On Feb. 17, Buzzfeed posted an article about the terrible storms plummeting the Southeastern U.S. And as exciting as snow and ice can be, the real story is not the snow covered cows, but that BuzzFeed is stepping up its game and not only becoming a serious, online/ mobile news source, but a good one.
According to BuzzFeed co-founder and CEO Jonah Peretti, the site has nearly tripled its traffic in the past year alone. Why? BuzzFeed got its start following the crazy, internet revolution that over took most of print journalism. BuzzFeed nows how to appeal to a young audience in an online medium, the layout of their articles and website show their experience in both online and mobile journalism.
According to BuzzFeeds publisher, Dao Nguye, more than 50 percent of BuzzFeed’s traffic originates from the mobile Web.
Looking at the article about Southeast storms, the article starts off with a quick two sentence summary of the article below the headline, followed by a video taken from the Facebook page of U.S. National Weather Service. Using content from social media is great for any online publication because social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram are pathways to news, and including them in articles can only present your audience with more information.
Below the video are a few quick summary paragraphs, with links included to sources. Pictures of snow covered farm animals and farmers working are included after the description of the terrible snow. There are also inserts of tweets from a reporter that was there during the aftermath of power-outages in Southeastern states. Tweets give readers another way to follow the storm coverage, and inserting them directly in the article provide readers with other creditable sources to look to.
BuzzFeeds accessibility through mobile devices is one of its biggest achievements. Their mobile app contains big, colorful images paired with catchy headlines, which may sound cheesy on paper, but it gathers an audience. BuzzFeed writers can easily morph social media outlets, images, gifs or other online and mobile content together in an article that still delivers a hard news story.
“I think the main reason to download that [existing] app is to be entertained… there’s also, we think, people who want to have an app that’s primarily about telling them what’s going on in the world and what the big stories are. We felt like it made sense, given that we have this really strong news organization now, to really take advantage of that and build one.”
– Ben Smith, BuzzFeed editor-in-chief