Buzzfeed CEO’s memo to employees is a roadmap for journalism and content.
On September 3rd last week, Buzzfeed CEO Jonah Peretti sent a memo to all employees outlining the recent past and the things to come for the up and coming (although they are pretty much “getting there” these days) media outlet.
If you don’t know Buzzfeed, there’s a good chance you came across one of their lists of “celebrities eating potato chips” or “10 ways your cat is better than a dog” (I just made those up but they could well already be somewhere in there).
What was initially a site where you could find a laugh or a smile has now become a profitable (yes, profitable) newsroom with longform articles and foreign correspondents brought in from well established newspapers and broadcasters.
They went from zero revenue four years ago to 300 employees today! (and remember what I said, they are profitable)
In his memo, Peretti outlines 9 key areas where Buzzfeed is strong and how they plan to leverage those strengths in the near future.
Each point is extremely interesting from a content standpoint, valid not only for the media industry but also how corporate brands should approach content and publishing.
But my favourite is by far the 9th in the list (yes, even his memo is built around a list, the infamous format that made them so popular), which talks about FOCUS. In it, he tells all what they will NOT do :
“[…] there are many exciting, tempting, glamorous, lucrative opportunities that we will NOT do in the coming year and as more of these opportunities present themselves it will take discipline to stay on track. We will NOT launch a BuzzFeed TV show, radio station, cable network, or movie franchise – we’ll leave that to the legacy media and Hollywood studios. We will NOT launch a white labeled version of BuzzFeed to power other sites or a BuzzFeed social network – we’ll leave that to pure tech companies in Silicon Valley. We will NOT launch a print edition or a paywall or a paid conference business – we’ll leave that to other publications.”
Funny how that resonates with what I sent you two weeks ago: Kevin Spacey’s speech about the “old” way of doing television.
I’ll let you read it all, you will not regret it.