In an effort to increase revenue growth and retain relevance, media companies are constantly trying out innovative ways to fill in gaps in engagement. The Washington Post is one such media publication making an effort to grow its readership by appealing to the younger generation. They’ve created a new internal task force called “Next Generation” geared toward increasing their visibility among the youth.
Via a news report from Digiday:
[Next Generation] will be tasked with overseeing new products, partnerships, and initiatives to bring in these readers, said Kat Downs Mulder, managing editor for digital at the publication. This can include new formats, beats or services for the Post’s journalism, like social media and audio platforms or news distributors popular among its target audience.
It’s pretty well known that Millenials and Gen-Z youth tend to prefer short-form audio and video content, so there’s no doubt that insight will guide what these new products look like from The Washington Post.
Most likely, we will see podcasts, educational products and an increased presence from the publication on trendy social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok.
Next Generation will be “expanding visual storytelling and live programming on the platform” on Instagram specifically. And it will “connect with a younger generation of news consumers who may not make daily visits to a homepage.”
One advantage to The Post’s targeting of younger generations will be the potential prevention of misinformation that typically runs rampant on social media sites. Instead, a reputable news publication can grab the attention of users rather than unverified content sources.
And of course, this opens up new subscription opportunities for the company as well.
The Washington Post is just one example of an overall media pivot into the world of visual storytelling to increase engagement and add to a company’s brand story. Audio and video are now the preferred methods of news media consumption and may even be the future of blogging. Platforms like Instagram and TikTok are currently the best places for this to occur.
Whether or not the younger generations take to The Post’s efforts is still to be determined. There may be a more fundamental reason why young readers shy away from the long-form content presented on their homepage. Sentiment toward the fact that billionaire Jeff Bezos bought out the publication back in 2013 may surface questions over media bias.
Still, small and large-budget multimedia publications alike should see The Washington Post’s Next Generation strategy as a sign of what’s to come.