Intern Diaries: Lauren Bickford @ BuzzFeed

It was my first day of my internship at BuzzFeed. My blue Prius purred as I came to a stop at the Siren Studios lot, one of BuzzFeed’s offices in LA. I squinted as I looked through my car windshield at someone I thought I recognized. It took me a few seconds to process that I was staring at Keith from the Try Guys, and another few seconds to put together that he was coming into work on that Tuesday morning just like any other employee did. Walking into the office I realized that this wasn’t the traditional workplace; a dog sat at the foot of the receptionist’s heels, a jar filled with stickers that had “wtf” and “omg” printed on them rested on top of the desk. After making my way through stages and costume rooms, I made it to the tech-office heaven: the snack room. Refrigerators lined the walls stocked with Talking Rain, coconut waters and sodas. Bins brimming with all the best snack foods filled shelves on the walls, and best of all, a large coffee machine was brewing fresh espressos and lattes.

Lauren Bickford.

Later that day I went to use the restroom and as I walked nervously across the open office space I had to move out of the way to avoid being hit by a man in a gray hoodie walking and texting. It was none other than Jonah Peretti, the founder and CEO of BuzzFeed. He looked up and smiled at me. In the restroom, I ran into Quinta B. one of BuzzFeed’s main video personalities.

To say my first day was shocking and exciting is an understatement. BuzzFeed was so much more than I could have imagined and throughout the summer I would learn just how complex and intriguing this young company was. As a Sales intern for BuzzFeed, and the only college-level intern hired in their LA offices, I had the chance to learn from numerous teams across Sales, Client Services, Research and Creative. Working at BuzzFeed gave me a unique vantage point from which I was able to learn about the digital advertising landscape. Learning about this industry during this inflection point, where traditional advertising was making way for native content, was an invaluable learning experience. I was able to stand in the middle of the digital advertising world and watched as it shifted and changed right before my eyes. At BuzzFeed I learned how to be a creative problem solver, because in order to create content that was worthy of being shared it first had to bring value to the receiver. As an intern I was able to sit in on client calls where teams came together to brainstorm ideas for a new video sponsored by Toyota or for a Tasty video sponsored by Dole. No idea was too far fetched and people were excited to make even the most complex visions come to life.

Since the variety of content BuzzFeed creates is so diverse, I was able to see free-flowing creativity everyday. One of my main projects included researching Tasty’s top competitors and providing insights on how to grow Tasty’s audience. While I could be creative in new strategies, there was always an emphasis on analytics and numbers. I loved seeing how BuzzFeed stacked up against its competitors and was even more intrigued by the number of shares a BuzzFeed article or video had. Why and how people choose to share things is something that still intrigues me to this day.

In all, this summer was one of growth and learning. I learned about digital advertising, about agencies and clients, about pricing structure, business strategy, and research. Through everything I learned, what sticks with me most was the mentorship that I received from those at BuzzFeed. Every single person was generous with their time and genuinely wanted me to get the most out of my summer. I can’t thank my BuzzFeed team enough for all of their generosity and kindness!

-Lauren Bickford, Communication