How the Public Sector Can ‘Buzzfeed’ Its Content

I recently attended an excellent event called News:rewired. As part of the event there was a speaker from Buzzfeed who highlighted their underlying principles. In particular they aim to ‘bake in the share imperative’ by creating engaging content that triggers actions such as:

  • inspiring awe
  • being positive
  • surprising its readers

It’s easy to be snooty about Buzzfeed particularly if you look at their site with its LOL, Win, OMG yellow buttons. However, they are clearly very scientific about their approach and use a grid based on users who might or might engage with their content:

Likes it Does not like it

Gets it Does not get it

And of course it works. After the event I downloaded their app and I must share at least one item a day from Buzzfeed.

So are there any lessons here for the public sector? Why not?

How far do we focus on creating content that our users must share?

If we have factual information – such as money spent on a failed IT project is this an OMG moment?

Do we have great case studies of successes in the public sector that would inspire awe?

What about our top ten list of reports on X topic?

So when you are next commissioning new content why not check the Buzzfeed site and see if you can apply their magic to your own work.

Though I am not sure how you would get the cats in — yet.

Nick Halliday is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.

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Ori Hoffer

Here’s how you can bring in some fun to the mix (no cats, but a pug with a shopping cart):

We have had great response when we’ve done these, but we use them sparingly as we don’t want to alienate our usual audience. We use them to showcase what GSA does in a different way than your standard blog post/press release:

Erik G Eitel

Great post, Nick. Share-ability is so important with any content that’s created. Career resources, how-to guides, etc are all a great start within the public sector. I’d like to think that plain language within government could also lead to things being shared more often.