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    11 Steps To Teaching A Class At BuzzFeed That're So Easy, A Baby Could Do It

    But babies don't do it because we have an age requirement for employment at BuzzFeed. So you, brilliant human, are the next best thing.

    Matt Ortile / BuzzFeed

    So you want to lead a class for BuzzFeed editorial? Incredible! The following steps will walk you through what you need to get started.


    As a guiding example, we'll use this awesome class and post lead and produced by one of our old Health editors Carolyn Kylstra. It's about how to write really good headlines.

    Let's begin!

    1. First, inform the Editorial Training Team that you want to lead a class.


    Because we can help! We can prep you to teach a class, connect you with other experts, get the class on the calendar, and wrangles students who need to come. Just fill out this form and we'll be there for you every step of the way.

    2. Pin down the "What's In It For Me" — the WIIFM is the class's objective or the lesson to be learned for the students.

    Young Money / BuzzFeed

    The WIIFM is the primary takeaway of the class, workshop, or presentation you're leading. It helps to write it out in an active voice, like, "Students will be able to write emotionally compelling headlines that readers will click on, share, and remember."

    This format of WIIFM/objective is also helpful for classes that are hands-on, or deliver multiple concrete skills, like "after this class, you will be able to make GIFs from videos you find online using GIFBrewery" or "after this class, you will be able to do XYZ in Photoshop."

    It's important to have this in mind because it helps frame the format of the class. Think of the WIIFM in terms of a headline on a BuzzFeed post: it promises a particular kind of content, it doesn't over- or under-promise, and it's direct, simple, and applicable.


    "Here's How To Make A Recipe Round-Up Post"

    "18 Insanely Clever Tips For Writing Headlines That’ll Make People Feel Things"

    "Little Ways You Can Get Your Life Under Control"

    "11 Steps To Teaching A Class At BuzzFeed That’re So Easy, A Baby Could Do It"

    3. Now that you have the WIIFM, consider the best possible way to deliver that WIIFM.

    Warner Bros.

    There are plenty of ways to host a class, but it's best to match a subject with its most effective method. You're not gonna learn Defense Against the Dark Arts by reading a dull book, will you?

    Consider how the WIIFM you're teaching will be used. For example, headline-writing best practices are something you want to discuss in person, but will want to return to in the future. So Carolyn taught this headline class alongside a BuzzFeed post-style guide that she wrote. That way, the lessons are formatted as actual serviceable takeaways. AND people have something to hold on to and bookmark!


    • Is it a hands-on skill like gif-making? Matt Ortile teaches this class by having attendees bring their laptops and walks them through creating a gif on GIFBrewery step by step.

    • Is it about how to stick to the BuzzFeed Style Guide? Emmy Favilla often hands out a quiz on common copy mistakes and, afterwards, hands out the answer key and rewards those with highest scores.

    4. In preparation for the class, you should definitely create a ~*class guide*~ to also help frame the lesson.

    Think of this as a book for a university class: something you can use to teach in class, something students can use to review, and something that can be passed around and translated to global bureaus. You probably didn't do the last one in college, but hey.

    The key is that it's a learning someTHING. It should explain the how, the why, and provide examples of successful things to do (and maybe even unsuccessful things not to do). In short: An Ideal Learning Thing should speak for itself. It can take many forms, so reach out to us at and we'll help you figure out the best way to put your knowledge to digital paper.


    A living Google doc on BuzzFeed Food best practices.

    Some slides on productivity hacks.

    A recording of a seminar/talk.

    • A BuzzFeed post that has its lessons clearly laid out like this one on design or this very post you're reading.

    5. If you want to practice teaching or speaking in public, test out your class with us!


    Totally optional, but pros and newbies alike can get frazzled in front of other people — especially when there's more interest in their classes than anticipated. This is good! It means people wanna learn from you and you care about their learning! Just let us know at that you want to do a dry-run or rehearsal of your class with us. We don't judge. :)

    6. Get the class on the calendars and have the Editorial Training Team send out invitations.

    Matt Ortile / BuzzFeed

    We'll be the ones taking care of this part. How it works: we'll book a conference room for 30 minutes or an hour, depending on the class. We'll put it on our Editorial Classes and Events calendar (accessible to the public) and invite you as a teacher, so you have it on your calendar and you know it's happening.

    7. Technology is hard, so please set up troublesome things like BlueJeans or linking your computer in the room BEFORE the class time.

    If you're particularly challenged with tech, it's a wise idea to go into the room and set up your class guide/presentation/BlueJeans before the class — say, 10 minutes before class starts — so we don't keep people waiting and waste time. If they're available in your office, you can email with a subject line like "Need help setting up a meeting," with the time and place of the class in the body of the email, and they can help you set up.

    8. Here are some tips on leading a class and presenting in front of an audience.

    Comedy Central

    A few tips on speaking in front of an audience of your peers:

    • They're your peers! Don't be scared. Chat as though we're all at a lunch table in the canteen and everyone just so happens to be listening to you.

    • Stand in front of the room! We're here to learn from you; no need to feel awkward about being a teacher. It also helps you stay energized and focused, rather than drifting away in your rolling chair.

    • Pretend this is the first time people are hearing all this. Even if you feel like there are experts in the room, pretend we're three years old. This helps people who are trying to catch up on the basics as well as those trying to brush up on them.

    • Try to punctuate your class with action questions (questions that won't yield just 'yes/no'): "What would you like me to go over?" "What are the things you've had trouble with in the past?" "How do you think this process could be more simple?"

    • It's OK to not know everything! If someone asks a question and you're not sure of the answer, you can say, "Great question. I'm not sure, actually. You and I should figure that out after the class." It turns into a teachable moment for you and the smart person who asked a great question.

    • Fake it 'til you make it! Think about your favorite professor from school. What would they do? What were the best things that they did that you loved? Now's your chance to do the same!

    9. Send out a form with our help! We can ask the students what they loved, what can be improved, and what topics can be discussed in the future.

    New Line Cinema

    ^^ That's us asking our class attendees about the lesson after it's over. (BUT IT'S NEVER OVER.)

    Again, this step will be mostly on our end, but we'll need your help as well! You, being the expert on the class topic, will be the one who knows the WIIFM best. We'll work with you to create a short survey about how well the class went over and how we can do even better in the future.

    10. Once you have enough survey results back, debrief on the class with the Editorial Training Team.

    We'll help you take the feedback we've received and find scalable ways to apply them to future classes. If a class wasn't a total hit at first, don't worry! Practice makes perfect. If people loved it as it was, maybe we should consider sending you on a (digital/virtual) tour!

    11. Do it again! And maybe even collaborate with new leaders!


    Once we've found ways to make a class even better, you should definitely teach it again. People always need refreshers — and people often like taking 30 minutes to just bask in the genius of their co-workers. And really, leading classes will assist you in thinking more critically and constructively about the nature of your own workflow and projects.

    And if staffers in your office or other offices really take to the material, we should move forward all together and maybe help that person lead their own classes! That way you won't be the only one teaching CMS training lol.

    TL;DR: You're a brilliant human for wanting to teach a class on ~How To BuzzFeed~(TM). And we're here to help you through the teaching process every step of the way.

    Just email to get in touch with us!

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