Scrolling through your favorite newsfeed, you are bombarded with everything from political news articles to a photo of your distant relative’s new puppy. But once you log off, what content do you remember most?
The average American adult dedicates over 10 hours per day to consuming media, according to a 2016 Nielsen Company audience report. This data is based on how much time we use our cell phones, computers, radios, TVs, tablets, gaming consoles, and more. During this time, a study shows that Americans are subject to anywhere from 4,000 to 10,000 advertisements.
Now, how do media outlets compete for your attention?
IVY Magazine sat down with member Lizz Warner, the senior manager of the Bring Me franchise at Buzzfeed for an insight into how to make media memorable.
What is your background and how did you get started with Buzzfeed? What is Bring Me?
I was a business and Spanish major in college but always knew I wanted to work in video production. I loved cameras, and started filming and editing videos when I was nine. My friends and I made some weird videos back in the day. I got serious about it in high school and college, and worked at various television network / news jobs in Chicago and New York, and at MTV before applying to BuzzFeed – I was inspired after watching a video called “Things Cats Do That’d Be Creepy If You Did Them.” I got the job and started as an intern, and worked my way up.
Last year, I led a team that launched Bring Me, BuzzFeed’s official travel franchise. We make viral videos about unique places around the world, which I’m excited to say has grown into the most viewed travel page on Facebook. In under a year, it has amassed over 2.7 billion views, and is expanding with the addition of producers around the globe. I work with creatives, international producers, sellers and brands, and we’re now looking into longer form content and potentially shows down the line. It’s been really rewarding to see small businesses we’ve featured grow lines out the door after our video about them goes live. Some have even expanded their businesses internationally.
Bring Me has millions of followers. How do you make it stand out in a time when there is such a large amount of content and media (from both traditional and nontraditional outlets) in people’s daily lives?
There’s so much content out there fighting for everyone’s attention, standing out is definitely not an easy thing to do. We’re constantly analyzing video performance and combining the creative with data science. We focus on the “share statement,” or what people are saying when they send the video to someone. By reading the comments and share statements, you gain a lot of inspiration for future content, and we use that to drive the ideation process.
“Standing out” can mean totally different things for every platform, so it’s super important to be vigilant about industry changes. With Facebook, the algorithm is constantly evolving, so a large part of my job is being aware of all the changes, constantly testing out new types of content, and seeing what works and what does not.
What is most important to consider when trying to appeal to your target audience?
I dislike the term “target audience.” If we’re talking about making content stand out, we should be focusing on the content before thinking about the audience. It’s like deciding what you’ll do with your gold medal before you’ve even started the race. If it’s good content, people will naturally come to it, and then you’ll have your target audience.
If you’re looking to appeal to a certain identity, my best advice is to be as specific as possible. I’ve seen content get more and more vague, as creators fear ruling people out – but as a result, you end up speaking to no one in particular. People relate more to specificity: I.e., instead of making a post that says, “people from Wisconsin love cheese” I’d instead say “people from Wisconsin love hot and steamy fried cheese curds.”
Yum. Now I’d eat that.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I have so many hobbies it’s hard to boil it down. I love snowboarding, skiing, cooking, playing sports (especially soccer/field hockey), and hip hop dance. I’ll take any excuse to go on crazy adventures, and recently got into making trap music. Although my career is in a creative field, I’m a really big math and science person, and would have majored in Logic if it was an option (I’m weirdly obsessed with proofs). I love making content that really impacts people’s lives, and my goal is to leverage my influence in media to make a significant impact on saving the environment.