Brilliant Reads: what we can all learn from BuzzFeed

Welcome to Brilliant Reads. In this edition we bring you Ze Frank, what we can all learn from BuzzFeed and details of the next Brighton Strategy & Planning meetup.

Interesting ideas and innovation happen when things are brought together in fresh ways. At Brilliant Noise we are interested in the dots that are connected to create these new combinations.

Dot of the week: Ze Frank on viral content

If you watch just one hour-long discussion that ranges through post-structuralism, sharing data and Barthes by a bona fide BuzzFeed genius, make it this one…

BuzzFeed’s Ze Frank talks to Re/code’s Dawn Chmielewski: Full Event
Video (1:03:45)

Ze Frank, much loved for his pod/videocast series The Show, is now the President of BuzzFeed Motion pictures. Starting from the insight that came early in his work Ze talks at length about why “good content doesn’t drive audience”.

Connected dots: Buzzfeed in context

There’s a lot coming out of BuzzFeed at the moment that’s worth taking note of, being inspired by or copying shamelessly (see Mark Earls and Rosie Jakob for why copying is a good idea). It’s a couple of weeks old, but we’ve been talking about it every day since and recommending to clients and colleagues alike ever since.

a16z Podcast: For Buzzfeed Sharing is the Metric that Matters
Podcast (26:05)
This podcast interview of Buzzfeed founder Jonah Peretti by new board member Chris Dixon of VCs Andreessen Horowitz, which just invested US$50M in the firm, is brilliant. We love how Perretti is frank about the firm’s surprise at how fast trends like mobile video are moving and also the idea that sharing is the only form of distribution they concern themselves with. Listen to the podcast.

How A Google Mistake That Killed BuzzFeed’s Traffic Turned It Into A Social Media Powerhouse
Blog post (2 mins)
Accompany that with a blog post from SearchEngineLand about how losing Google traffic helped BuzzFeed realise the power of social media. Read the blog post.

Peak Google
Blog post (12 mins)
And connect that dot with a great post from Ben Thompson on Stratechery doing the rounds of strategy types last week about how Google’s dominance could be about to wain and be eclipsed by native advertising (an important revenue source for Buzzfeed). Read the blog post.

BuzzFeed’s Native Advertising Is Nothing But A Confidence Game
Blog post (6 mins)
Native advertising – or advertorial as it was known for a century or so before it became of interest to media agencies and needed to be re-branded away from the clutches of those doing it already – is a controversial subject for journalists and marketers alike. Read the blog post.

Native advertising: good for publishers, terrible for brands?
Blog post (2 mins)
But balance it with Adam Tinworth’s view that:
“….like many journalists of my generation or older, I’m deeply ambivalent about native advertising. On the one hand, it violates everything about the clear distinction between advertising and editorial that was drummed into us as a necessity to maintain editorial reputation. On the other hand, it seems to be working.” Read the blog post.

Our view
BuzzFeed’s model could become a powerful channel for brands to get content to people. At the moment it is cheaper and more engaging than alternative ad agencies. Don’t run out of the room when you have a meeting with BuzzFeed. Work with them, learn from them – and copy the way that they have found to tell (ahem) Stories That Scale….

Brilliant noises – what, where and when we are saying things

Stories that scale
Our book about scalable content and editorial organisations for brands has been really well received – thanks to everyone who has given feedback.

You can download a free copy here in PDF format, but give us a shout if you would like one of the lovely paper copies.

Strategy & Planning meetup Isabelle Quevilly will be hosting the next Brighton Strategy & Planning Meet-Up on Wednesday 19th November, sponsored by Brilliant Noise and Bloom Worldwide. The theme is ‘gaining attention’ and we’ve got a great line-up:

  • Matt Bagwell, AKQA’s Director of Strategic Services International
  • Andrew Sleigh, Lighthouse’s Creative Producer
  • Third speaker to be announced.

Patient Information Forum Beth Granter will be speaking about the research we did into mental health discussion on Twitter, at the Patient Information Forum event for professionals working in consumer health information, on Wednesday 19th November in Brighton.