The Buzzfeed Formula - How To Consistently Get 1,000,000 Shares Per Post

Filed in Case Studies, Content, Traffic by on December 15, 2015

This is a guest submission by Tom Hunt

Buzzfeed are killing it...

They are driving TRAFFIC to their list posts through LARGE numbers of social shares. (See 10 lessons learned from running a failed viral site)

And do you think that the techniques they use to do are reserved just for these large media organizations?

Or do you think they can be learnt and applied by a solo operation with a single niche site to SKYROCKET your traffic?

buzzfeed shares


Ok, well let me let you into a secret.

I am not a big media organization with multiple people and years of experience getting shares.

But last month I did manage 6.3k:


Thrilling Heroics


And I didn't even use the complete Buzzfeed Formula.

In the rest of this post we will breakdown EXACTLY what Buzzfeed did to hit the mind blowing 1.6m shares mark on this post:


buzzfeed post


Because I know, that if you harness the power of The Buzzfeed Formula, you can multiply your currently traffic stats significantly which will inevitably lead to sales. (Learn 7 ways to attract traffic for early momentum)

And do you know what the best thing is?

Social shares are free, you get endorsed, word of mouth marketing FOR FREE and when I hear that a marketing strategy is free, this immediately brings the concept of Infinite ROI to mind.

Ok, the BuzzFeed Formula is split into 4 sections...


(P.S. If you'd like to download a free checklist of 31 traffic hacks click here or the image below)


1. Topic - What Are You Talking About

This one is easy.

Talk about something that your audience is interested in.

Now if you are Buzzfeed and have LARGE audience this is simple, you can talk about most things, like best friends.

So, if you have a more specific audience, I assume you have a good idea about you most commented, shared viewed topics, or if doing a guest post, head over to BuzzSumo and check out their most shared posts:




Let's say you were considering producing a guest post for NicheHacks:


nichehacks shares


So which topics look popular?

  • Blogging
  • Writing blog posts
  • Viral content

So do you think that a post entitled:

The Buzzfeed Formula - How To Consistently Get 1,000,000 Shares Per Post

Would potentially be clickable for the NicheHacks audience?

Of course 😉

Ok, so research and decide upon a topic to focus your post on then move to the next step.



2. Content - How Are You Talking About It

The most important question in this whole blog post is:

Which emotion are your trying to elicit in your reader?

This is the key to sharing.

As when a person feels an intense emotion, what is the natural impulse?

To share.

Buzzfeed take this to the next level in their "best friends" post.

They elicit INTENSE emotions of companionship and nostalgia and then CONNECT these emotions to another person in the life of the reader: the Share Target.

The BuzzFeed reader is developing an intense feeling of companionship and nostalgia and then on top of this, is continually reminded of the best friend with each of the 21 items on the list.

You would have to be completely immune to emotions or not have a best friend to NOT to want to share that post.

In fact...

If you haven't read that post, go through it now and just be aware of the emotions you feel and the yearning to share it with your best friend (Share Target).

Does that make things clearer? 🙂

In this specific post Buzzfeed have chosen companionship and nostalgia (and have used them to devastating effect), however here are a number of other emotions (with potential post types) that you can chose to build in your post:

  • Inspiration/Accomplishment (How To... or Ultimate Guide)
  • Excitement (The Top 20...)
  • Love (Story)
  • Shock (The Truth About...)

Selecting the emotion is easy, connecting the emotion with the Share Target is the tricky part.

Here is a list of potential Share Targets to get your juices flowing:

Social Circle

  • Best friend
  • Drinking Partner
  • Gym Partner

Family Member

  • Mother/Father
  • Brother/Sister
  • Grandparent
  • Cousin
  • Uncle/Aunty
  • Godparent

Professional Relationships

  • Co-founder
  • Business partner
  • Lawyer
  • Accountant

Romantic Relationships

  • Fiance
  • Girlfriend/Boyfriend
  • Wife/Husband

Now BuzzFeed chose to integrate their Share Target into each section of their list post, you may find this hard when writing more niche content for your blog. (See how to find and target your audience)

So it is often also effective to simply mention the Share Target in a Share Request at the bottom of the post, here is an example from the Thrilling Heroics post mentioned above:


th cta


This Share Rate could have been improved by greater integration of that connection with the readers friend throughout the article, like BuzzFeed did so well with their "best friend" post.

And from one of my recent posts on the NinjaOutreach Blog:




So after cultivating the emotion of inspiration/accomplishment by explaining how to outsource the development of your SAAS product over 3,000 words, I attempt to connect that feeling to a friend who also shares the same struggle, which will increase the likelihood of the share.

In summary, you must develop and intense emotion in your reader and endeavor to connect that emotion to the Share Target.


3. Headline Test - How Can You Improve Chance Of Sharing

When Neil Patel suggested that you should spend an equal amount of time on sculpting a headline as you do creating your content, I was like:



And then I actually did it:

Thrilling Heroics

And it paid off.

Again, BuzzFeed take this to the next level by split testing headlines on their site with small geographical cross sections and then will iterate headlines as they release around the world.

I am assuming you don't have the audience or access to that technology, so here is a leaner solution:

  • Spend the appropriate amount of time brainstorming headlines
  • Run each one through this Headline Analyzer and pick your top 5
  • Run them past a couple of friends who have an interest in that niche to narrow down to the final 2-3
  • Create 2-3 identical articles but with the different headlines and tweet them out with links in 10 minute interval
  • Measure RT's, Shares and click on the link in your tweets and select that headline for your article

Take that headline and run with it. Fully release your blog post with that headline at the for front of your sharing campaign.



4. Promote - Share With Sharers

So far in this post, BuzzFeed have had the upper hand...

But the tables are about to turn.

Here is a list of the top sharers of BuzzFeeds "best friends" article:


buzzfeed share


Pretty impressive right?

Let's compare this to the top sharers of the Thrilling Heroics article:


watts share


Alan Watts has double the amount of likes on Facebook than the highest sharer of the BuzzFeed article has followers. (See how 44 experts use Facebook to get traffic)





Joe Rogan has 8 times the amount of followers on Twitter than the top sharer of BuzzFeed's article.

The point that I'm trying to make is that BuzzFeed do not do manual outreach to promote their posts, but we can, and therefore access people that have LARGE audiences and if they share, this will give LARGE spikes in shares (as their audience shares).

And how do you get these influencers to share?

Pretty simple...

Include something that makes them look good in your post.

You will note that the Thrilling Heroics post that I include 19 items in the list that make each different influencer look good, thus giving each influencer a clear incentive to share.

To summarize, if you focus on the following aspects in your post:

  • Eliciting an intense emotion
  • Linking that intense emotion to a Share Target
  • Making Influencers look good



You will drastically increase the share-ability of your articles...

No longer will your list posts sit lonely at the bottom of your blog with just 7 shares in total, you have The BuzzFeed Formula that will light the path to hundreds or even thousands of shares.

(And watch as I link the inspiration you are feeling by the step by step approach of this post to the Share Target)

You know that one friend that you have that is always complaining about the lack of traffic he/she experiences on his niche site?

"James, how are you getting so much traffic?"

He asks as you review your monthly Google Analytics stats.

Just imagine how thankful he will be when he creates his first blog post that receives over 50 shares, then 100, then 1,000...

Awesome, you see that Twitter icon over to the left?

Yep, that one...

And finally, if you have any question re. the above post or how you can use these techniques in your niche, just drop a link to your site in the comments box below and I will give my insight within 24 hours.

(P.S. If you'd like to download a free checklist of 31 traffic hacks click here or the image below)


About Tom

Tom Hunt Final-Blog

Tom is the Founder of Virtual Valley, a platform that connects Entrepreneurs and Rockstar Virtual Assistants with the mission of giving Entrepreneurs back 1 million hours of their time by 2018. Tom writes about how to grow your virtual business on the Virtual Valley Blog and gives free one on one marketing advice to everyone that signs up here:

Nader Qudimat
Forged by the iron and cold steel, Nader takes his knowledge and hulk smashes it into his bodybuilding blog, FitFrek.

He is Stuart's right hand man as a VA, and is dedicated to make a empire online and he's doing so while studying for his MBA.
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Comments (7)

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  1. NicheHacks says:

    A fantastic guest post Tom. Really happy to publish this one here. Looking forward to putting your strategy into effect too.

    Thanks for the effort.

  2. Tom says:

    Thanks Stuart, I look forward to reading and sharing the result 😉


  3. Richard U. says:

    What a great post Tom and thanks Stuart for making it happen here.

    Never thought deeply of these techniques before but thanks for this post i can shape things within towards the right direction.

    Great effort guys and i like the attention to details.

    Richard U.

    • Tom says:

      Thanks Richard!

      Feel free to pop any questions in here when you write your own BEAST of a post 😉

      Have an awesome start to 2016!


  4. wow what a nice post you really somthing important hear thank you i think i will implement it on

  5. That's a great post, and it reinforced some of the strategies that I was using for my blog post. I recently started my blog and published my first post and applied some of the strategies that I learnt on NicheHacks previous post on how to get shares. I got more than 2k shares on my first post here:

    The share bar shows 1.5k shares because its not showing twitter shares now as Twitter last month stopped showing stats of shares through API.

    I did outreach and promoted it on social media as well as to my list of subscribers.

    Anyways, Tom will you kindly have a look at that blog post and see if I have implemented it well. And if you have any suggestions on how I can improve it? Thanks.

  6. Mo says:

    Excellent post. Focusing more on generating an emotional connection with the reader sounds like a great idea. Thanks for the post. I'll make sure to share the link.