Please rotate your device

Why the BuzzFeed Model Doesn’t Work For Small Businesses

Thunderfoot Team

While it may be tempting to follow Buzzfeed’s lead and create content specifically designed to go viral, we recommend fighting the urge and adopting a different approach when branding your business.


BuzzFeed’s rapid rise to success can largely be attributed to its highly-digestible, list-based content, which is generally limited to pop culture phenomena and other light-hearted subject matter. If you use social media, you’ve probably witnessed many of these articles spreading like wildfire, and maybe even shared one of the links yourself — the content aggregator has clearly mastered the language of the masses.

But it’s important to recognize that this isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Where BuzzFeed’s principal aim is to get as many shares as humanly possible, SMEs need to focus on targeting their own specific, niche markets. By generating authoritative, engaging content tailored to fit the interests and values of their target consumer base, companies can bolster brand loyalty and attract new customers at the same time.

Be Realistic

Start by taking a “brand-first” approach. Map out content goals for your company and decide what message you want your campaign to impart. Instead of worrying about an article’s “shareability,” focus on increasing the number of platforms through which consumers can access your content. A multi-platform approach will increase your visibility without forcing you to sacrifice the integrity of your brand.

Regardless of the specific goals you settle on, aim to create content that could be just as thought-provoking in the future as it is now. Articles about viral trends and fads will won’t hold anyone’s interest for long.

Appealing to the interests of the entire internet is simply impossible. A better (and more manageable) idea would be to focus on your brand-specific demographic. The key is to engage the people who will realistically be using your service or product — taking an overly broad approach will just end up being a waste of time and resources.

It’s Time to Get Serious

BuzzFeed knows that laughter is contagious, and often uses humor to increase an article’s chances of going viral. But comedy isn’t the only or even the best way to grow your small business. Instead of coming up with jokes, focus on developing an intelligent and assertive voice. This will frame you as an authoritative and trustworthy leader in your particular industry.

Quality Over Quantity

BuzzFeed pumps out hundreds of articles every day, each designed to be quickly skimmed by the reader before he or she moves onto the next one. This kind of shallow, digestible content isn’t going to translate well into a content marketing context. For small businesses, success comes from the quality, not the quantity, of your posts.

It’s more important to establish the core values of your brand and present them in a professional, authoritative manner than it is to gain thousands of views. And please don’t be afraid to stray from the listicle format.