22 Tips To Maximise Your Web Content From Buzzfeed

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The Rife Team were lucky enough to be invited to visit the UK Buzzfeed offices in London, and this is what they learnt about journalism.

Walking into the Buzzfeed offices in London with your lunch in a Lidl bag…is an interesting experience.

Walking into the Buzzfeed offices in London with your lunch in a Lidl bag and your expectations rampaging through your head is an interesting experience. What was an even better experience was settling into this office that had cupcakes and video games, a cat map on the wall (it’s exactly what it sounds like) and a group of wonderful, accommodating people to talk to. Plus a Buzzfeed merch bag to hide your Lidl one in.

I really didn’t know what to expect beforehand, but I was absolutely blown away with the whole Buzzfeed experience… particularly in talking to four very dedicated women who worked there. These women were journalists, reporters and editors who loved their jobs, and were full of wisdom and glamour; they honestly inspired me so much.

I don’t know about you readers, but I find the idea of working in the creative industry to be a vague and daunting one, yet on Friday these four women stapled down this cloud of uncertainty with advice, anecdotes, and actions we can all learn from if we want a creative future. So let me please introduce you to these passionate people and give you a sneak peek into the wonderful world of Buzzfeed and journalism.

Gena-Mour Barrett

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Gena is a staff writer at Buzzfeed, and it’s guaranteed she will make you laugh. She started as a Fellow, which is a paid internship, where she was taught how to use photoshop, make gifs, and develop her own Buzzfeed voice. This kind of internship is done in the hope of hiring, and that’s how she joined the wonderful Buzzfeed team. Gena writes a lot of relatable, shareable content comprised of humour, satire and lots of food and makeup too (who doesn’t like food and makeup?)

Gena very kindly gave us tips on how to make your work go viral:

  • Imperfection is relatable, eg if you’re doing a piece on makeup then remember not everyone is a total contour expert, so appealing to those of us who don’t run our own makeup tutorials is a good way to reach lots of people.
  • People like circular thumbnails. Yep. I don’t know why, but it’s true.
  • Also people like the phrase ‘slightly obsessed with’. I guess we’re all slightly obsessed with something…
  • Always bear in mind the purpose of what you’re producing and work towards that.
  • Have a blog and a twitter account to share your stuff onto, definitely.

Fiona Rutherford

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Fiona also began as a fellow, before becoming a Buzzfeed reporter, she too is a really lovely person who believes in the power of creative writing. She loves working at Buzzfeed because of the freedom to report on whatever interests you, and she specialises in reporting on campaigns.

Fiona’s advice?

  • Know what your audience is interested in as well as what your own interests are and how these interact.
  • Go out and meet people to find the most unique stories.
  • Stay neutral whilst reporting on topical issues, as much as you can.
  • Write what you would like to read.
  • Ask people to read your work and give feedback so you can improve on it.
  • Write creatively for yourself in your free time so you can use these writing styles to make your articles more unique.
  • Write what you are passionate about, and if you don’t know what that is yet then look at the options out there and experiment.

Aisha Gani

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Aisha Gani is a senior reporter at Buzzfeed and she’s a really interesting person who is super great to talk to. She started six months ago and she specialises in writing about Muslim affairs. Before this she worked at the Guardian which she joined from the training team. Since she was small she’s been interested in current affairs and exploring what’s happening around the world, which is why she became a reporter. She feels the great thing about Buzzfeed is that you can have a niche in whatever you like and write about it.

Aisha’s best advice for doing research:

  • Use social media to see what’s trending.
  • Speak to people over coffee, have just normal discussions and find out real things from real people.
  • Go to town hall meetings and court cases to find out some great stories.
  • Read a lot.

Elizabeth Pears

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Elizabeth Pears is a deputy news editor at Buzzfeed and she’s also a really impressive person who was very patient with my questioning. She has always wanted to be a journalist as she really likes writing. She holds that to be a writer you have to have ideas, most importantly, but you also have to feel able to go to events and talk to people to find out information. She likes writing human interest stories that help people to learn lessons. She reminds you to write whatever you enjoy and that people’s reactions to your work are subjective; in journalism there’s not just one answer. She genuinely thinks Journalism is one of the best jobs in the world because you get to meet fantastic people.

Elizabeth’s personal advice on how to get into journalism:

  • You can get started by working on your local paper.
  • Don’t wait for someone to tell you you’re a journalist or a writer, as that’s what you are; you can write your own blog and publish your work on social media and become a writer yourself.
  • Pitching is a good way to get your foot in the door.
  • Doing work experience is good because then the place knows you and are more likely to hire you in the future.
  • Having a mentor, a senior writer to give you advice helps.
  • Have a good portfolio, or do work experience or go to networking events; do something that gives you an edge.

I hope that helps, honestly I cannot paint a good enough picture of these women; they were really amazing to meet and people you’d love to be best friends with. I guess what really got me about all of them was that they were so confident and happy in the work they do, and they really believed in it too. Listening to them and the advice they gave made my future feel that little bit brighter, and I really hope it’s helped you feel that way too. Even though I’ve only worked three weeks at Rife, with the help of Buzzfeed, I’ve already learnt a lot; like how to make your work go viral, the importance of writing what you would like to read, and that Buzzfeed have a map made up entirely of cats on their wall. Cats. I truly cherish this information and maybe you will too.

Would you like to create your own web content? Why not get involved with Rife Magazine. 

Other great creative and enterprising opportunities to get involved with are PAPERarts and boomsatsuma