Thanks to years of traffic and audience data coupled with our editors' nuanced eye, there are underlying themes we’ve identified that resonate with our female college readers again and again. Thinking through these mechanisms can give you additional insight into the editorial process as well as offer takeaways for marketers as you think about how to apply some of these threads and themes to your own brands and campaigns.
1. Things that make your life easier
These are things like life hacks, DIY solutions, quick and easy recipes, money-saving tips and tricks, discounts, beauty hacks, and more--basically, anything that allows her to live her life more easily, efficiently, more cost-effectively. This is service-y content at its finest.
2. Meaty resources
These are pieces like our college packing list, guide to writing a cover letter, and template roommate contract. These are things she really needs, delivered to her in a format that's extensive, that's thorough, and that's comprehensive, at the time when she needs it most.
3. Things you’re not comfortable discussing with even your closest friends
We find that our readers turn to us for these sensitive topics that they’re really curious about but don't even feel like they can talk about with their best friends. We’re their authority, their confidante, their resource for these important but often awkward topics. We see this with content on down-there grooming, first time sex , and pregnancy scares for example.
4. Strong, controversial opinions
Many of us live in a bubble, and the same goes for our readers. Hearing from those who burst that bubble tends to perform really well. We saw this with opinion pieces we ran on "why I’m not a fan of the new Barbie", "I voted for Trump but I'm sad", and more.
5. "Scientifically proven" advice
This applies to anything based in science or backed by research or data. Often it's a matter of applying this scientific approach to decidedly unscientific subjects--dating, your love life, or studying, for example.
6. Taking vicarious risks
Our readers often have changes they’re contemplating but are afraid to take the plunge on, oftentimes style and beauty risks. So they're eager to consume as much information as they can about it before actually pulling the trigger. We've seen this with content on short hairstyles, what it's like to get your nose pierced, and tattoos, but the same could be said for topics like taking a nontraditional career path or traveling.
We find that our readers often use our content to send a message for them, that they wouldn’t necessarily write on their own. By sharing our content on their social media platforms--usually Facebook--they're able to convey a message without having to write anything at all. We saw this with an article that went viral on Facebook on "what I wish my friends knew about my busy schedule". On a more serious note, we've also seen readers share a piece of content as a way of having it speak for them when it comes to heavier topics like anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and addiction.