Terre; anyone who has the slightest interest in traveling to Italy now wants to book a stop in the Five Lands. It’s easy to see how incredible photos can fuel your travel blog – and rake in new inquiries and bookings.
[tweetthis url=”http://bit.ly/1KjnhnA”]Photos transform #travel blogging and, more importantly, encourage action (like bookings).[/tweetthis]
- 21 Reasons Every Food Lover Needs To Go To Hong Kong Immediately
- The 17 Most Stunning Places In The World To Take A Selfie
- 25 Impossibly Beautiful Wedding Locations In Hawaii
4. Find Your Voice
One of the best (and most fun) parts of blogging, even when blogging for business, is developing your voice. Buzzfeed is great for this: though they have hundreds of writers, the site somehow manages to unify its tone across posts – a dose of humor mixed with a bit of wonder coupled with a side of snark. (See these 15 Utterly Horrifying Trip Advisor Reviews for an example of Buzzfeed’s signature style.) The takeaway: don’t be afraid to show a little personality. That could be witty repartee for a hip adventure outfitter targeting 20-something adrenaline junkies, or buttoned-up prose worthy of British high tea for an upscale London hotel. Whatever your brand personality, own it, love it, hone it.
- Yours For £7,700: A Machine That Makes The Perfect Cup Of Tea: Seems reasonable.
- 30 Rad Home Goods You Didn’t Know You Could Buy On Amazon: It’s basically your new Ikea, except you don’t have to get off your butt.
- 21 Geeky Projects Fit For A Superhero: After a day of fighting crime, fight boredom with one of these creative crafts.
5. Write Killer Headlines
You may know that your headline is the most important part of your blog post – after all, those 60 little characters determine whether anyone will actually click-through to see what you’ve written – but do you know how to write a clickable headline? Buzzfeed does. They hit the mark almost every time, with click-bait like the feel-good Brilliant Dad Photoshops His Daughters Into Fairytale Worlds and the edgy How Good are You at Sex? (arguably better title: Are You Bad at Sex?). Whatever their topic, Buzzfeed makes you want to click to read more.
- 21 Pictures That Will Restore Your Faith In Humanity
- 50 People You Wish You Knew In Real Life
- The 21 Absolute Worst Things In The World
6. Learn to Love Lists
‘Tis true: the Internet loves lists. (Did you notice this post is a list? And it reeled you in…) Lists – numbered or bulleted – make it easy to scan a webpage and skim for relevant, pithy takeaways. Also, they’re fun. Take these 29 Movie Locations You Can Actually Visit and 26 Real Places That Look Like They’ve Been Taken Out Of Fairy Tales: if you have a free moment and are a movie buff or passionate traveler, you’re no doubt tempted to spend a minute (or ten) of your time checking out the lists.
- 17 Quirky Cities And Towns You Totally Need To Visit
- 29 Newborns Who Really Nailed Their First Photo Shoot
- 27 Shocking And Unexpected Facts You Learn In Your Twenties
7. Keep On Keepin’ On
Buzzfeed posts pretty prolifically – dozens of times a day, everyday. You don’t have to be nearly that verbose, but you should learn one thing from Buzzfeed: the more regularly you post, the happier your readers will be. Set a routine – once a day, twice a week, once a week – and stick to it. And remember, the more often you post (and the better your travel content marketer), the better your chance of turning 100-view posts into 1,000- or 10,000-view successes.
- Just look at the Buzzfeed homepage