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Young People Read News Content, But They're Finding It Differently

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It's a trend we've been hearing about for years now: young people are paying attention to the news less and less. This isn't really surprising, as interest in print media and television news programs have been dwindling for decades.

So, if you're trying to attract young people to your website using content, are you forced to find a way to make a "boring" niche more entertaining? Should you even resort to mindless but popular listicles à la Buzzfeed? Not necessarily - according to a new survey, news content is actually more popular with millenials than previously thought.

Millenials Get News Content On Social Media Many Times a Day

The new study was conducted by the Media Insight Project as part of a collaboration with the Associated Press-NORD Center for Public Affairs Research and the American Press Institute. Researchers gathered information on the news consumption habits of people between the ages of 18 and 34 using in-depth interviews as well as a national survey. Their findings indicate that young people are not avoiding current events; instead, they're actively engaged with news content through social media quite often. Here are some statistics from the survey:

  • 88 percent of millenials get news from Facebook on a regular basis
  • 85 percent of millenials say that keeping up with the news is at least "somewhat important" to them
  • 69 percent of millenials read news content every day
  • 45 percent of millenials follow at least five "hard news" topics on social media
  • 40 percent of millenials spend money for at least one news subscription, app or other news content service

Almost everyone surveyed said they both actively sought out news content and let news come to them through social feeds. And it's not just through Facebook, either - 83 percent of millenials get news from YouTube, and 50 percent get news from Instagram. Also, it was found that millenials are more likely to follow technology, politics, social issues and crime, rather than pop culture, fashion or celebrities. This is in direct opposition to the often celebrity-related, clickbait-style articles that are promoted enough on social media or content syndication platforms to seem like they're the most popular content on the internet.

Content Marketers Can Use News Content

This study smashes the prevailing thought that entertainment-based content is the best way to attract the all-important 18-30 demographic. It suggests that young people should not necessarily be underestimated as being uninformed, largely self-centered, and disconnected from the news. While entertaining content certainly does work, it's not the only strategy that will get results when using content to boost traffic.

At the same time, marketers must ensure that their news content gets in front of millenials in the first place. Obviously, social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram are the top choices for visibility, but staying creative and trying out different channels such as Reddit or Snapchat may also prove useful in the future. Perhaps one of the biggest challenges for having success with news content involves being one of the first places to publish a story. Up-to-the-minute content is becoming increasingly necessary as the amount of news content being published keeps going up and readers have more and more options.

T. J. Anderson

Posted on 17th March, 2015 by T. J. Anderson

About T. J. Anderson

T.J. is a Chicago-based content editor and writer, as well as an SEO and marketing specialist.

View all posts by T. J. Anderson

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