Answer true or false to these statements as they relate to Millennials:

  • They spend all their time online and live their lives onscreen.
  • They have the shortest attention spans in human history.
  • They're entitled and materialistic.
  • They don't have “real” jobs.
  • They expect to get everything for free.
  • They don't eat food, they take pictures of it.
  • They share content. They don't actually read it.

Of course, these stereotypes about Millennials aren't fair, nor are they in any way true. However, Millennials are a generation with unique attitudes and needs and they digest information and content in different ways.

Here’s what you need to know to ensure Millennials engage with your content.

Don't paint with broad strokes. While Millennials may share certain common traits, they're individuals who have lived more original and unique lives than any previous generation. They’ve grown up in diverse households and communities, may have travelled extensively and experienced countless things. They expect to receive information that is targeted to them and speaks to their unique life experiences. They will not engage with content they can't relate to. Research shows this simply doesn't happen.

Remember: Millennials grew up with computers and the internet. Digital is their baseline experience, which means you never, ever have to explain the transition from non-tech to high-tech solutions to them. They just get it and always have. Your firm will seem incredibly out-of-it if you explain the value of doing things like going paperless rather than just delivering the latest high-tech mobile solution.

Be honest and authentic. This is the first generation that has been able to fast-forward, block or completely eliminate commercials and other forms of “artificial” marketing from their lives. They prefer to engage with information that is genuine, authentic, informative, educational and actionable. Anything less will be rejected and they will move on.

Keep it fresh. This is a generation that has unlimited access to quality content. They won't visit your blog or site if there isn't something new and amazing to see. If you can't commit to a consistent flow of new material populated with fresh insights, you probably shouldn't be targeting Millennials. 

Make it attractive. Research shows that the vast majority of Millennials will reject high-quality content if they view the site it's published on as unattractive. Needless to say, a firm’s website is pretty much dead to Millennials if it isn't mobile friendly. If you haven't refreshed your site with a modern, mobile design, this should be a top priority for your firm. Driving people of this generation to an unattractive website is the equivalent of flushing marketing dollars down the drain.

Keep it simple. Period. No one today, especially Millennials, has time to read through ancillary or unnecessary information. Streamline what you have to say down to the minimum required to get people to take action. If you have doubts, provide links to extra content rather than include it on the page.

Design for scanning, not reading. Type is hot again. That’s because younger people generally don't read, they scan content searching for key messages. The best way to support this behavior is to use multiple type styles and colors to highlight critical information to make it easy to find.

A picture is worth a thousand words. A generation that grew up with visual social media channels like Instagram is more likely to digest information through pictures, charts, graphs, infographics and other types of images rather than words. It’s a win / win any time you can translate a concept into a visual.

Papa, don't preach. The old Madonna song rings true for Millennials. It’s always better to teach them rather than preach to them. Providing opportunities to learn and explore will lead to more sales than… selling.

Make it shareable. Nothing is more frustrating to Millennials than finding something great online and not being able to share it with their network (aka free content distribution.) Sharing is the today’s social currency. If you actually create something that’s deemed share worthy by today’s emerging consumer generation, make sure they can do so easily.

Proof it. Millennials share great things. They also gleefully pass along awful ones. You don't want your content to go viral because of an embarrassing typo or error.

Need help developing content Millennials will engage with? Check out Carpenter Group’s perspective on content marketing. Then contact us to discuss how we can help your firm speak to Millennials and all generations of,consumers.