Buzzmedia, the parent company to a host of buzz-worthy websites, pitches itself as the web leader in pop culture and millennial audience reach.
The company boasts 100 million monthly unique visitors to category-leading websites including Buzznet, Celebuzz, AbsolutePunk, GoFugYourself, JustJared, Stereogum, TheSuperficial, WWTDD, SocialiteLife, Idolator, PureVolume plus celebrity sites for Kim Kardashian, Whitney Port, and Kimora Lee Simmons.
Collectively, its stable of digital brands reaches more than 25 million pop culture enthusiasts monthly, with site visitors having grown 50% between March 2010/2011, and overall, is ranked #1 among comScore’s top 100 sites in composition index against P18-34.
We spoke with CEO, Tyler Goldman, who oversees about 200 employees in New York, San Francisco, Chicago and home-base Los Angeles. Goldman has earned his stripes as a digital publisher and entrepreneur, and has a net worth of $20 million to show it.
Goldman defines Buzzmedia's brand personality as “dynamic, entrepreneurial and disruptive,” and his audience as “digital, passionate, and obsessive.” Although the skew is slightly female, he says that digital has equalized the sexes in consumption of pop culture. While magazines like People may not fit comfortably in a college age guy’s hands, or a serious music magazine might not attract a female reader, both sexes heartily consume pop culture content when splayed intelligently in deep topic-dependent verticals.
“The formula that’s worked for us,” says Goldman, “is original hot topics, a large investment on the content side, and recognizing the very nature of the online environment as highly social to start with – it’s not new, not created by Facebook or Twitter, it started with e-mail.”
And Millennials, being digital natives, always want more. “Our average user spends 5-6 minutes per visit on the site, but comes back multiple times a day. They want more than snack-sized bytes of content. Search is the poor man’s program; our users want an immersive experience and they have the media time to invest. We offer mindshare as opposed to search.”
Goldman references research that says the average person peruses six sites daily, Facebook plus five others, of which his brand is one. “You have to engage the user first, and then you can influence them. Millennials are rabid buyers and the voices of our site, by owning their topics, can deliver marketing messages that engage and influence.”
Buzzmedia properties offer brand advertisers unique access to impassioned users through a blend of editorial, expert opinion, UGC and custom marketing solutions.
“We super-serve our audience and our advertisers,” says Goldman. “Our buzz comes out of personal passion topics and the challenge is to create brand marketing messages in a non-linear world, campaigns that are more contextual.”
And that challenge, Goldman admits, is harder than he expected. “Digital is so flexible, made of malleable material, we don’t know really know yet what temperature to set the kiln to.” His employees are divided into editorial for each property, with a backend publishing team for sales and audience platforms. Goldman sees his main competition as Yahoo! and Facebook.
Under cover of night, Goldman is a LinkedIn junkie. His profile is voluminous, with more than 200 interests listed.
Asked by Bloomberg Businessweek about the most overlooked attributes of LinkedIn, Goldman replied: “Crowdsourcing and targeting. I spend a lot of time on the site asking questions because I believe crowdsourcing works when you start with a huge pool of candidates, which LinkedIn has.
“I witnessed that through my participation in a Meat Innovation group when I nominated a legendary Texan cattle rancher for the Meat [Industry] Hall of Fame. A wild, wide-ranging debate resulted, which made me realize that successful crowdsourcing occurs when you engage multiple layers of perspective and expertise in a single context. In a funny way, the techniques I honed on meat innovation informed my work with Kim Kardashian.”