Audience Engagement Digital Publishing Top Stories
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How publishers can gain traction with younger audiences: Case study

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This is an excerpt from our free-to-download report, AI implications on Gen Z Audience Development

Will Media, founded in 2020, has made significant inroads into the Italian media scene, particularly among younger audiences. Its innovative and flexible engagement strategy, broad platform presence, and opinionated but non-prescriptive content have fuelled this success. The platform, which balances data-driven decision-making with active audience participation, aims to remain relevant while providing valuable content in the future.

Will Media provides a great example of how we can gain traction with younger audiences

Understanding the motivations behind Will Media’s inception provides context for its current position in the Italian media market. The founder Tommasi’s explanation of the two-fold motivation behind Will Media’s creation—the desire to disseminate knowledge to non-traditional news readers and a perceived need for businesses to connect with wider audiences—lays the foundation for their unique approach to content creation and distribution.

Regarding audience identification, Tommasi and his team have shown agility and foresight. Instead of defining a fixed demographic to target, they acknowledge their audience as an ever-evolving entity. This perspective has allowed Will Media to successfully bridge generational gaps, enhancing their influence and impact across age groups.

Revolutionising User Engagement Through Platform Selection

Contrary to traditional reliance on company-owned websites, Will Media has pioneered a model that focuses on meeting its audience where they naturally congregate. This consumer-oriented approach exemplifies their commitment to user experience and recognition of shifting patterns in media consumption.

Crafting Content Anchored in Core Values

Will Media’s innovative content strategy is a critical element of its success. They have identified four key themes that reflect their core values: demographic shift, chronological change, climate change awareness, and innovative economic value-creation methods. Their content generation process, a mix of fixed topics and dynamic content that responds to current trends, further augments their appeal to the Gen Z audience.

Will Media distinguishes itself through an editorial approach that is strong in opinions but refrains from prescriptiveness. Tommasi emphasises the importance of creating a space for discussions on critical issues without attempting to dictate the conclusions.

Exploiting Diverse Media Formats for Broader Reach

Will Media has embraced a variety of media formats, each with its unique challenges, as a part of its broader strategy. Their adaptability across different platforms, as Tommasi emphasises, allows them to maintain relevance and resonance with their audience.

Balancing the Role of Data in Content Strategy

Metrics play an important role in shaping Will Media’s strategy. However, Tommasi warns against becoming too data-dependent, emphasising a balanced approach that considers both analytics and intuitive editorial decisions.

Community engagement initiatives, such as their 20-stop tour across Italy, highlight Will Media’s commitment to fostering audience inclusion. Even without incorporating user-generated content, they have successfully promoted meaningful dialogue and participation among their audience.

AI strategy

Will have highlighted that their relationship with generative AI has been profound:

There is no question of whether to use AI in content creation or not, the question is what tool should we use.

Alessandro Tommasi

According to the editorial team, the efficiency of producing news headlines, creating initial drafts, LinkedIn posts etc., have been integrated with the available text-generative AI tools.

They emphasize that the final decisions on content inclusion or exclusion are always made by a human. Edits are applied afterwards, however, when it comes to the initial generation of ideas and sparking the beginning of a story, AI tools such as GPT-4 are extremely valuable.

Will Media’s Future Prospects

Looking ahead, Will Media aims to stay relevant, continue offering valuable content, and maintain its dedication to audience engagement. Their mission, as outlined by Tommasi, is to be a reliable source of information while encouraging discussions on topics of importance.

Will Media’s success in captivating Gen Z audiences validates their balanced and flexible approach. This model presents useful lessons for other media organizations aiming to engage younger demographics. Their strategy underscores the importance of recognizing evolving audience tastes, facilitating significant discourse, and offering content that imparts genuine value.

This is an excerpt from our free-to-download report, AI implications on Gen Z Audience Development

With key insights into how AI is influencing Gen Z’s media habits – from content personalisation to combating information overload – the report demonstrates clearly how AI is becoming an essential tool in creating a more resonant media experience for Gen Z. 

Click here to access the report