How to create effective health-related content for young people
There is significant demand from young people for reliable online information about the health issues affecting their lives, according to a new study.
Researchers in the US found that teenagers regularly turn to the internet to answer questions about diet, mental health, sexually-transmitted-diseases, puberty and other concerns.
But organisations looking to meet this demand with their own helpful and useful health-related content might want to focus their promotional efforts on search engines, video and mobile rather than social media.
Privacy concerns put teens off Facebook
The research team at Northwestern University found that 88 per cent of teenagers did not feel comfortable discussing health issues with their Facebook friends.
This reluctance is likely to reduce the effectiveness of social media campaigns that rely on the content members share to present the most relevant organic links and paid ads.
Young people are keen to research issues with their health with a degree of anonymity. More than two thirds said they were concerned about privacy issues and 70 per cent said they didn’t want to see ads related to the topics or questions they were searching on.
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This makes organic search an important channel for content creators. If organisations want their health content found by a demographic that’s nervous about asking questions on Facebook and hostile to paid ads, they’ll need to make sure that content is search-friendly.
By creating targeted content that answers very specific questions or really drilling into a particular topic with lots of high quality content, organisations with some value to add can have a strong influence over how young people manage their health.
Video and mobile offer best routes to teens
Original video content offers some great potential, with 20 per cent of the teenagers who participated in the study saying they used YouTube. Mobile could also be a good avenue for content creators to explore. The study revealed that one in five teenagers had downloaded a health-themed smartphone app.
The study suggested that the health-related content that makes it in front of young people seems to be having a positive impact. One third of respondents said they had taken steps to improve their health on the back of their online research.
“We often hear about all the negative things kids are doing online, but teens are using the internet to take care of themselves and others around them,” the researchers said.
Social media much more popular for news
Separate research has suggested young people also rely on the internet as their primary source of information about other topics that interest them, such as breaking news. Here, social media plays a bigger role as privacy concerns are less of an issue.
A study earlier this year revealed that millennials are major consumers of news, with 69 per cent reading or watching stories on a daily basis. Facebook was the first or second most popular gateway to the original source in almost 80 per cent of cases.