Breaking the Age Barrier

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Launching your own business is one of the most daunting prospects, and so many factors are taken into consideration to make it a success.

I started my own online media business at the age of 12 – I’ve always loved technology and my interest quickly turned into something bigger; before I knew it, millions of people were visiting my websites each month.

My network of sites through Wizzed Media focuses on creating bite-sized, sharable content that is relevant to its reader. We cover a variety of topics from entertainment, health, animals, travel, Bollywood and cars. It’s a melting pot of different interests but somehow through each of their own sites, they seem to have caught the attention of users, with the beginning of this year seeing us reach 100 million page views per month.

When people find out my age (I’m still a teenager) they usually ask me two things: firstly, how have I made content sharing network such a success for users around the world? The second question is always asks how I am taken seriously at my age.

Well actually, I think the two answers fuse together and are probably one of the main reasons why I have got to where I am today. And here’s why….

Companies, whatever the size, from food and drink to clothing, are always on the hunt for the answer to that age-old question: “How do you stay relevant and of interest to the younger generation?’ In other words, how does your service or product become the chosen one for the tweens, teenagers and twenty-somethings?

To me it’s about relevancy, this might sound like a simple statement, but starting my business at such a young age has been such a massive benefit. It has actually helped me become the success I am today and is one of the main influencers in what makes my sites stand apart from the rest. I focus on creating strong content that is completely relevant and of interest to its target audience, as I am still that target audience.

As a teenager, I have the same musical, cultural and personal interests as others in the same age bracket, it is this readership that Wizzed Media aims its content at, and our 100 million monthly users prove that something about our model works.

Some large corporate companies will spend millions on trying to create the perfect ad campaign, tone and communication to reach out to the much-coveted younger generation. However more often than not, their results end up failing miserably, because the campaigns have either been cringe-worthy, too condescending or just failing to understand current trends – and no, it is not One Direction.

The reason is simple, the people behind these campaigns or communications are more often than not in their late 30s or 40s, and let’s be honest, at 17 are you really going to have the same interest as your 40-year parent? Probably not, so why do some many companies believe they’ve found the perfect way to connect with the younger audience when actually all they are doing is isolating them more than ever.

I and my team are all young, we are passionate about what we are writing about and sharing with who are essentially are our peers. We understand that our audiences are growing with us. We share the same milestones and moments from graduating, learning to drive to go to university. Therefore our content must evolve and change to suit the readership.

By utilising sites such a Buzzsumo you can find trending content and topics that are most relevant to today’s world. We also look at what is trending on Twitter to write content – the chances are people will want to read about it in some form or other, resulting in you generating traffic. This isn’t just to say it’s about talking about the latest Kardashian news or who’s in the charts, the younger audience is interested in hard-hitting or thought-provoking stories too, the skill is being able to communicate these stories to ensure it is of interest for them. Something others seem to not think we are interested in.

Therefore, instead of spending your whole year’s budget on a middle-aged expert telling your company exactly what the teenagers want, why not try speaking to people of that age-group? Don’t be afraid to hire younger people, take advice from them and actually listen to what they think will work. After all we are the business industry’s next generation and the way we are consuming messages is changing. Our outlook and perceptions are constantly changing so it’s time to celebrate this change, throw away the traditional university and careers routes, and instead look to collaborate and listen to the right people who are actually relevant to your product or service.