Futures Lab Update #72: Making Sharable Content at BuzzFeed

    by Reuben Stern
    August 29, 2014
    BuzzFeed boasts almost 150 million unique monthly visitors, and the tech company is reported to have brought in $50 million last year.

    This week we visit BuzzFeed to find out how the staff creates Internet-friendly content that ricochets across social media.

    “Social traffic is really all we focus on. We think of it as a failure if something is getting a lot of page views, but people aren’t sharing it.” - Summer Anne Burton, Managing Editorial Director, BuzzFeed

    Launched in 2006 as an experiment in making things go viral, BuzzFeed has since ballooned into a media empire that will continue expanding thanks to another $50 million in outside investment. The site attracts millions of visitors every month by offering reported news combined with an array of Internet-friendly material like quizzes, lists and other pop-culture-related fare.


    In this report, Managing Editorial Director Summer Anne Burton talks about the human side of BuzzFeed’s sharable content. She also explains how the organization’s approach to technology helps the newsroom stay at the forefront.

    Reporting by Reuben Stern and Rachel Wise.

    Additional information:


    As USA Today’s Michael Wolff reports, BuzzFeed “is up to nearly 150 million unique monthly visitors, and it is reported to have brought in $50 million last year. It’s projecting $120 million this year (approximately the revenue of a million-circulation monthly magazine).” And as The New York Times points out, BuzzFeed “has been especially successful at distributing its lists and content through mobile devices and through social sites like Facebook and Twitter.”

    WiredSlate and New York Magazine all offer additional in-depth analysis of BuzzFeed’s operation and position within the media landscape, and Forbes offers a breakdown of how BuzzFeed compares to another big digital media brand, The Huffington Post.

    Reuben Stern is the deputy director of the Futures Lab at the Reynolds Journalism Institute and host and co-producer of the weekly Futures Lab video update.


    The Reynolds Journalism Institute’s Futures Lab video update features a roundup of fresh ideas, techniques and developments to help spark innovation and change in newsrooms across all media platforms. Visit the RJI website for the full archive of Futures Lab videos, or download the iPad app to watch the show wherever you go. You can also sign up to receive email notification of each new episode. 

    Tagged: buzzfeed most sharable viral news viral video

    Comments are closed.

  • Who We Are

    MediaShift is the premier destination for insight and analysis at the intersection of media and technology. The MediaShift network includes MediaShift, EducationShift, MetricShift and Idea Lab, as well as workshops and weekend hackathons, email newsletters, a weekly podcast and a series of DigitalEd online trainings.

    About MediaShift »
    Contact us »
    Sponsor MediaShift »
    MediaShift Newsletters »

    Follow us on Social Media