Before a recent campus visit at a small liberal arts college campus for a copywriting project, a colleague of mine and I discussed how to find the right voice to speak to prospective students in high school.
She confided in me that she recently went to a local bookstore and picked up stacks of magazines, including Seventeen for girls and, for lack of a better option, a skateboarding magazine for boys. In the past, I had done a similar thing: looking to magazines that targeted at teens to discover catchphrases and study the tone of voice used.
When we met with a group of current college students—mainly freshmen and sophomores—of the campus, our eyes were opened when we asked them what magazines they read.
“Magazines?” they said. “I don’t really read magazines. But I do go to a lot of websites.”
Of course this would be their answer. These students are part of the new crop of Generation Z students: the digital natives. Their answer reminded me that those magazines targeting teens are written by “old folks” like me, too, who are trying to be the voice students want to read.
So how do you capture a voice that high school students want to hear? Read what teens are reading. Go to websites where teens go. And find content written for teens, by teens.
According to Niche, Inc., which had high school students in the Class of 2014 rank the websites they use most often, a few of the most popular websites among teens are:
Other studies show video-sharing site Vine and photo-sharing site Flickr increasing in usage among teens.
If you’re not familiar with these sites, check them out. You may learn something about the teenage audience and their interests—and you can then adjust the voice and style of your copy to better speak to them. It also could inform your decisions on where to spend your online marketing dollars.
Image credit: Courtesy of imagerymajestic/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
About Dana’s Creative Services
Dana’s Creative Services is a writing and editing services company that helps businesses communicate better with their target audiences. Dana McCullough, owner of Dana’s Creative Services, writes and edits copy for brochures, newsletters, websites, blogs, magazines, and books. Her clients include universities, nonprofit organizations, magazine publishers, and book publishers nationwide. Dana has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and frequently writes and edits copy on higher education, genealogy/family history, health, and business topics. Twitter: @DanasCreative