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Executive Report - By Thomas Baekdal - May 2018

How Publishers Can Focus on Young People

A common topic of discussion for publishers is young people and what we need to do to create content that they might like. The outcome is almost always a hilariously wrong approach to reaching young people.

So in this 26-page Plus article, let's take a closer look at the younger generation, and talk about some of the things publishers do wrong, and some things that work. But mostly, let's talk about the overall trends and patterns that define the younger demographic.

Let's start by changing some overall assumptions.

Please note: In this article, I will be massively generalizing the difference between young and old. I'm not doing this to stereotype, but to better help you understand some of the overall patterns. Obviously, you can't just divide people by age. There are old people who behave like young people, and there are young people who behave like old people.

In fact, one of the first things you learn in fashion (where I started my career before moving into media) is that age is not about how old people are, but instead how old people want to feel.

If you, for instance, design a fashion line for 'young women in their early 20s', the people who actually end up buying it are either teenagers who want to feel older, or people in their 30s who want to feel younger, but the people who are actually in their early 20s are probably buying something else.

So don't think about age as a number. And please keep this in mind when you read this article.

But now let's talk about what defines the younger generation.

Our overall approach to young people is to focus on what we (as old people) want

One of the fundamental problems with how the media is talking about young people is that we are too focused on platforms or formats, rather than on what young people actually want.

For instance, we see how publishers start a newspaper for young people by putting it on Facebook, or by creating a channel on Snapchat.

Similarly, publishers are way too focused on the wrong type of moment. Instead of creating a moment of value, we create moments of shallow interactions.

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What is Baekdal?

Baekdal is a magazine for media professionals, focusing on media analysis, trends, patterns, strategy, journalistic focus, and newsroom optimization. Since 2010, it has helped publishers in more than 40 countries, including big and small publishers like Condé Nast, Bonnier, Schibsted, NRC, and others, as well as companies like Google and Microsoft.

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Thomas Baekdal

Founder, media analyst, author, and publisher. Follow on Twitter

"Thomas Baekdal is one of Scandinavia's most sought-after experts in the digitization of media companies. He has made ​​himself known for his analysis of how digitization has changed the way we consume media."
Swedish business magazine, Resumé


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