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The Long And Short Of It: What Works For 20-Something Millennial Girls Online

By Lena de Casparis, Acting Deputy Editor, The Debrief at Bauer Media

In a digital world filled with Kim Kardashian’s bottom, ‘breaking’ the internet, galleries of kittens in teacups, Instagram reels of avocado porn  and Tinder streams of boys with Zac Effron-esque arms, how do you cut through the noise and win a young woman’s attention online?

When we launched Bauer Media’s new lifestyle brand for 20-something girls, aka The Debrief,  a year ago, this was the challenge we set ourselves. To attract, entertain and inform the hard-to-reach Millennial audience and tempt them to return to the site every  single day. And then of course to spend as much of their free time with us as possible - as well as the times they weren’t really meant to be free.

To do this we had to know our audience. So we spent six months pre-launch travelling around the country and speaking to young women about their media consumption and how they lead their lives.

We found Millennial girls are glued to their mobiles - in fact a third of our girls admitted rescuing their mobile from the loo when it had fallen in when texting. And so we knew The Debrief had to be digital first, and it HAD to be mobile responsive.

It was also clear that our girl needed and wanted content she couldn’t find anywhere else on the web. She constantly clicked the bar of shame on Mail Online, but then so did her mum, and so the content felt too mass market to be ‘her brand’. And while she was obsessed with fashion blogs and vlogs, none of them offered her enough bespoke issue-based and newsy content along with fashion tailored to her life.

And so when we launched The Debrief in February 2014 the content was devised around her routine, habits and needs.

It's all about her

Sections included; Life (as in her life), Getting Ready (helping her navigate her way through the fashion and beauty world), and Things To Do (does what it says on the tin). In short - it was all about her. 

To ensure articles were written precisely for her, they essentially needed to be by her - and so we brought in a talented editorial team of 20-somethings - all living, breathing, most likely drinking, and writing about being a Millennial in hashtagable content, designed to punctuate the key touch points of our girl's day. 

We start the day with bite-sized news via  #WhileYouWereSleeping, telling our girl what she's missed overnight. Interestingly, this drives our biggest traffic peaks in the day, between 7am and 8am, as she reads it on her commute to make sure she’s clued up on Taylor Swift and Lena Dunham’s latest news ready for her morning coffee with her work mates.

A #loseyourlunchtime longer article about her life – like our brutal take on ‘Why Dating In December Is Shit’ which got thousands of reads in just one day and kept people reading on average for over three minutes - would be consumed on her desktop computer at work while eating her Pret sandwich. 

Listsicles on common fashion mistakes or useful videos of TED talks guide her through the rest of her day.  Then we publish a sex feature each night at #sexoclock (otherwise known as 6pm) to read on her mobile on the way home – clearly signposted #NotSuitableForWork.

Matching the content to the platform

And finally a long #latenightread is published at 10pm for her to read on her iPad when she’s in bed and has more time to enjoy it.

It is important for us that our girl spends time with The Debrief - our dwell time is a healthy 6 minutes for our longer pieces - rather than a quick page view driven by lazy click baiting.

In fact our most successful piece of content ever was 'Stranger shaming: how being a woman eating on a tube got me 12,000 online haters'. And this was a 1,600 word report about a Facebook group that shamed women for eating on the tube. It  was retweeted hundreds of times and picked up everywhere from Buzzfeed to The Independent.

Proof Kim’s bottom is not the only thing that can break the internet, The Debrief can too.

Welcome to Bauer Knowledge: The Millennial Chapter.

Bauer Knowledge: The Millennial Chapter is funded by Bauer Media but all content is editorially independent, except pieces labelled "brought to you by". Find out more here

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