As the youngest generation, Gen Z is quickly becoming one of the most important demographics for news publishers to attract.
In fact, as seen in the new INMA report, “What Gen Z + Media Need From Each Other”, by 2032 Gen Z will be the primary audience targeted by news publishers. Given their distinctive outlook on life and their adeptness with digital technology, publishers must grasp how to captivate Gen Z, who constitute around 32% of the population and are presently the biggest generation. Here are a few tips on how news publishers can attract Gen Z:
Embrace visual content
As seen in the Digital News Report, over the last 3 years the youngest generation has switched much of its attention to more visual networks like TikTok and Instagram. Publishers should aim to create visually stimulating content that engages their audience and tells the story in a way that appeals to their senses.
Focus on social media
Gen Z uses social media as a main access point to news. With the rise of TikTok in the news ecosystem, now used by 40% of 18-24 year olds, it is important for publishers to have a voice on it and engage and build relationships with this younger demographic, but also to experiment with vertical video storytelling formats.
Personalize the experience
Gen Z values personalized experiences, and this extends to the news they consume. Publishers should look for ways to provide content that is tailored to the interests and preferences of individual readers, such as using AI to offer personalized recommendations.
Here are three successful examples of AI use in publishing:
- Forbes uses an artificially intelligent publishing platform designed specifically for its newsroom, expert contributors, and partners, that among others provides them with real-time trending topics to cover, recommends ways to make headlines more compelling, and suggests relevant imagery.
- The Washington Post has released an in-house automated storytelling technology created for hyperlocal coverage, that can generate entire articles from quantitative data and enable them to cover all Washington, D.C. area high school football games every week.
- Bloomberg uses a solution that helps with content creation and management and is able to generate thousands of articles about company earnings reports at the end of each quarter.
An EY research revealed that 92% of Gen Z value authenticity and transparency, so if a business pretends to be something it's not, they may stop supporting it, leading to a loss of followers and customers. Publishers should aim to be genuine and transparent in their reporting, which will help build trust and loyalty with this audience.
Focusing on subjects such as climate change, racial inequality, healthcare and fact-checking can stimulate interest. However, as seen in the Digital News Report, excessive ‘crisis coverage’ of issues like politics and Covid-19, is one of the leading causes of news avoidance in Gen Z, leading to feelings of being overwhelmed and distrustful. To address this, publishers should strive to present news in a more accessible manner and explore ways to ease the ‘intensity’ of breaking news for their readers.
- Digital News Report 2022: Key takeaways on news consumption
- How publishers are learning to create and distribute news on TikTok
- The changing news habits and attitudes of younger audiences
- How AI & Blockchain are reshaping the publishing industry
- Publishers grapple with younger audiences avoiding the news
- How publishers are building connections with Gen Z and young millennial audiences
- WAN-IFRA: Want to reach younger audiences? Help is likely already working in your newsroom