BuzzFeed’s latest traffic trick: The ‘social URL’

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Excerpt from this article:

…BuzzFeed has even tapped the humble URL to work harder. The social publisher has discovered that writing original, made-for-sharing URLs can act like a rocket booster for a post.

BuzzFeed stumbled on what it calls the “social URL” by accident. The URL was once created automatically using the first few words of the headline. Several months ago, the publisher created a field in the CMS to allow editorial staffers to tweak the URL in case a word in the URL was cut off, or if they wanted to alter the URL in case the headline changed drastically. It wasn’t long before edit staff started to notice they could play around with the URL, to good traffic effect.

 “It has a bit of an Easter egg quality,” said Jack Shepherd, BuzzFeed’s editorial director. “It’s not something people immediately notice. It’s more fun for the reader, it’s more fun for the writer, and it can often make the post more shareable.”

…There are no guidelines at BuzzFeed for writing social URLs, but there are a few common uses:

Instructional social URL:
Actual headline: 1 Chart That Explains Why People Are Wrong About Venn Diagrams
Social URL: http://www.buzzfeed.com/tomphillips/also-its-pronounced-oiler

The clever-wordplay social URL:
Actual headline: 28 Snapchats From Harry Potter
Social URL: http://www.buzzfeed.com/jarrylee/snapechat

The tabloid headline-style social URL:
Actual headline: This Boston Marathon Survivor Wrote A Breakup Letter To Her Leg Before Amputating It
Social URL: http://www.buzzfeed.com/rachelzarrell/adios-leg

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