The world wide web has been crowding our screens since its birth in 1989; a mere 26 years ago.
While older generations have gotten the hang of living logged in, the ones who were raised in a virtual world are the Millennials.
Millennials: A term thrown around to describe presumably young people, but what does this category really encompass? Whitehouse.gov states that anyone born between 1980 and the mid-2000s falls into the Millennial namesake, meaning the oldest members of this generation are already in their early thirties.
If that’s older than you imagined, you’re not alone. As some Millennials are well beyond the three-decade mark, some are still preteens saving allowances and Snapchatting pictures of lip balm collections (or is that just me?).
No matter which end of the age spectrum a millennial falls into, it’s undeniable that it’s currently the largest generation in the U.S. and has been raised by a combination of parental and technological influence.
Millennials have watched the Internet grow from early iterations into complex, ultra-responsive behemoths that look modern and chic. They’ve learned how to navigate the murky internet waters and have grown up alongside the sprawling web.
Today, most Millennials still tote their virtual childhood friend around by wielding smartphones, tablets and wearables all tuned into the Internet.
Grabbing the Elusive Millennial Attention and Keeping It
With so many screens and such little time, how could you possibly grab the attention of a millennial who is avidly scouring the Internet for the next interesting hot topic?
As an incredibly diverse population, the cohort of Millennials online right now can be reached a million different ways through a million different appeals, but what truly sticks out to this conglomerate of assorted minds?
Make Your Content Stand Out
1. Use the Social Media Soapbox
Social media platforms are hotbeds of discussion, debate and interaction. Whether you’re pro-something, con-something or just scrolling by, it’s so easy to take a pit stop at anything that catches your eye. Millennials can take in an overwhelming amount of content on social media, so while this may seem like a no-brainer, use it. A good bet to getting attention is posting your content onto social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, so start there.
2. Gain Trust
Millennials don’t want to feel like they’re being tricked into something. When promoting your content, ditch the sleazy sales guy pitch you might have weaved in there. Instead, build trust. Eliciting trust means building credibility and, ultimately, a relationship with people who peruse your content. You could also take the time to interact with readers, respond to comments, ask questions and help those who are stopping by to see what you have to offer.
Millennials crave a personal experience. Don’t assume the opposite solely because it is the generation using the Internet the most through the most gadgets. They don’t want a connection with a company: They want a connection with the people of the company.
Millennials are smart. They start businesses, develop apps and create clever solutions to the everyday problems that have existed for decades. If your content can further their thirst for knowledge, flaunt it. Don’t just write an article about, say, the best type of door to use in your home. Instead, fulfill their hunger and also tell them how to install that door. Feed their ambition and DIY mindset, it will pay off.
4. Write Easy Peasy Content
The Millennial population is busy. They don’t have time to read a 10,000-word research article to get to the meat of the matter. Keep your content in a safe range of 700 to 2,500 words. Too few words and you won’t get indexed by Google, but too many and you’ll start losing a reader’s interest. Also, clean up your grammar. Well-written pieces resonate well and further build trust with millennials since the majority have gone, or are planning to go, to college or another institute of higher education.
5. Use a Multichannel Approach
As Millennials grew up with technology, their stock of gadgets grew, too. They’re accessing the internet from TVs, desktops, smartphones, tablets and wearable devices. Ninety-five percent own a cellphone, nearly half own a tablet and nearly one-third owns an e-reader.
If your content is static and designed only to be seen by desktop, you’re missing out. "Readers will only try for so long to pinch and zoom content on mobile devices before they give up and move on" according to Web Design Minneapolis.
6. Blog, Blog, Blog
Whether your blog is informational or purely fun, the fact that you’re doing it is huge. And if you aren’t, you should start, pronto. Blogs don’t only further build a sort of personal repertoire with readers, but it turns out that Millennials rely heavily on information provided in those wordy posts. For instance, 33 percent rely on blogs to inform their purchasing decisions. With that kind of attention-grabbing merit, blogging is proving to be hugely influential.
7. Inspire Action
Just as Millennials devour educational content, they also crave inspirational content. There’s a swell of social responsibility happening within this population, and you could be a part of it. If your content digs deeper into current social causes and inspires action or resolution, you’ll surely tug on some socially conscious heartstrings.
Advertising Age says, “Millennials care about social issues and tend to support companies that are actively helping address problems across the globe.” If it applies to you, make sure your content reflects your social awareness and further inspire action.
8. Get Flashy
Er, rather, get well-designed. While this doesn’t necessarily dictate where your content should be or how it should be written, the truth is how you present your content will stand out just as much.
From the sheer design of a website to trust-promoting color schemes, Millennials are proverbially judging a book by its cover. Content with beautiful images, interesting color schemes, and playful illustrations will attract readers and encourage the full consumption of your content.
9. Enhance the Mobile Experience
Not only is being mobile-responsive a Google ranking factor, but it’s also vital to creating content that will reach Millennials where they are. If you have impactful or engaging content that can’t be read from the six square inches of a smartphone’s screen, you might as well have no content at all.
10. Here They Are, Now Entertain Them
While Millennials want to be satiated with educational, inspirational and beautiful content, they also don’t mind entertaining ventures. BuzzFeed is a prime example of a hub of playful to informative content reaching millions every single day. Popular content categories include “LOL,” “omg” and “win,” which undoubtedly draws in their consumers, half of which are Millennials.
Between all of that innovating and inspiring, they want a break, too. And cat pictures. Lots of cat pictures.
Bust Through With Great Content
Being a wordsmith can be hard and creating useful content on a consistent basis could seem impossible. Before you get overwhelmed with how many ways you could craft your content to effectively reach millennials, remember that you can take baby steps. Your blog most likely won’t become a viral beacon overnight, but it could over time with a little bit of work.
By creating a content plan of action that starts out slow and steady, you’ll fall into a rhythm of creating the great content you’ve always wanted to. Then by following the 10 tips here, you’ll finally be able to nab the attention of Millennials everywhere.