How Generations Impact Your Content Marketing Efforts

By Stephanie Diamond

Every generation puts its definitive stamp on society. Here, you look at two groups that have a major impact on your content marketing efforts — millennials and Generation C.

Understanding millennials and content marketing

According to a Pew Research Center study, shown here, 2015 was the year that millennials became the largest generational group in the United States, surpassing baby boomers. Millennials are defined as those who were ages 18 to 34 in 2015. The oldest millennial was born in 1981.

Pew Research Center study.

Pew Research Center study.

Much has been reported about how millennials differ in their attitude toward marketing and technology. They have grown up with digital gadgets and are not intimidated by them. They can easily spot hype and are resistant to it in marketing messages. They like to be asked to participate by companies and are more likely to take the advice of another millennial they don’t know rather than be influenced by a popular brand.

According to a 2014 article in the Wall Street Journal, millennials spend an average of 18 hours using media per day. This includes playing video games, checking email, and watching live TV — much of which is done simultaneously.

In an attempt to understand how millennials view content, NewsCred conducted an important study called “The Millennial Mind: How Content Drives Brand Loyalty” (see the following figure).

The NewsCred Millennial study.

The NewsCred Millennial study.

Here are some of the study’s key findings:

  • A majority of the millennials surveyed favor content that is tailored to their age, location, and cultural interests.

  • Thirty percent don’t read content unless it educates or entertains them.

  • Forty-one percent abandon content that is too long.

  • Seventy percent share content that makes them laugh.

  • Google and Facebook are the top platforms they use to find content.

  • Fifty percent share content about a cause they believe in.

  • More than 50 percent prefer to engage with brands on their company websites or social media.

So what does this mean for your content efforts if you are targeting millennials? Obviously, they are a discerning group. They want the content they engage with to be age appropriate and to have some intrinsic value. They won’t normally sit through long content, but you can catch their attention when you discuss their favorite causes. One interesting finding is that they will engage brands on their websites, not just on social media networks. This is an opportunity for you to beef up content on your website.

Understanding Gen C and content marketing

An offshoot of the millennials is a group called Gen C. Unlike millennials, Gen C is not really a generation in the true sense of the term, but rather a construct made up of people who live their lives connected to their devices. They could be from any age group, but they have distinct characteristics. Sixty-five percent of them are under 35 but the rest are spread among the other generations.

Google identifies Gen C as consumers who care about the following:

  • Creation: They like the act of creating content — taking pictures, giving their opinions, and sharing them online.

  • Curation: They like gathering others’ interesting ideas, photos, and articles and sharing them with their friends.

  • Connection: They want to stay connected, and 76 percent watch YouTube videos every day.

  • Community: They want to belong to groups that do things they support and admire.

Surprisingly, Gen C’ers interact directly with brands. If you are a content marketer, you want to make sure that you engage these prospects by asking them to participate and take action.