How Gen - Z consumes News

Learn how you can curate content for the younger generation
How Gen - Z consumes News

Born between the mid-1990s and up to 2015, we have an entire generation that was raised on high-speed internet connection and has spent most of their time with social media and smart technology. Unlike older generations who have had to adapt to these devices, migrating to new digital spaces or new tech formats is natural to Gen-Z. And the brands are expected to be able to follow the same.

Finding the right angle in digital journalism often means finding the appropriate user need to satisfy with your story

Dmitry Shishkin, WAN IFRA 2021

As publishers witness more digital reading habits from netizens around the world, it is important to segment their audience base. This would mean creating content strategies that speak to each level of the audience. While some age groups might appreciate more visual consumption, some others might like hard facts. How do you balance this need for news?


As Gen - Z is growing to be a larger consumer circle, it’s time we rethink our content approach. With a crowd that is both tech-savvy and critical of mainstream channels, the thread is thin.

Challenges with Gen-Z

This set of your audience spends quite some time on their smart devices and more often, have access to more than a single smart device. With extreme adaptability to trends and upgrades, comes an increased level of awareness with options and choices in the larger market. This would mean that while it would be hard to get loyal readers, it wouldn’t be hard to reach this part of the audience. So how do you approach Gen - Z?

Over 90% of Gen-Z is ready to pay for the content they consume.
Vice media stated in a report in 2020

What changed?

With the overpowering growth of Tiktok across the globe, it’s safe to say that the content consumption patterns have changed quite a lot. With more active participation on the digital platforms, there has been a need for new and effective content strategies. Digital media has been growing steadily in relevance in these past years. The pandemic has only accelerated this shift. But if we’re looking specifically into the Gen-Z, there are certain observations that can be made.

They are Tech Enthusiasts

Being a generation that has been at the center of the evolution of smart devices, the Gen-Z has been open to technological advancements. They’re quick to try new trends, apps, content formats, and content. This means that as a creator, you don’t have to worry about them being able to catch up. They’re already pacing with you.

Social media as the source of news

We already know that digital content is consumed through social media however, with this particular target audience, social media is especially important. In a survey conducted by Statista in May 2021, gen-z most frequently get their news from social media.


This indicates the importance of having a social presence for media outlets. It helps readers find their content and then gradually build brand awareness and loyalty.

They may not be our direct target audience but it’s crucial to take the time to think about how they consume media. Gen Z loves content on all levels and wants to engage.
Haywood Brandon, Account Manager, The Brandon Agency.

They have Content Demands


Gen-Z has been inclined to content that is more pragmatic and personal. Media houses like Vice are creating content that is inviting for the audience - there’s a separate section dedicated to Gen-Z. Vice also carries intriguing social media stories that are relevant to the crowd - stories around identity, sexuality, personal growth, cultural stories, etc.

As a crowd that has access to quality content, Gen-Z has kept its standards high. While this crowd is more open to subscriptions they also have high standards for the content they consume.

Tips for publishers to interact with the Gen-Z

1. Keep it to the point

With quicker swipes and shorter videos, the need for “preciseness” could not be more obvious. This crowd consumes information on the go. Unless you have a story that needs a great amount of information, having quick ‘bite-sized’ content can be transformative. Keep the content to the point and allow effective interactions with your readers.

2. Be unpredictable

Don’t be a cliche. Keep your readers on their toes. This means sending on the right push notifications, having interactive stories, and coming up with narratives that aren’t predictable. Gone are the days when people read the story because of a flamboyant headline. You need to find an angle that works for the crowd.

3. Relatability is Key

This is one of the most important elements for consumption. When you are focusing on a generation that is given to pragmatic and realistic conversations, you need to let your authenticity shine through relevance. Tell them stories about things that affect them, or find an angle that translates that. Your content needs to be relatable for them to want to interact with it.


4. Interact with them

Gen-Z spends a lot of time on the internet. This means that you have a great shot at building a brand image. The crowd participates actively on social platforms. As a brand, you need to stand for something. This could be as simple as “voice of the voiceless” which is the soul of the press - but does that show in your messaging?

You can create a platform where you act as the source of information and your readers interact with your content to drive engagement like never before.

Conclusion

As the Gen-Z steer through pandemic and familiarize themselves with the internet, it is important for you as a publisher to use this opportunity. Move with the crowd and make use of the platforms where conversations are encouraged. This gives you better reach, feedback, and most importantly better readership. It's time publishers focused on curating digital-first content for a digital-first reader base.

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