Introduction to Content Marketing with Buzzfeed

Introduction to Content Marketing with Buzzfeed


RACHEL STERLING:
Hello, and welcome to another Hangout out with
the Google Small Business Community. My name is Rachel Sterling. Guys, I could not be
more excited for today. We’ve got Buzzfeed,
masters of content here, to give us
the straight scoop on how small businesses
can create awesome content marketing. Let’s give a warm community
welcome to Keith Hernandez from Buzzfeed. Keith, thanks so
much for being here. KEITH HERNANDEZ:
Thank you, Rachel. Thank you for having me. RACHEL STERLING:
Oh no, it’s great. So tell us a little bit about
what you do at Buzzfeed. KEITH HERNANDEZ: Sure. At Buzzfeed, I’m the
Director of Brand Strategy for our global team. So what that encompasses is I
work with about seven people across the world to
help them put together great social
marketing campaigns. RACHEL STERLING: That’s great. And we have one question that
we always ask all of our guests before we get started
with the discussion. If you can have a Hangout
with anyone in the world, who would it be, and what’s
the most embarrassing thing you would ask them? KEITH HERNANDEZ: Oh, man. OK, cool. It would have to be Elon Musk. He’s just so interesting. And the most
embarrassing question– I don’t know
embarrassing it would be, but I want to know
when he’s actually going to admit that
he’s a superhero and that he’s here
to save the world. RACHEL STERLING: Or
he’s here to just power all of our homes and cars. KEITH HERNANDEZ: Yeah. Small steps, small things. RACHEL STERLING: My
husband knows that I’m waiting for the golf wing SUV. KEITH HERNANDEZ: Oh, yeah. I’m just waiting to get
out of New York City so that I can feel
comfortable buying a Tesla and run around with it. RACHEL STERLING:
They’re awesome. So let’s get started with
our conversation today. We’re talking about
content marketing. In advance of this
conversation, we took a poll in the community. Maybe you answered
some of our questions. And we found that
49% of our members currently use content marketing. However, one in five
community members aren’t sure they know
what content marketing is. Can you fill us in? What exactly is
content marketing? KEITH HERNANDEZ: Yeah. Well, first, it’s exciting to
hear that 49% are using it. A little scary that
that means a lot of them also don’t know
what they’re doing. RACHEL STERLING: Well,
let’s fill them in. KEITH HERNANDEZ: But quite
simply, content marketing is telling a story
before the sales message. That’s creating and building
a narrative and storytelling through social platforms. And that could be as simple as
taking a picture of the latest dish at your restaurant or
filming a 15 or 30 second yoga pose for your new studio,
or as elaborate as creating a two or three minute video
that would live online. RACHEL STERLING: I often find
that small business owners are the most passionate about what
they’re doing, because they’re so ingrained in their business. And so who better to capture
the passion about what they’re working on than themselves? KEITH HERNANDEZ:
It’s so true, yeah. I think the problem
that big companies have some time is trying
to figure out how do they put their personality
into something that’s 10,000, 20,000 people. When it’s your
passion project, it’s your personality that decided
to make this small business, you should let that shine, and
you should let that go out. So often, people
are buying from you because they know and
trust who you are. So let that live on
your social platforms. RACHEL STERLING: That’s
really great advice. Let’s talk a little
bit more about creating editorial content. The best content
feels editorial. KEITH HERNANDEZ: Absolutely. RACHEL STERLING: And
Buzzfeed is awesome at this. This is why we’re here. You guys create amazing content. Can you share some
best practices on creating editorial
content that doesn’t feel like marketing? It has to feel more authentic. KEITH HERNANDEZ: Absolutely. I think, again, this
comes with the generation that we live in where most
people over the age of 21 have seen thousands
of advertisements on a daily basis. You’re bombarded with it. So we’re actually more
in tune with what’s happening with advertising than
any other generation before. So we’ll tune out when we know
there’s a sales pitch coming in the first five seconds. What we want is a story
that’s going to entertain us, delight us, provide
us information. We look at it Buzzfeed that
there’s four main pillars that brands should
focus on when they’re creating great narrative. The first one is emotion. This is the idea that it
has to have something, whether it’s a silly laugh,
it’s bringing a smile to somebody’s face, or
it’s breaking up their day in some sort of way. If you offer that, it
feels like a little bit of an emotional gift, something
that they can bring back. RACHEL STERLING: And
it’s enjoying for them to consume that content. KEITH HERNANDEZ: Absolutely. RACHEL STERLING: I love reading
something where I’m reading it and it makes me feel something. You’re going to have better
brand recall if you actually can tie in emotion to
what you’re reading. KEITH HERNANDEZ: Totally. And think about your day to day. If something is just giving
you the straight facts rather than tying it into
some emotional accord, you’re going to remember
it, but you’re not going to want to share
it with your friends. I think for us, one
of the biggest values is, will somebody take this
outside of just reading it for themselves and think,
this is great for me, but it’s also going to be
amazing for one of my friends. I should share that with them. And that emotional
connection starts with that. RACHEL STERLING: You
mentioned four pillars. Let’s go through
some of the others. KEITH HERNANDEZ:
Sure, absolutely. Another one is information. What we’ve found– especially
on boards like Pinterest and Twitter– if you can
provide additional information that your reader is
going to feel value in– and this is not just
the price of the product or why the product
is going to work, but how they might use
it in their day to day. What we found, for example, is
how to videos and hack videos to make somebody’s life easier
or better work really well. RACHEL STERLING: I’m going to
make a confession right now. I have looked at many of
the BuzzFeed hair hacks. I am not as talented as the
people that are featured in the Buzzfeed hack videos. I’ll try it, and it
just ends really bad. And then my husband
walks in the room, and he’s like,
what are you doing? And I’m like, don’t ask. KEITH HERNANDEZ: Yeah. I’ve also used those,
and the curly hair ones are ones that get
me all the time. And I can see that
happened with you as well. I’ve tried growing my hair out
to ill effect a lot of times. And I’ve used the
Buzzfeed videos to tame it down and make sure. RACHEL STERLING: So maybe this
becomes our follow up video, is you and I try to do all
the hair hacks in the Buzzfeed list. KEITH HERNANDEZ:
I would love that. We did one where there’s a
post roulette on you literally click the button and it tells
you what type of hairstyle to wear that day. RACHEL STERLING: That’s amazing. KEITH HERNANDEZ:
It’s a lot of fun. RACHEL STERLING: OK. So you talked about emotion. We talked about information. What comes next? KEITH HERNANDEZ: Aspiration. I think a lot of people
are using social media to think about their future
and to think about how they can better their lives. So creating content
that gives somebody a goal forward– one thing
we did on the editorial site recently is a clean eating
challenge where we offered up the recipes, we
offered up the food that they should go out and buy,
and also some of the lifestyle changes to do that. What we found is that there’s
a one-to-one relationship when somebody is starting to
prepare for a little piece of betterness in their
life that they’ll start to share it with their friends. RACHEL STERLING: How was the
results from the clean eating challenge? KEITH HERNANDEZ: How are they? RACHEL STERLING: Did people
really engage with it, and did people really
change their eating habits based on those? KEITH HERNANDEZ: Absolutely. And we haven’t seen the results
of before and after pictures yet, but what we’re doing is
monitoring on social media and also following up and
encouraging on social media. So when we see somebody who
tags their friend and says, hey, we have a wedding
in three months. We should start to do this
clean eating challenge. And we see that they’ve
tagged each other, we will follow up
with encouragement. And that’s that
personal addition. I think a lot of people think
of Buzzfeed as a big media company, but we have a
community management team. When people are
talking positively, we want to reinforce
those messages. RACHEL STERLING:
That’s fantastic. I think I would fail that. I have a weakness for
donuts and cookies and wine. Maybe not all at the same time. But I would certainly fail
a clean eating challenge. KEITH HERNANDEZ: Yeah. My Instagram name
is Cookie Panderer. So I have also a really
difficult weakness for the cookies. RACHEL STERLING: I’m definitely
seeing a follow up video here. OK. So we talked about information,
aspiration, emotion. What’s for the fourth one? KEITH HERNANDEZ: The
fourth one– and it’s probably the one should
be ingrained in everything that you do– is identity. I think when people
think about marketing, the old school way
of thinking was let’s go for the widest
cast, the widest net, try to get the biggest possible
audience with a huge TV spot. But with social media, you’re
able to get not only niche, but micro niche, and think about
who exactly you audience is, and who the best customer
potentially could be, and write for them. What we found at
Buzzfeed is when we write for somebody–
like curly haired people, or left-handed
people– you would think you’re leaving
out 90% of the audience, but what you’re actually
doing is reinforcing that 10% to feel like the
story was written especially for them. RACHEL STERLING: We’ve found
this here at Google, also. I worked at YouTube
for a little while. And when we would talk
about doing ads on YouTube, it was always just don’t
put your TV spot on YouTube, because it’s not going to work. You’re talking to people on
a completely different way, online versus on television. KEITH HERNANDEZ:
Yeah, absolutely. And that brings up a great
point about being diverse, having a diverse message
for diverse platforms. The way that you
talk on Facebook should be a little bit
different than the way that you talk on Twitter. Think about your
own social media habits and the way that you
portray yourself on LinkedIn is a little bit
different than the way that you’re going to share
something on Snapchat or on Instagram,
or at least I hope. RACHEL STERLING: Bikini
pictures on Snapchat, business suits on LinkedIn. KEITH HERNANDEZ: I hope. Those are general
things, but yes. RACHEL STERLING: Well, thank you
so much for breaking that down. So just so everybody
remembers, the four pillars for creating editorial content
are identity, aspiration, emotion, and information. Is that correct? KEITH HERNANDEZ: That’s correct. RACHEL STERLING: OK. So people are always talking
about viral content online. And people are always saying,
I want to create a video and I want to make it viral. Can you explain to people
what exactly a viral video is, and what types of content
have gone viral on Buzzfeed? KEITH HERNANDEZ: Yeah. So be careful with
the word “viral,” because it has different
meanings for different folks. A big company might
look at a video that has 10 or 20 million views
as not even a success and not viral. But another company might look
at getting 5,000, 10,000 people to sign up for something
as a viral success. So the key for virility
for us is really are you getting outside of
your standard social network. Are people starting to
share it a little bit more than the one or two
or three people that normally would share it. Is it connecting in a human way? RACHEL STERLING:
And is it connecting to people who you
were not actually physically connected to? KEITH HERNANDEZ: Yeah, exactly. When you start to see those tree
branches go away from the 100, 150 people that you normally
associate with on Facebook and into different
realms of the internet. RACHEL STERLING: OK. So what have you found has been
content at Buzzfeed that most traditionally goes viral? KEITH HERNANDEZ: I
think the key thing is it’s grounded in reality. The headline has to match
what the story is going to do. I think what we
found pretty quickly is if there’s a curiosity
gap between the headline and the story, people are going
to feel like they were duped or tricked into
clicking, and they’re not going to want to share it. RACHEL STERLING: I hate that. And so many people will do that. They’ll be like,
click here to find out what Kim Kardashian did
that you won’t even believe, and then you click there, and
it’s like, Kim wore a ponytail. KEITH HERNANDEZ: Yeah, exactly. It’s like, you would not
believe what this baby did. It’s going to make
your brain explode. And then you click, and it’s
like, the baby had food. RACHEL STERLING: But when
Buzzfeed produced an article about the spider– watch what
happens when this guy kills a spider, and then it turns into
1,000 spiders– you literally showed that, and then
it gave me nightmares for a week after I watched it. RACHEL STERLING: Yeah. And the headline is really
that moment of truth. It’s that first experience
with your brand. And if you don’t deliver
in the message afterwards, you are leaving a
little bit on the table. What you want to do is make
sure that what they’re getting is something that
they’re going to feel proud of sharing afterwards. RACHEL STERLING: That’s great. Let’s move on to
the next question, which is about formats. So Buzzfeed has found
a lot of success with content using videos
and then the listicle. And so for those of
you who don’t know, listicle is any content
that you would put online that is in a list form. Would you advise
small businesses to use these two types of
formats for creating content? KEITH HERNANDEZ: Yeah. The listicle came about
by our team realizing that mobile is here and now. People are using
their mobile phones more during the day than
setting at their desktop. And so we wanted to
create an environment that was easy for people
to scroll through. So we looked at the
slide show as something that was 5, 10 years
ago was a great way to get out great photography. But when you’re
on a mobile phone and you’re waiting in
line for your coffee, trying to get
through 50 pictures– RACHEL STERLING: I
hate the loading. Especially if you’re
on Starbucks Wi-Fi and it’s slow because so
many people are on it, the loading will kill me. KEITH HERNANDEZ: Yeah. Very particular example. RACHEL STERLING: Sorry. That’s never happened to me. I go into loading rage. KEITH HERNANDEZ:
So what we did is we created this listicle, which
is a multiple images in one load so you can get
through the whole post without having to
multiple do it. My suggestion would be to
start small rather than trying to think, oh man, am I going
to get to 25 images that will brighten up somebody’s day? Start with two or three that
you think are going to work, and experiment with those. Put them into your Pinterest
or Facebook or Twitter feed and see how the comments do. And if those start to work,
then start to build a series. All of our editors
work that way, where they will create something
small, experiment with it, and then build out
into something larger. RACHEL STERLING: We’ve
gone over format, and we’ve talked listicles
and videos and the best way that you should start small. Let’s say I’m a
small business owner. We were chatting
before we got started. Your wife is a yoga instructor. Let’s say I’m a yoga
instructor, and I want to start doing content
marketing to advertise my new yoga studio. What would you recommend I do
as my first couple of steps as I dip my toe in the
water in content marketing? KEITH HERNANDEZ: One
of the first steps is to see what the rest
of the community is doing. I think the strongest
advocates of your brand will be the other people
working in your community. So I would say look at what
they’re doing on Instagram, on Twitter, on
Vine, on Facebook, on all these other
social platforms. And when you want to
create stuff, create a diverse set of
messages and images and see what’s really
working out there. But also, build your
personality into it. I think the key to everything
with small business is people look at it as– the
transaction is obviously there. They want to spend
money with your product, because they feel like
there’s a value there. But they are really feeling–
the reason why people go to small business is
to build a community, and to go outside of just
that singular transaction, and build a long-term
relationship. So build that into
everything that you’re doing. RACHEL STERLING: And we’ve
talked ad nauseum here in the community about
how just because you’ve made something
doesn’t mean people are going to come find it with
the exception of your parents or your kids or whatnot. So if you’ve created an
awesome piece of content– let’s say I’ve created this
awesome series of poses for my yoga studio,
and I want to make sure that I get the largest
amount of traction with it. What do I do? How do I actually make sure
that people see the content that I’ve created? KEITH HERNANDEZ: The
biggest misconception about social media marketing
is that it’s organic and you don’t have
to pay for it. The reality is you do
have to put a little bit of distribution behind it. And I’m not saying you have
to spend hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars. But you do have to
be specific about how you’re going to get it
outside of your social sphere. Because it would be
great– it’s always encouraging when I get my mom
liking my Facebook comments. It feels great. RACHEL STERLING: And I bet
your mom has a huge network. KEITH HERNANDEZ: Yeah. And it gets out there, yeah. But you do you have to step
outside of your social sphere. And the best way to do that
is putting a little bit of pay behind it. RACHEL STERLING: OK. So if we’re talking about
budget, then– if you’ve got budget, how
much of your budget should go towards creative
production versus promotion? KEITH HERNANDEZ: Great question. And I think the old way of
doing it from the Mad Men era is you spend 95% of your time
thinking about the creative, thinking about the
strategy, the execution, and you have five minutes left
in the meeting, and you go, oh, crap where are
we going to put this? RACHEL STERLING: We’ll
just buy some TV spots, and we’ll be done. KEITH HERNANDEZ: And
let’s all go home. Let’s get some martinis. But the reality is,
you need to think about it about a 50-50 balance,
and think about the creative, but also think about
how the distribution is going to work for it. So an image that might work
really well on Instagram might not work really
well on Pinterest, so you might want to think about
creating multiple images there. The beautiful thing now
is that the overhead on buying great photography, it
could just be using your phone. I think there’s a
lot of great people that are just using their
phone to take these pictures. RACHEL STERLING: Well, let’s say
you don’t have a lot of money. Are there any best practices
around the appropriate time to distribute content? KEITH HERNANDEZ: Yeah. I think you have to
look at your audience and look at what they’re doing. At Buzzfeed, we started
to see that what we call our snackable
content– the smaller pieces, those lists– work really
well during the daytime. And the reality is, because
people are looking at this before they’re going
into a meeting. They have five minutes
between the meeting, and they just want something
funny or interesting there. What we found is
longer form content starting to work between
the hours of 6:00 to 10:00, that prime time hour, because
people are multitasking. They’re watching their
favorite Sunday shows, but they’re also reading
a longer form article, or they’re watching
a video in between those commercial breaks. RACHEL STERLING: So you
should keep that in mind. If you’re thinking about
doing any sort of content distribution, you
should think about that in terms of what type
of content am I creating, and when will people best
respond to the content that I’m putting out there? And either it’s going to be
when you release the content, or if you can put some
budget behind promoting it, it will be when you actually
allocate that budget. KEITH HERNANDEZ: Yeah. I think the release of it,
especially with organic, has less of an influence. It’s more about when you
put the money behind it and when you experiment. And I would say try a
couple of different things. Something that we do a lot
with our brand partners is try three to
five different time zones, three to
five different ways of writing the headline just
to see which one is sticking, which one people are
actually connecting with and liking and sharing. RACHEL STERLING: Well,
let’s talk about what connects with people, and
let’s bring up success. I found this to be an
interesting statistic. According to the Content
Marketing Institute, 77% of businesses use content
marketing, but only 37% think that they are
doing it effectively. How do you know when
your content marketing strategy is working? KEITH HERNANDEZ: It’s tough. We’re not living
in the days where people are going to bring
in a coupon and tell you, I found this in the newspaper,
and I want to buy your product. It’s a little bit
more of a soft look. So what we see–
we use something called Social Lift
as our indicator that something is really
working and taking off. And this is an internal
tool that we look at to see if people are sharing it
above and beyond just reading it themselves. And so when we see that
something is taking off and people are sharing
it and that word of mouth is happening, we start to
put a little bit more weight behind what we’re doing
and seeing it work. RACHEL STERLING: And
one of the things that’s really great about the Google
Small Business Community is that you almost
have the ability to post anything that you’re
working on in the community, and you can get real time
feedback before you even go wide with it. Let’s say you write
a blog post, or you have an idea for photo
series or whatnot– you could upload it
to the community, get feedback from
people, test out a couple of different
headlines, and then you can actually go put it out
there, and buy media, and feel confident that you
know that you’ve pressure tested your idea. KEITH HERNANDEZ: Especially with
the small business community, the best people are your
peers, working with them and understanding
what’s working for them. What I’ve seen– I have a
friend that owns a small coffee shop in Boston. And he on his Instagram
feed will put coffee shops around the world, and
he’ll call them out, say how fun they look,
mention different things about the personalities
that have built those out. And he gets reciprocal feedback
of love from those people. So really, what you want
to do is lift everybody in your category,
everybody that’s doing what you’re doing, because
that’s the strongest way you can build out a community. RACHEL STERLING: So
he’s not selling coffee. He’s just basically saying,
I saw this great coffee shop. And then those other coffee
shops are saying, hey, this guy is great, too. And so if I was in,
let’s say, Turkey, and I went to a
local coffee shop, and I saw that there was
this coffee shop in Boston, I might go seek it out
when I went to Boston. KEITH HERNANDEZ: Absolutely. And I think that’s
the fun thing. The reason people get into
the particular small business that they’re getting
into is because they have a passion for it, because
there’s something about it that they just can’t
stop thinking about. So my friend Ben got into
coffee because it’s just been his life passion to
understand how the coffee growers are getting paid, how
they’re getting subsidized, and how he can bring a
really good cup of coffee to somebody in a city, and
somebody else in Singapore or Tokyo can do the same thing. RACHEL STERLING: Let’s end
our conversation on action. For all the folks
that are watching at home, or on their
phones, or wherever they’re consuming content–
they’re small business owners. They’re interested
in content marketing. What are the top
three pieces of advice that you would give to a small
businesses who is starting out on content marketing? KEITH HERNANDEZ: The first
one would be learn and adapt. We at Buzzfeed create anywhere
between 300 and 500 pieces of content a day. RACHEL STERLING: Yes. I’m aware. I probably read or
watch 150 of them a day. KEITH HERNANDEZ: Amazing. But that’s not always the case. A lot of these are not what
you would call home run pieces. But what we want to do is
have purposeful learning in what we’re doing,
and take that learning to better the next time around. So my suggestion would be to
try multiple different things, have fun with it,
and experiment, but learn from those mistakes. Learn from when
you didn’t connect, or it felt too sales-y
or too marketing heavy, and learn and adapt for that. Another one would
be to start small. There’s no reason to put a
heavy budget into something and go out big if
you’re a small business. Start small. Take those small steps
and incrementally grow, because that will feel
natural to your community that they’re going
to be part of it. Another big one is to build
your community into it. Reward the people that have
been with you for a long time. So if you have a
member, or if you have a local that comes to your
restaurant every single day, feature them a little bit. Shine a little bit of the light
on who your best customers are, and you’ll start to see,
again, that reciprocal love that happens through that. RACHEL STERLING: You want
to have your customers be brand ambassadors for you. KEITH HERNANDEZ: Absolutely. RACHEL STERLING: And the best
way to do that is to make them love your brand, and you
do that through content. KEITH HERNANDEZ: Yeah. And the final–
and I think this is the most essential– is
build your personality into the brand. You’re at an advantage over
some of the big companies out there who are struggling to
figure out– in a social media world where it’s so
much about personality, how do we make our
big brand human? The reality is small
businesses are human. They’re run by you. They’re run by your passion. So use that to your advantage,
and make it real and natural so people really understand who
you are behind the business. RACHEL STERLING: Keith,
thanks so much for being here. KEITH HERNANDEZ: Thank you. I had a blast. RACHEL STERLING: And thank
you so much for watching. As always, you can catch all of
this information in g.co/gsbc. Until next time,
I’m Rachel Stirling. Thanks for joining us here
in the Google Small Business Community– the place
where you get the help you need to succeed on the web.

26 comments

  1. Keith Hernandez from @BuzzFeed, one of the leaders in the #ContentMarketing space, joined the Google Small Business Community (http://g.co/gsbc) to discuss how small businesses can create and use custom content effectively in their marketing.

  2. Video being part of #ContentMarketing, you should take it seriously into account. But it seems that many companies are still not integrating them well into their campaign. Indeed they seem to not gather data from their viewers, missing out on understandings better their market. Anyone has insight on that point?

  3. I'm not sure but ,if anyone else wants to uncover process of creating website try Renkarter Content Curation Report (Have a quick look on google cant remember the place now ) ? Ive heard some incredible things about it and my mate got amazing results with it.

  4. Indeed, businesses should concentrate on creating long living bonds with consumers. Though, through content marketing, the consumer is often lost in the mass of inadequate information as cat videos or math problems published by brands. That's not telling a story. A short, informative, engaging and problem solving message about the brand is what a consumer would watch and even share with a friend.

  5. Not certain about the points made but ,if anyone else is searching for why content marketing try Renkarter Content Curation Report (do a google search ) ? Ive heard some decent things about it and my work buddy got great success with it.

  6. Just what I was looking for, it is an excellent video and a great way to explain how content curation Renkarter report , very interesting and easy to find in google #contentmarketing +buzzfeed

  7. Thanks for sharing the Introduction video. According to me, Content marketing is the way to go if you want to get new visitors that can be converted in customers and subscribers.

  8. We love Buzzfeed and most of its content is just WOW.. Knowing about Keith and tips he shared are really cool even for a content writing agency (https://goo.gl/XZsZv6) like ours. Thanks Keith!

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