We are very excited to launch a new series that introduces our readers to established professionals on what it’s like--and what it takes--to enter their field. We hope to offer a glimpse into different industries that you might be interested in! Today we are hearing from Samantha Wieder, a writer for the shopping vertical at BuzzFeed, where she utilizes her love of pop culture and social media in creating quizzes, lists and other forms of engaging content for a wide audience. She enjoys spending her free time roaming the aisles of Trader Joe’s, going to concerts, drinking iced coffee and checking social media eight million times a day. You can connect with her on Twitter at @SamanthaAWieder or Instagram at @sam_wieder.
Name: Samantha Wieder
Industry: Journalism/Communications Media
Job title: Writer at BuzzFeed
College/University: Binghamton University (class of 2016)
In a few sentences, please tell us what you do and what your job involves:
I’m a writer at BuzzFeed for the shopping vertical. My position entails creating all sorts of product-related content such as lists, quizzes and trending articles on any cool product or shopping trends, so we can share interesting product finds that our readers will want to buy.
What is something you wish you knew about your industry before you entered it?
Prior to entering this field, I had always heard so much about how media is constantly changing, but I really had to see it to believe it - and it’s so true. What’s popular one day can be forgotten about the next. It’s so important to be able to adapt to change quickly in this industry in order to keep up with the rapid pace.
What has surprised you about your industry?
Going off of what I said above, just how quickly things can change. In my specific position, it’s interesting to see what kinds of products and stores our readers love from week to week, or even day to day. Sometimes our readers will love a certain trend or product one week, and the next, we are moving onto the next best thing.
What does an average morning look like for you?
A typical workday at BuzzFeed begins at 10 a.m., but I like arriving to my office a little earlier so that I have time to get settled and plan for the day ahead. I use the morning to plan which posts I’m going to write based on order of importance/timing. I also use that time to pitch new content ideas to my manager, because I often find myself thinking of my best ideas during my morning commute.
What does an average afternoon look like for you?
On an average afternoon I can usually be found in some sort of team meeting or a brainstorm, but when I’m not in a meeting, I can be found working writing or working on edits on my articles. I’m also constantly going through e-mails from PR contacts regarding new product launches.
What are some of your favorite parts of your job and what are some of your not-so-favorite parts?
I love my job, so I can’t say I have a “not-so-favorite" part, but I would say that the most challenging part of my job is the guesswork that goes into trying to figure out which products and brands will be a hit with our audience and which ones they won’t care about - but at the same time, that can be fun! One of my favorite parts of my job is having team brainstorms. We usually incorporate some sort of fun game or exercise that encourages team bonding while helping us all think of fun, new content ideas.
What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
By far the best career advice I’ve ever received and always try to pass on to people is to have a “say yes" attitude, especially when starting your career. By being the person who’s willing to take on new projects, assist co-workers with various assignments and just remain available to help out as much as you can, you make yourself an extremely valuable and reliable asset.
What is your advice to a student who is interested in entering the industry you work in?
Experience! Whether it be through internships, extracurricular activities, or coursework, having hands-on experience in the industry is so important to have on your resume. Plus, media is a pretty broad field and there are so many different paths you can go down in media, so gaining hands on experience is a great way to narrow down which aspects of working in media you like most or least.
What are your favorite business tools/resources and why?
Well, with my job in particular, I really value tools that allow content creators to see how their content is performing in terms of social media engagement, clicks, on my team we look at how well certain products and brands sell, which helps us to identify the kind of content our audience likes so we can continue making that kind of content or test out new ideas.