Rookie magazine is a new online publication for teenage girls that’s generated a lot of attention recently in media circles, in part because it’s editor-in-chief is a 15-year-old former fashion blogger.
But it caught my eye for a different reason. After stumbling across a recent article in which a 25-year-old writer interviewed the first boy she kissed on the 10 year anniversary of their kiss, I started surfing around the site and realized that there are a lot of lessons to be learned from what Rookie is doing. Even though it’s not a comedy site and most comedians’ target audience isn’t teenage girls (insert your own joke here), the site’s creation, philosophy, and content can teach you a lot of lessons about how to create successful content online.
Here’s four lessons you can learn from what Rookie’s been doing…
1. Be Different Than Anything Else On The Web
I’m far from an expert on what teenage girls read on the Internet, but I do scour an insane amount of online publications and I don’t think I’ve really ever seen one that approaches its content the way Rookie does. Its article topics are unique, its writers write in a style that doesn’t feel like everything else on the web, and it only publishes three articles a day. Even the look of the site is much more simple and clean than most websites out there that are chasing a teenage audience.
In your own efforts to post content online, you should also look for ways you can be different. The more unique your website, videos, and content is, the more likely it will be to get noticed. I didn’t just notice Rookie because it was good – I noticed it because I had never really seen anything else like it before.
2. Target A Specific Audience And Know Who That Audience Is
I’ve written before about the importance of finding your niche, and Rookie clearly does that. Everything on their site is aimed at teenage girls and it’s clear not only in the subject matter, but in the way everything on the site is written that they are only speaking to that audience. They don’t care if people who aren’t teenage girls “get” what they’re doing because what they’re doing isn’t for them.
In your own work it’s important to know who your creations are for – and it’s not enough to just say “anybody that likes funny stuff.” If Rookie was just targeting “anybody who likes interesting articles,” it ultimately wouldn’t work.
Your audience should help define the content you create if you want to succeed. So if you don’t know who you’re targeting, you’re putting yourself at a huge disadvantage.
3. Tease Your Content
One of the things I love on Rookie is that they actually tease each day’s upcoming articles. They only post three things a day – cleverly rolled out around “After School,” “Dinner Time,” and “Sweet Dreams” – but you can log on in the morning and see a headline/photo for whatever that day’s posts are going to be. This creates some excitement and encourages people to come back to the site.
I’ve rarely seen people tease their upcoming content in this way, but I think it’s something that may be worth incorporating into your own content when it makes sense. For example, if you’re releasing a big new sketch video on Friday, why not post a teaser clip on Wednesday featuring some funny outtakes or a sneak preview of the sketch?
4. Remind Your Readers That Your Site Is Theirs Too
The more engaged your audience is with your content, the more connected they will become to it and to you. Rookie knows this and that’s why the site is pushing hard to encourage its readership to get involved with (and in some cases to help create) its content. They’ve even created a page specifically to invite readers to contribute to the site.
Too often, comedians tend to be self-centered and think their content is just a way for them to showcase how great they are. The more you’re willing to invite your fans and readers into the process of the content you create, the more you’ll be rewarded. Just because it’s your website or YouTube channel, that doesn’t mean that you have to be the only one who ever posts anything on it.
Rookie knows its success will ultimately depend on an active community of readers, commenters, and contributors – it’s a lesson that too many comedians have ignored.