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It’s the sister of native advertising.

The difference between the two forms of communications comes down to cost.

Unlike native advertising, the media placement for native PR is free.

Shifting from theory to reality, check out how this plays out on what’s called the BuzzFeed Community:

BuzzFeed Community feature articles

What a great platform for communicators to hone their storytelling with low risk (again, no cost for the media placement).

Of course, the BuzzFeed Community doesn’t deliver the right audience for, say, the semiconductor industry (though I bet Brian Fuller and his experience at EE Times could find an angle for an EDA company). On the other hand, it’s a natural for campaigns that aspire to touch the masses.

Lest you think every post must incorporate a cat video or some type of farm animal, our Endicia team (online shipping) created “6 More Bizarre Businesses That You Didn’t Know Existed,” a riff on a Mashable story on the same topic.

BuzzFeed - Bizarre Businesses

I had no idea a company specialized in waterproof bibles (for those snorkelers looking for Genesis 1:26?).

The principles of a meritocracy govern the BuzzFeed Community; i.e., the more compelling/amusing/fresh your story, the greater the reach.

Lili Salzberg, the BuzzFeed community moderator, was good enough to pass a few of the more popular Community posts my way. I particularly enjoyed: “Dad Draws on Kids’ Sandwich Bags, Makes Your Mom’s “I love you!” Notes even Less Cool”

BuzzFeed - Dad Draws On Kids’ Sandwich Bags

My Dad managed a jewelry store. I was thinking what a nice touch it would have been if he had included a gram of gold with my peanut butter sandwich during my grade school days.

Lili also highlighted the post “10 More Helpful Tips To Make Your BuzzFeed Posts Stand Out” to guide your efforts.

With the BuzzFeed Community pioneering “native PR,” it’s only a matter of time before other media properties follow suit – a good thing for communicators.

This type of platform presents an ideal way for the PR profession to accelerate the transition to writing directly for the target audience.

Note: I often write about BuzzFeed and its form “extreme storytelling.” Recent posts include “The Wall Street Journal Tries BuzzFeed Storytelling” and my favorite, “BuzzFeed Meets White House.”


  • Brian Fuller

    Lou, thanks for the shout-out and, as always, great post. It’s interesting to ponder how to apply this to niche audiences (a la engineering). I think, at a glance, that it’s more difficult. It’s more difficult for two reasons:

    1. While I think the PR industry can tell good stories in new media, it still has a hard time convincing clients that that’s the right path. Clients are risk averse usually.

    2. I’m not sure a niche audience looks to its niche publications and communities for that type of content. EE Times, EDN and Design News are headed down that path with slide shows and “lite” stories about the profession. But is that what engineers really want from those sites? I think they’re on those sites looking for answers to tough problems and ways to divine the future. You can’t find those on BuzzFeed or Mashable.

    That said, I would love to see more creativity in our world. We’re still too tangled in the loving embrace of the press release and the contributed technical article.

  • hoffman


    Thanks for taking the time to weigh in.

    And agree with your point that engineers are looking for “answers to touch problems.” Still, I could see how a post such as “Top 5 Star Trek Episodes” uploaded to BuzzFeed Community and then pushed through the company’s social channels might be part of a larger campaign to put a “face” on the company.

    I also think it’s possible that we’ll see sites that already appeal to technical audiences such as Lifehacker offer versions of “Native PR.”

    Regardless, I’m with you that “more creativity” would benefit the profession.


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