How the Betches founders turned a blog into a multi-platform media company for young audiences

Betches Digiday Podcast

A decade ago, Cornell students Jordana Abraham, Aleen Dreksler and Samantha Sage created a satirical blog called Betches to share their observations of student life. Now in 2021, the blog has become a multi-platform media company for millennial women that reaches a monthly audience —they tout — of 43 million.

The blog grew with its audience, said Dreksler on the latest episode of the Digiday Podcast, allowing major life events for their audience to dictate new content verticals, podcast subjects and video series, including Betches Moms and Betches Brides. But above all, entertainment and humor led the company’s content strategy. As such, social media has become a key growth platform for the media company over the years.

Like many media companies, Betches has had a lot to consider over the past year, including what its role would be on emerging platforms, how to continue serving its audience who was spending significantly more time online and how to create content for the ever-growing Gen Z demographic.

Here are a few highlights from the conversation, which have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

A strategy for both millennial and Gen Z audiences 

Dreksler: We definitely still feel like there’s a lot more millennial women to tap into. And we feel very grateful that our audience has grown up with us. At the time, we were describing the lifestyle of women at that time, before they were even called millennials. And we were observing the behaviors of ourselves and laughing at ourselves. But with growing up with our audience came so many different opportunities to expand our content. We have gotten into career content, finance — we’re launching a personal finance vertical later this year — we just launched our Betches mom’s vertical podcast, which is not something we thought we would do, let’s say five years ago. 

But with Gen Z, I think that just looking at our Instagram and looking at our TikTok and all of our different content, I think that we’re reaching Gen Z, with this same type of strategy in how we reach millennial women, which is speaking to them the way that they speak to each other. And that’s kind of the core strategy of how we reach our audiences. 

The Betches creator strategy

Sage: Something that we started with was we would look for freelancers who were really funny and able to create content that was in brand in tone with us. But they were sort of an embodiment of what Betches could be. [Since then], we’ve hired a number of those people full time. We want to start bringing more creators under our umbrella and under the Betches fold. We definitely are in the process of cultivating a range of talent, both from Gen Z and millennial demos. What is the Betches take like, what is the Betches Gen Z crossover in terms of that voice, that culture. 

Emerging platforms 

Sage: We got on TikTok about a year before the pandemic. We were watching the platform, seeing how our audience is using it. Our millennial audience wasn’t as much on it until the pandemic. And then ever since we’ve been going for it. We never experimented [with Clubhouse] as a company. Even though we are so good with audio, in terms of podcasting, I don’t know that it necessarily translated to Clubhouse. But to be honest, if we saw that our audience was really thriving there and really loved the platform, we would have probably gone for it. The truth is that our audience did not love the platform itself.

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