Video: Why we write ‘buzz’ blogs

Video: Why we write ‘buzz’ blogs

A key part of our is the ‘buzz’ blog. Here we explain what they are, why they’re important, and how we make them.

What is a ‘buzz’ blog?

It’s a short article based around a fact, a set of statistics or a piece of news. They are generally less than 500 words, and include one or more charts. One of the charts will then be used as the ‘shareable’ on social media – a shareable is an attention grabbing graphic.

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Why do we create them?

Buzz are designed to generate interest and stand out on social media. This drives to a website, where a user can then explore the site more broadly. We’re all familiar with the examples of i100, Buzzfeed or Vox in the US. This is similar to what we aim to achieve.

How do we make them?

The whole process starts with research. The success of any buzz blog is the idea behind it. Twitter is a major source – I have a list of report/statistics/research publishers who I can scroll through to see what’s new and interesting. Alternatively, a flick through the news can provide inspiration for any articles with a news angle.

Inspiration can then come from many sources. It could be a whole report, which will need mining for potentially multiple ideas. It could be something as simple as an existing chart or graphic, which we can research around.

From here we’ll look for the interesting angle. What are these statistics telling me? Is there anything unexpected? Are they challenging my perceptions? These thoughts will then form the basis of the headline. This is vital, because it’s the major social media grab, along with the shareable.

Then it’s a case of writing the piece and making the chart – if we’re building in-house. For the writing we try and follow a journalistic approach, but consideration about crediting sources and explaining the methodology do have to be remembered. For the charts, Microsoft Excel and Photoshop allow us to put together simple graphics.


This is a longer more involved piece. Based around a news item – President Barack Obama’s executive action on gun ownership – it contains multiple charts and sub-headings. It addresses a challenge and deals with the question of gun ownership around.


This is a shorter piece based around just one graphic – a cartogram with countries scaled to the size of their population. It was an effective piece because it challenges your perception and make you think about something familiar in a different way.



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