MILLENNIALS – it’s a word that’s heard all over the Internet, print media, movies and television. But who really are these Millennials? Is there a Millennial in your family? There are differing classifications though. Some say they are born in the 80s and 90s. That would make them in their 20s to 30s now. Who knows what the exact age range is? What’s important for writers (be it you’re a Millennial yourself or not), is to be able to reach out to them, make them engaged in your content and keep them coming back.
Writing for Millennials may not be an easy task but the key to making it manageable is getting to know who they are. If you want to reach out to them emotionally, you need to understand what they hold valuable and where they are coming from. What makes them tick? Are they really one in their thoughts and actions? Or is this just one great big marketing speak aimed at 80 million prospective followers?
Do they even read at all?
There is evidence though showing that Millennials DO read. They read more news today than about a decade ago. And they spend about 50 minutes a day reading their interests. But what they read are probably not what you’d expect a normal Gen-X working class hero would read. Here is where writers must draw the line between writing for Millennials and writing for the rest of the world.
The now-famous “attention span”
A Gen X-er once said that the attention span of a Millennial is 140 characters or less. Which is probably true so don’t blow the chance of grabbing their attention in that wee little bit of space. This digital generation is bombarded with content and they have a selective and discriminating taste for what appeals to them. It’s like they’re afraid of missing out on the next big thing and won’t be in on it because of the overwhelming flow of content to take in. Their click-happy, devil-may-care and skeptical attitude towards life and reading in general are what makes them a tough crowd to please! And we, writers love them for it. Well, challenge accepted!
They read differently
Millennials read for information and entertainment. They read for a purpose. If it can’t inform, no thank you! If it can’t entertain, move on to the next. If it’s both informative and entertaining, no universal force can get their glued eyes unglued – even if comes once in a blue moon.
But why does it happen few and far between? Because these Millennials have acquired a skill that no other pre-Millennial generation has done before: scanning. They scan a lot of information and blogs quickly and can perceive what may or may not be worth reading. These Millennials had digital technology shoved up their consciousness right from birth. Their visual skills were due mainly to being exposed very early to computers, internet, gaming consoles and smartphones. Plus every bit of visually attracting things like television, movies and print media. In short, Gen-Y (as Millennials are also called), was practically raised in a truly visual world.
What writers can do
- Be up-to-date as possible – This is probably one of the most important aspects of writing for a Millennial audience. You have to be the first one out and must be able to discern which ones have intellectual depth and which ones are just downright shallow.
- If it’s deep enough – Then move on to the point lest we lose our superstar’s interest. Get to the point as clearly as possible. If you don’t have a point, maybe you can write for next week’s post.
- Have a clear message – If your advocacy is making the world a better place then have a consistent voice each time you write. Millennials may not be into the “we-have-a-voice” level yet but it’s never too early to get them involved. Whether you write about scandals, celebrities, politics or whatever injustices you feel, the message is clear – it’s not good but it can still get better.
- Make them relate – The internet is very interactive – something Millennials like doing. Be entertaining but at the same time, invoke an emotional response to get them to relate to your subject.
- Be unique – You don’t have to follow the norm, sometimes weird is kinda cool. It can be entertaining while drawing attention. So be weird and unique. Some of the best stories have a certain touch of unique weirdness. And Millennials identify with the awkward and the weird.
If we can understand what kinds of information these Millennials are seeking, then writers can fully grasp at ways on engaging them. And it’s not difficult to find out what these are: trending topics, keywords, and other tools will help you know what they are looking for.
It may be amazing to discover that Millennials are capable of consuming an endless amount of visual information all at once. If it doesn’t have these two criteria: attractive and easily digestible, then it won’t be appealing. Therefore, writers must not just be good at what they do, but are also good designers of content. While the older generations seem not too particular at a page’s design and focus more on the information, the Gen-Y-ers are more in-sync with how information is presented on a page – and it’s the information they need – no more, no less.
If you can incorporate a unique and current voice that’s relevant, funny, witty and controversial all at the same time, then you could just have what it takes to write for Millennials. Join our content writing agency at Iris Content and be heard!