An easy read

Listicles, gifs, quizzes… The ways you can make your content an easy read are endless.

I’ve been working on content concepts for two very different but time-poor audiences recently and, in my search for inspiration, one source keeps popping into my head: Buzzfeed.

I can’t say it’s my favourite website, but it’s certainly worth a visit for ideas or just to fill a few minutes. However, I’m starting to think it’s the editorial equivalent of an ear worm. And now Buzzfeed is in my head, I can’t get rid of it.

I don’t think I’m alone in this. Or maybe I am – perhaps I should I set up a quiz to find out?

No, I’m definitely not as it’s ranked as one of the US’ most popular news sites, according to YouGov. So how did a humble content-tracking website come to be one of the major influencers in the zeitgeist of snappy, entertaining digital content?

Maybe it’s because you don’t have to visit it. More often than not, it comes to you via recommended content and friends’ shares and likes on social media. It’s almost a challenge not to click through.

Buzzfeed isn’t without its share of controversy, but it’s hard to deny that it employs a wealth of content treatments that can turn even the most mundane topics into lively reads. So how can we apply its thinking to create our own interesting, easy reads?

1. Listicles – as easy as 1, 2, 3

Bite-sized, quick to digest, random as you like… nothing says ‘read me’ faster than a fun list. Ten things you never knew about the cast of Grease? Thirteen epic fails of the week? Oh, yes please!

2. Sunny and share

It’s cracked the art of creating fun, interactive and shareable content. Take ‘The 20 Desserts That You Love Or Hate Will Determine Your Exact Age’* or ‘Choose Flirt or Flake On These Internet Boyfriends And We’ll Reveal Your Romantic Type’** and gain insights into your personality that it would take a psychoanalyst years to uncover. And even better, you can find out about your mates’ inner workings by sharing and encouraging them to have a go too. It’s a great way to create engagement around a topic and between users.

3. The gif that keeps on giffing

Buzzfeed is no stranger to using clips or animation to make a statement. A funny, animated gif can be just the thing you need to hammer home a point, make someone sit up and take notice or just make your content a relatable, easy read.

4. Content, content everywhere

Yes, it’s well known for short, sharp trivia, but Buzzfeed is also happy to host longer-form, factual content. Over recent years, the site has worked on becoming a one-stop shop for a wide array of content and, therefore, readers. And while it’s not afraid to diversify to broaden its appeal, it’s also created localised versions to target different demographics and geographies.

5. Got an idea, write it down here

Buzzfeed is also keen on encouraging its community of users to get involved and develop their own content that can in turn be shared. An interesting and engaging move that means the end result isn’t always highly polished, but can turn out to be real – viral – diamonds in the rough.

*It was two years out, but in fairness I don’t know what funnel cake is.

**I’m a ‘passionate artist’, apparently.

These techniques aren’t limited to public websites like Buzzfeed, they’re becoming increasingly prevalent in internal communications and are great ways to develop engaging, fun content that your audiences can read, enjoy and share. If you’d like our help in creating easy read comms, just get in touch.