BuzzFeed Valentine Project

BuzzFeed Valentine

This project helps students learn how to “hypertarget” a desired market segment by publishing and promoting clickbait on BuzzFeed during the week leading up to Valentine’s Day (works fine with other holidays or none at all). Students are required to reach 1,000 views for max credit.

Materials:

BuzzFeed Valentine Assignment Sheet and Rubric
BuzzFeed Valentine Teaching Note (Instructor Overview)

Tips:

  • Feel free to use, modify, or adapt the assignment sheet and rubric for your own use. If you do run this in your class, I’d love to hear how it went!
  • Try it out yourself. You’ll be much more comfortable in helping students through the mechanics of publishing and it’s really not hard. Here’s an official guide on how to publish on BuzzFeed. Here’s the BuzzFeed masterpiece I wrote and promoted  before making my class do it. If I can get 50K views in a few days, anyone can.
  • Remember that for every student that gets a job offer, recruits a big influencer during promotion outreach, or goes viral on the BuzzFeed homepage, there will be plenty that do just OK. But tell your students to shoot for the moon and some of them will hit it. The important part is that students experience marketing for themselves and internalize lessons from their own personal case studies. The one thing we see repeatedly in this assignment is students only promoting their content to friends and family. Students who do well and have great experiences generally try out multiple promotion channels.
  • One caution: Students get desperate near the end if they haven’t met their traffic goal. This can result in behaviors that give student, instructor, and marketing profession a bad name. Spamming celebrities, mass e-mailing contacts, etc. Communicate up front that “desperation marketing” comes with a major social capital cost. (You may want to give this an “grade cost” as well)

Press:

“Students Were Forced to Write BuzzFeed Click-bait For Grades. What Happened Next Will Rock Your World!” (My write-up on Mark Schaefer’s {Grow} blog)
Professors Assign Students to Post to BuzzFeed. You’ll Never Believe What Happens Next. (Chronicle of Higher Education)
Generating Buzz, One Viral Post at a Time (Jeff Larson at Brigham Young University, p.9)
Students Take Academics to BuzzFeed (Christy Ashley at University of Rhode Island)
Content Marketing Experiential Learning Project (Emory Serviss at Auburn University)
Student’s Valentines Day BuzzFeed Post Goes Viral (Adam Peruta at Syracuse University)
Honing ‘the power of the Internet’ (Rebecca Dingus at Central Michigan University)
What Happens When Students Write For BuzzFeed For A Class Project? (Matt Kushin at Shepherd University)

Presentation: