Originally written for the Utterly Content event blog
Whilst many of us grapple with creating the right content for youth audiences, if there’s one thing the pandemic has highlighted, is that we now have a generation of young people for whom all context has changed – so how do we get it right?
Well, context is everything. There’s nothing worse than a room of Millennials speculating what a Gen Z audience would find engaging based on something they loved back in 2005. Yes, of course we all use our own experiences when creating content, but whilst we may have been our target age once, this does not qualify us for the job alone.
Too often, engaging young people focuses purely on what young people can do for brands and organisations as well as the latest trends and fashions when it comes to channel preferences and content creation. There is so much more to consider.
Prior to the pandemic, there had been an uplift in feelings of loneliness, a decline in mental and physical wellbeing and a growing sense of mistrust of adults taking action on things that mattered most to young people. This was intertwined with a complex mix of political and economic uncertainty that has been part and parcel for many young people’s formative years as well as prospects in education and work as they look ahead.
Not only were these issues more acute for young people living in deprived areas, they were also more prevalent for black, indigenous and people of colour (BIPOC). The pandemic has only magnified these inequalities and heightened some of the issues we were seeing before lockdown began.
There are also other shifts to be conscious of that will inform and perhaps shape a new approach as we emerge from an unlikely 2020 (I’ve avoided the term ‘unprecedented’, you’re welcome…!). Whether it’s the explosion of edutainment content, the breadth in digital channels to keep engaged with friends and family, or examples from brands who’ve experimented over the past 6 months. It’s not a case of going ‘back’.
Whilst the picture can seem bleak when looking at the growing breadth of data surrounding youth audiences and how they’re doing as we live life under the curve, there are also areas of hope and opportunities to better inform our content in order for it to do well for our objectives as well as for young people themselves.
To discover more key themes and ideas for engaging youth audiences, I will be delivering a talk titled ‘Are you down with the kids?’ at Utterly Content Global. You can get 20% off by using my speaker discount code SIWFEPP and you can order your tickets here