BuzzFeed has dominated lifestyle, beauty, culinary, and entertainment news coverage among younger internet users for years now, and the entertainment giant also publishes long-form features with a more serious tone. Given its popularity, many writers will have wondered — what do BuzzFeed writers make, and how do you become one?
- 1 Average Salary for BuzzFeed Writers (based on experience and education)
- 2 Top Paying States
- 3 Job Outlook
- 4 What Exactly Does a BuzzFeed Writer Do?
- 5 How to Become a BuzzFeed Writer?
- 6 Qualifications to Be a BuzzFeed Writer
- 7 Skills to Be a BuzzFeed Writer
- 8 Can You Be a BuzzFeed Writer Without a Degree?
Average Salary for BuzzFeed Writers (based on experience and education)
Some salary-tracking platforms are willing to offer their estimates about the annual salary a BuzzFeed writer earns per year. Let’s take a look:
- Glassdoor indicates that staff writers working at BuzzFeed make, on average, $53,783 per year. They additionally report that ranges between $40,352 and $86,787 are common. Glassdoor is, however, very upfront about the fact that this data is based on information supplied by 13 employees, which is a rather small sample size.
- PayScale takes a different approach in saying that the average BuzzFeed employee makes $72,000 per year. For writers specifically, the platform’s data suggests that the salary range falls between $35,000 and $62,000 on an annual basis.
BuzzFeed itself does not, in its vacancies, offer salary ranges that would enable us to get a closer look. BuzzFeed staff writers have, however, unionized under the NewsGuild of New York, which also represents journalists in many other famous publications. In doing so, the workforce voiced concerns over recent layoffs as well as complaints about low pay.
We can compare these estimates to data offered by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Writers and authors of all types across the United States earn, according to this official information, a median wage of $67,120 per year. Those writers and authors who earn salaries in the bottom 10 percent bring home less than $34,000 per year, the BLS says, while the top-paid writers can make over $133,460.
While we cannot reliably claim that BuzzFeed writers will also typically fall into these ranges, this information does offer applicants a starting point as they consider what kind of pay to ask for during negotiations.
What Do BuzzFeed Writers Make Per Hour?
PayScale indicates that the average hourly rate for all BuzzFeed employees — which would include, for instance, producers — amounts to $30.65. Based on their data, writers at the entertainment giant tend to earn less than that.
According to the BLS, meanwhile, the median hourly rate for all writers and authors is currently $32.27 per hour. While factoring in your experience and education, you could compare this to any offers you may receive.
Some estimates further indicate that freelancers, who are very much welcome to pitch their ideas to BuzzFeed, are paid approximately 0.25 per word for long-form articles accepted by the company.
Salary Based on Experience
While the average annual salary of a BuzzFeed writer is unclear, as no reliable data is available to attest to this, it is useful to note that most job openings for writers at BuzzFeed, including those that would be considered entry-level, explicitly ask for either “previous experience” without specifying how much, or for at least two to four years of experience as a writer, blogger, reporter, or a similar field.
Examining what previous BuzzFeed employees, who have subsequently left the company to start their own businesses, say, it is likely that a staff writer’s base salary will increase as they gain experience at the company. Bonuses based on the virality of the content a writer working at BuzzFeed creates also appear to be common practice.
Salary Based on Education
Again, this is unclear, unfortunately.
Taking a closer look at current and past job openings for staff writers at BuzzFeed, on the other hand, it is interesting to note that the company does not explicitly ask only for applicants who have a college degree, and that also means that BuzzFeed does not require their applicants to hold specific types of degrees.
What BuzzFeed does want to see is a strong portfolio. An applicant’s portfolio should demonstrate their talent, creativity, and experience as a writer. Those who have that — and particularly strong candidates who already have a massive social media following of their own before they come to BuzzFeed — are likely to have a good chance of landing a job at BuzzFeed.
Although holding a Bachelor’s degree in a highly relevant field like marketing, communications, or journalism is likely to increase an applicant’s odds of getting a job at BuzzFeed, it is impossible to say how your qualifications impact your earning potential.
Top Paying States
BuzzFeed’s offices are based in New York and Los Angeles, meaning that New York and California are also the highest paying states for BuzFeed writers. The company is extending its remote work protocols, however, and actively inviting people in a variety of other states to apply for its openings as well.
Despite this fact, BuzzFeed does aim to return to on-site work for its staff writers in the future, and therefore, being based in either New York or Los Angeles will offer distinct advantages.
The outlook for BuzzFeed staff writers is unclear. The BuzzFeed News Union is currently bargaining for rights that include paid time off, a retirement plan, and affordable health insurance, as well as “reasonable” severance pay after layoffs. This itself indicates a significant amount of turbulence.
At the same time, those writers who have experience working for such a well-known and large-scale news operation will undoubtedly be able to reap the benefits of spending time working for this platform. In other words, some BuzzFeed writers may stay with BuzzFeed for the long haul, building their careers there. Others will move on later, in which case the skills they learn while working at BuzzFeed, combined with the high-publicity experience, are likely to improve their future career outlook.
What Exactly Does a BuzzFeed Writer Do?
BuzzFeed writers work at many different desks. While their precise duties are going to vary, all will be committed to producing high-quality content written in the platform’s characteristically casual and modern voice.
A BuzzFeed writer may:
- Research fascinating story ideas, considering whether the idea they are working on has a potential to go viral. This includes monitoring social media networks for up and coming trends and challenges.
- Cover emerging news stories.
- Write and edit stories to perfection, ensuring that the content appeals to BuzzFeed’s younger audience of “netizens”.
- Keep SEO in mind while writing stories, as superb Search Engine Optimization skills offer a higher chance that the articles a BuzzFeed staff writer crafts reach a very broad audience.
All available information indicates that BuzzFeed staff writers have a lot of creative autonomy, meaning that within their specific niche, they are very likely to be able to explore the precise topics and stories that they themselves are passionate about. BuzzFeed staff writers will still communicate and brainstorm with more senior members of the editorial team, however.
How to Become a BuzzFeed Writer?
Aspiring young writers who would love to work for a giant like BuzzFeed can begin honing their creative writing and journalistic skills even in high school, while simultaneously working to improve their SEO knowledge and skills, and learning how to attract followers on social media.
Working toward a degree in a field such as journalism, English, communications, or marketing can only serve aspiring BuzzFeed writers well. Having your own wildly popular blog or YouTube channel, geared toward an audience of Millennials and Gen Z-ers, is certainly going to help anyone get a job at BuzzFeed — you may even be invited to work there!
The other, more traditional, option is to simply monitor BuzzFeed’s job openings, knowing that a writer in your precise niche will soon be in demand.
Qualifications to Be a BuzzFeed Writer
While BuzzFeed itself does not state any official policies on the matter, possessing a Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field is likely to make you a more appealing candidate. Journalism, marketing, communications, creative writing, and English can all be good choices.
BuzzFeed, however, highly values informal “qualifications”.
Do you understand what makes content go viral? Do you have a proven knack for writing killer headlines that please readers as well as the algorithm? Do you have the magic touch when it comes to social media? Do you have the right kind of experience?
These qualities appear to be even more important than holding a relevant degree.
Skills to Be a BuzzFeed Writer
BuzzFeed writers will thrive if they:
- Possess strong creative writing skills, and write in a tone that appeals to a younger audience.
- Can relentlessly pursue a story, until it goes viral.
- Are happy to work largely independently.
- Work well under pressure and enjoy multitasking.
- Understand Search Engine Optimization extremely well.
- Are proficient “natives” of all the latest social media and software platforms.
Can You Be a BuzzFeed Writer Without a Degree?
BuzzFeed does not require their writers to hold a degree. Having a degree will likely help, nonetheless, but this is one company at which solid experience can be an excellent substitute for formal education.