Eric Harris On The Secrets Behind BuzzFeed's Winning Content Formula

Eric Harris, BuzzFeed's Executive Vice President of Business Operations, speaks on what makes winning content—whether its long-form investigative journalism or a tongue-in-cheek quiz.

When BuzzFeed's Eric Harris took the stage at DX3, an annual digital marketing and business conference, he focused on how his company's popular website creates winning content that travels well online. As Sebastian Agosta explains in his blog post summarizing Harris's talk, "Content is king, but distribution is queen and wears the pants."

After Harris's keynote, we sat together on the showroom floor to talk about the BuzzFeed formula. The EVP of Business Operations, who was one of the company's first employees, explains that they have always focused on content that triggers strong emotions—"part art, part science," he describes.

Eric Harris

While BuzzFeed might be best known for quick viral hits—check out their recent Pi Day post featuring "A Definitive Ranking of the 20 Most Important Pies"—they recently launched an investigative department to focus on long-form journalism. BuzzFeed currently has about 400 employees and a reported 160 million unique visitors.

For content writers and marketers, Harris has some valuable tips for producing content: He stresses the importance of crafting winning headlines and thumbnails and meeting reader expectations. "We're not trying to trick somebody," he says. "You can trick somebody to click, but you can't trick somebody to share."

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