BuzzFeed is easy to bash; a fast-rising rocket ship is a visible target. And they do produce some pretty silly content. But when you discuss the future of journalism, BuzzFeed always seems to show up at that intersection between crazy and smart where genius so often lies.
What’s actually crazy is seeing most everyone try to copy BuzzFeed’s voice and play catchup to its trendy listicle format at one point or another—from old media, including the Times, to new media like Digiday, to opportunistic startups like Playbuzz.
When I say that publishers need to “stop chasing BuzzFeed,” what I mean is that they need to stop imitating BuzzFeed’s style and pay more attention to the brilliant way it runs its business.
What follows is an effusive—but important—list of nine ideas that BuzzFeed employs that the rest of us should rip off....