August 6, 2014Published by: Drew Benvie

How Buzzfeed is disrupting the media model with new hires and ways of working

Buzzfeed Logo

The rise and rise of Buzzfeed as an online media outlet ceases to give pause for breath. Recent data shows that its expansion in audience size, viral spread and as a company (ie people) is outstripping most media on the planet. The below graph from earlier in the year shows a bit of a comparison, just for a sense of scale.

Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at 10.31.42

It's not just the site traffic that's interesting though, I think. It's how the company is bringing on board talented media innovators. The company has over 365 people working there and a global audience of 150 million. This morning a couple of moves over at Buzzfeed caught my eye.

Firstly a new major appointment, that of former Yahoo, Huffington Post and Criteo exec Greg Coleman, as Buzzfeed's new president. Secondly a new job opening that's doing the rounds for a new UK News Director, which reminded me of a recent cover story in Wired on the explosive growth of staff at Buzzfeed.

Wired's cover story explains a little on how people work over at Buzzfeed:

If there is a science to BuzzFeed's content strategy, it is built on obsessive measurement. The data-science team uses machine learning to predict which stories might spread; the design team keeps iterating the user interface through A/B testing and analytics. Every item of content has its own dashboard that shows how it spreads from "seed views" on the site to the scalable "social views".


BuzzFeed staff receive a list of Golden Rules of Shareability. These include: "Don't use tricks. People don't like to feel stupid… Be yourself. Content should reflect your own identity, not anyone else's… Make content you would be proud to share… Experiment. No ideas are bad ideas… Have a heart."

Much has been written about Buzzfeed's new approach to the advertising model too. This all feeds into making the site shareable and a commercial success.

I'll end with my own piece over on Buzzfeed - 13 social media PR disasters. Don't think I'll be applying for that News Director role at Buzzfeed in a hurry 🙂


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