“You need to super-serve the underserved” – Engaging Generation Z with niche content at the ShoutOut Network
Back in 2014, Efe Jerome, the founder of the ShoutOut Network hoped to create a safe space for young people from under-represented backgrounds to tell their own stories. After sharing the vision with Imriel Morgan, who was working in marketing at the time, high-quality podcasts that represented minorities flourished, and the network was producing six podcast by 2016.
Morgan, who hosts the ‘Wannabe’ podcast and maintains the growth of ShoutOut Network, explained that company aims to target 13 to 24 year olds by focusing on niche communities, scripted content and short-form audio.
“When you create niche pieces of content that only relate to a very specific group of people, the young people that can relate to it just flock to it,” she said, speaking at newsrewired yesterday (7 November).
For example, one of their most popular podcasts is ‘Wannabe’, a looks at the career options for young people, specifically niching in on the challenges faced by females leaving university and entering the world of work, while “Wolves in the city” focuses on topics surrounding queer men of colour.
About 60 per cent of people that come through the network are LGBTQ identifying and the majority are under the age of thirty.
“Seeing themselves in the story is what creates loyalty,” she said.
“We have found that 30 minutes or less is perfect for attracting a younger audience – it’s what we are going to focus on moving forward, even if that means pulling apart our longer content.”
Using the Headliner video editor, the ShoutOut Network is able to visually engage their audience on Instagram by sharing snippets of their work on the social platform.
“Topical content works very well, but it is expensive to produce, so we try to make a range on content that is evergreen so that it always seems fresh,” she said. .
“We are going for a scripted format because we believe that’s the future of podcasting. It’s a very new space and it can also be translated for TV further down the line.”
They are currently working on a project using actors about two 16 year old teenage boys, inspired by the success of ‘Rapman: Shiro’s story‘, a gritty UK drama that’s had more than 10 million hits on YouTube.
“Young people engage with stories that they see themselves represented in – it is essential,” she said.
“We look to super-serve the under-served – serving a tiny audience really well means they will become super fans of your work – that’s the conversation about loyalty and building a community base.”