Representation is important as young people want content made for them by them, said Edwin Madu, editor-in-chief of youth culture digital publication Zikoko. The seasoned journalist was speaking at Jamfest Africa 2021 during a fireside chat about the Nigerian publication’s growth story.

Zikoko prides itself on being the ‘amplifier of the voice of the African youth’, a social platform that creates and curates smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.

Madu said Zikoko modeled itself on the wildly popular American website Buzzfeed. But the goal when launching Zikoko was to give a voice to young people and doing so with a dash of humour that Africans can relate to.

It is a strategy that has paid off for the publication, with a reach of 5-million users monthly across all their platforms.

These were some of the key takeaways:

Meet people where they are. Create a community, which feels like a safe space for people to go to regularly. Create a tribe and make them feel like they are part of a tribe

  • To reach a young audience you need to know what people are interested in. Zikoko targets millennials and Gen Z who enjoy meme culture.
  • Young audiences do not want to read long articles so keep your content short, easy to read, and jargon-free.
  • Write in a way that someone will be able to easily retell to their friends.
  • Have younger people creating the content. They will write what they know.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment with content. This will show you what your audience wants and what it doesn’t want because things are constantly changing.
  • Reach people where they are by playing around with memes, videos, podcasts.
  • Use stock images that represent your audience.
  • Zikoko has not been afraid to have impactful conversations which helped it to stand out from competitors.
  • Look at your social media presence as part of your website. People won’t always go to your website but you can pull them there through social media channels.
  • Before charging people for content, you need to prove that your content is useful enough for people to pay for it.
  • Create a community that people want to come back to regularly.

Have a look at other sessions from Jamfest Africa 2021 here.

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