We had the “viral singluarlity” happen on the internet last night and you can be sure that across newsrooms and marketing meetings this morning, there are discussions of dresses and llamas happening right this moment as the East Coast crowd goes to work and looks at all those sharing numbers and metrics.
However, only BuzzFeed is BuzzFeed.
Be yourself. Attract a different crowd with authenticity. Don’t listen to shallow marketers (hey, we’re not all shallow) telling you to “be viral” at all costs. There’s money and value in being different.
In this game, BuzzFeed is winning. It must boggle the mind at traditional publishers that seemingly the entire Internet is talking about content that was created not by a seasoned reporter but a “community growth manager.” These so-called premium publishing brands will inevitably lose their pricing power in the ad market as they continue to copy BuzzFeed. What’s more they’re playing catch-up in offering high-priced agency services that are fueling the models of BuzzFeed and Vice. There used to be an axiom in the tech market: It’s a bad idea to try to out-Google Google. Too many people tried that — Google “Accoona” sometime — and totally failed. These days, in viral publishing, it’s a bad idea for premium brands to try to out-BuzzFeed BuzzFeed. Soon, Time, Esquire, GQ and the like will become indistinguishable from BuzzFeed. And the problem with that is simple: BuzzFeed is better at being BuzzFeed than Time.