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06 Oct

What Millennials Wish You Knew About Their Content Preferences

I fall right there in the middle of the millennials, or “Generation Y” at age 23. Millennials are the largest and most diverse generation ever, so many companies are already paying attention to what they want (unless you sell phones with big numbers or SAS shoes).

In a meeting at a previous job, an employer asked me to contribute as the token millennial for changing content strategy. To them, they knew all about us: “They want instant gratification,” “No lengthy content,” “Just give them solutions so they can move on with their day,” etc.

Suffice it to say, I felt a bit misunderstood.

Though they didn’t completely miss the mark, we’re a bit more nuanced than that. Here are two facts to consider:

  • Millennials are reading more books than any other generation today, according to a Pew Research report.
  • Last year, 4 in 10 millennials with smartphones listened to at least one podcast every month, according to MarketingCharts.

Thus, a brand’s approach to millennial-targeted marketing should be more varied than the current dogma, and millennials want longer and more in-depth content when they need it.

Written Content

The reading statistic may come as a surprise to some of you. While it’s still true that most information should be distilled into easily read articles and lists, you may be cutting quality content too short.

More and more Millennials are taking leadership roles, buying houses and cars, and starting families, so they’ve never been hungrier for useful content to manage these major experiences.

Determining the level of interest and need that a visitor will have when encountering your content can help you craft a more helpful resource, especially surrounding life milestones and the assumption of greater responsibility.

One of our clients, Sevier County Bank, wanted to express their integral and historical place in Sevier County. We set SCB up with a microsite called SCB Stories to share what makes them them.

The content shows what customers can expect from a hometown bank rooted in the community, and the stories are quite powerful to people making their first major financial decisions and looking for someone to trust. This is an appropriate use of short content.

On the other hand, healthcare consulting group PYA seems to engage more people with the longer content pieces that others avoid.

By offering in-depth articles and free white papers, the content helps young professionals and decision makers make big changes in their organization, especially as the healthcare business copes with a changing industry.

By offering the more in depth content, PYA establishes trust with people who bear a lot of responsibility, perfect for bringing in another client to consult.

Though there will always be a place for the short content, don’t be afraid to give your audience more of your expertise. Millennials have big plans and want big changes, so give them a mix of resources when they come to you.

Podcast: The Ultimate Content?

The number of new podcasts on iTunes is staggering. With over 60,000 available every month, it’s a trend that marketers can no longer ignore.

Podcasts embody several millennial preferences for content and literally speak to the information they crave.

For one, podcasts lend themselves to multitasking. Millennials (and everybody, really) oscillate between multiple tasks throughout the day, but they are still eager to learn.

Whether its Freakonomics while cooking or the Radiolab on a long commute, millennials can absorb interesting information while they do things that they have to do.

Second, the human element draws listeners to new content by their favorite podcasters. Rather than reading an impersonal blog, the warmth of a human voice with a personality creates a greater connection between the brand and the consumer.  

A great example is Orvis’ Fly Fishing Podcast.

Historically geared towards older enthusiasts, Orvis aggressively pursues millennial customers who seek the unique pursuit of fishing. Hosted by Tom Rosenbauer, fans trust the podcast because the host is friendly and has a reputation for helping people catch more fish, regardless of skill level or access to pricey guides and fishing mentors.

As powerful as podcasts are, few brands take advantage of it.

While plenty of podcasts by individual entrepreneurs and business influencers inundate the Interwebs, brand podcasts will gain popularity as the medium’s potential becomes more evident.  

As Always, Adapt.

You may have heard the saying, “Even the flattest pancake has two sides.” In other words, there’s always a different side of the story, no matter how obvious it seems.

While the preceding generations may scratch their heads at the habits and preferences of millennials, knowing their actual online habits will greatly improve your strategies.