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Creating Content for Kids: 3 Things Brands Need to Keep in Mind

Can you tell your Floss Dance from your Orange Justice? Do you know the names for all eight members of the Family Fun Pack? Can you rattle off the recipes for both fluffy AND glow-in-the-dark slime?  If so, you either have an eager preteen or you’ve been dabbling in the dynamic world of modern kids content.

 

Kids trends 2018

VIDEO: https://vimeo.com/280359360

 

Creating Engaging Kids Content in 2018

Creating engaging, entertaining content has long offered brands a shortcut to young people’s hearts. Mattel, Hasbro, and the slew of other kids companies in the 80s and 90s creating toy-first TV programmes for young, Saturday-morning viewers knew this truth well: Great content builds bridges between brands and enthusiastic, young audiences.

In 2018, that relationship hasn’t changed – but the ways young people consume content have evolved dramatically. Astute brands wishing to create content that resonates with modern, young audiences need to be able to read the shifting landscape and respond quickly.

Sound intimidating? It sure does.

But at Hook Research, we’ve been speaking with kids about their content needs for a long time now, and we think we can provide some help in this area. These are the three big things we think brands should consider when creating content for young people in 2018:

 

1. Engage in the spaces that matter

Peek into a family’s living room on a weekend morning and you’re likely to see a pyjama-clad kid flicking casually between YouTube on an iPad; a gaming app on their mobile; and a TV show on the small screen – which now offers (via a number of VOD providers) a plethora of programmes at the touch of a button.

With so much to offer, it’s crucial that brands are thinking about how they can maximise touchpoints with young viewers. Where are young audiences viewing your content now? Which platforms could help improve this visibility in future? As a kids broadcaster that is “multi-platform by design”, Cartoon Network do this well – pushing out their content in bite-size chunks across a connected system of discrete apps, YouTube accounts, websites, and linear TV.

 

2. Rethink ‘Appropriate’ Topics

For as long as I’ve been in the business of researching kids, young people have always been drawn to content that we adults consider too old for them, and that hasn’t changed in 2018 (just look at how much appeal Stranger Things has with today’s 10/11 year olds).

And while there are certainly many topics that remain inappropriate for young viewers, we’re seeing an increased willingness for programmes to address big issues in their storylines: Steven Universe, The Loud House, and Pablo – for example – are addressing more ‘adult’ topics like gender, sexuality, and mental health. With their increased digital fluency, young people are regularly encountering these topics – and these young viewers (and their parents) generally love it when shows talk about them in a responsible way.

 

3. In the rush to create novel content, don’t ignore the basics

“In the kids space, nothing has fundamentally changed”

That’s from Stuart Rowson – the Head of Discovery at BBC Children’s – speaking at a panel Hook hosted at this year’s Children’s Media Conference. His point is that many of the latest youth trends are just modern manifestations of activities kids have always loved. For instance, Music.ly may be a hit, but kids have always loved recording themselves singing; YouTube slime tutorials are just a modern iteration of how-to craft booklets.

Amidst the multi-screening, multi-platform, on-demand whirligig, it’s comforting to see some through-lines. In the pursuit for novel content, brands should not overlook the very basic activities that have entertained children for generations.

 

Kids content moving forward

The kids content space is incredibly dynamic, and brands need to constantly reassess their strategies when it comes to engaging with this audience. These three core areas are a good place to start when thinking about creating compelling content for young people.

It’s certainly a challenge – but getting this right can help your brand build powerful relationships with young people that will last for years to come!

 

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Biography: Nick Fisher is the co-founder of Hook Research - a media research and content development agency based in London, UK. They are proud to provide broader consumer insights and brand strategy to some of the biggest organisations across media, youth, and entertainment all over the world. Find out more at https://www.hookresearch.co.uk