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Are Young People Really Hard to Reach?


Aerial shot of a zebra crossing with lots of people walking across it in different directions.
Photo by Ryoji Iwata on Unsplash

Perhaps the real question we should be asking is, “Why is this audience group hard for YOU to reach?” Then the work can actually begin. That’s something the latest Hear It Podcast guest, Ndu Uchea explains in a conversation that really unpacks what better serving youth, and in particular minority youth, audiences looks like.


As well as building a youth-led content format across YouTube and social media, the co-founder of Word on the Curb shares how as a creative and research agency, they’re using their approach of youth-led discussion, to shift conversations and deliver social change within campaigns.


Crucially though this starts with three key things to address before rolling out the “they’re just hard to reach” phrase.


  1. What’s the history of your brand/organisation and what might make your target audience hard to reach for you? What do you need to do to change this? This is a great starting point and could totally shift how you approach a brief. Put simply, ignoring this question could see you make an approach that fails to acknowledge any barriers or associations that have formed over time. You have to meet where your audience are and understand the context within which your brand or organisation is seen or experienced by them.

  2. Research and understanding are vital to address any barriers or issues that point 1 throws up. More than that, working with the right individuals, consultants, agencies and suppliers will also help. Existing networks may come up against the same barriers and find audiences harder to reach, so if you’re being thorough, completely reviewing the people and suppliers involved from strategy through to delivery is key.

  3. Be brave with content. Ndu shares that because many brands don’t do 1 & 2 right and perhaps lack that reflection and honesty about where they are with audiences, they’ll play it safe or do more of the same, rather than have the confidence of knowing their audience and where they can play to enable more creative approaches.



I use the phrase “reverse engineering” far too much but I think targeting specific audience groups is so much more about going to where they are at any given point in time and working your way back to see how you can better develop an approach to influence and engage them.


So, when you hear that a youth audience is ‘hard to reach’, first apply these points and see if you still agree or whether it’s an organisations position or existing channels that just don’t speak to the audience or provide anything for them.


Huge thanks to Ndu for sharing so many great examples and insights, I’ve linked lots of what we talk about in the show notes.


You can listen on Apple, Spotify, the Thread & Fable website, or wherever you get your podcasts. Also if youth engagement and insights is of interest, you can sign up for a weekly newsletter from Thread & Fable on the website here where I share things I find over the week that you might find useful.

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