The millennial generation is a tricky one to engage. With attention spans shorter than a goldfish, this generation seems to bounce from breaking CNN news articles to videos of Kim Kardashian without taking a breath. Lengthy posts do not always get the attention they deserve.
In fact, 58 seconds is the average time readers spend on a website today, according to an article by Sycosure.
Millennials certainly lack the desire to read everything thoroughly. They do, however, demand genuine authenticity and progressive approach to content. They’re also a passionate and socially active bunch.
It’s not that the millennial generation has stopped reading, they just read differently. They read efficiently. They read to learn through searching specifically for what they are interested in.
So what can you do to create content that educates while also intrigues millennial readers with a short attention span?
Here are some tips:
According to an article by TNW, it is entirely possible to adapt information for lower attention spans. This involves taking information and repackaging it into “micro-courses.” Micro-coursing consists of brief lessons that take no more than a few minutes. Often, Youtube videos can be effective vehicles for these lessons.
“Taking information and skillfully repackaging it in shorter formats, micro-courses, where each lesson takes no more than a few minutes, has proven to notably increase completion rates, something that is reported by a number of companies working in the field.” – Roman Kostochka
This Time article talks about a study that analyzed 2 billion page views generated by 580,000 articles on 2,000 sites. From this data, they pulled out the most clicked-on topics. Next, they contrasted topics that received a very high level of attention per page view. Their findings were that timely news articles, got the most engagement. These included topics such as Edward Snowden, Syria, and Obamacare.
HubSpot states that based on a recent study, infographics are “liked” and shared on social media three times more than other any other type of content. The study also found that people who follow directions that include text and illustrations do 323% better than directions without illustrations.
They also state that “when people hear information, they’re likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later”
Millennials are bombarded by more content than any generation before them. As a result, photos and infographics help leave a lasting impression by presenting information in a more memorable format.
Michael Spencer is a top influencer on LinkedIn. He shared some of his ideas on writing content for millennials in this article. Spencer says that this generation might actually be the most educated of all time.
He argues that millennials are “exposed to more content, marketing ploys, video content and advertisements than ever.”
So then why are they reading? According to Spencer, millennials read to be educated. They want to learn something useful by the end of a blog post.
One easy way to highlight and segment useful information is to use listicles. This can transform reading into skimming (in a good way).
Heidi Bullock, VP of Demand Generation writes in the e-book “The Attention Economy: the Impact of Attention Scarcity on Modern Marketing” about how being personal in content has tremendous benefits. Heidi says that creating personas based on lifestyles and behaviors that go deeper than demographics and firmographics can generate leads.
Bullock argues that with this persona segmentation, you can listen to behaviors across channels, and respond with a personalized message, offering content at the right place and time.
David Lewis, Founder and CEO of DemandGen International, agrees. He wrote in the same e-book that it is essential to give your personas names, plan points, and motives in order to pinpoint what they would be interested in learning more about. Lewis suggests driving engagement with your readers by creating interactive content such as:
– Interactive Quizzes
No matter the expertise, all marketers agree that writing for this new generation takes adaptation. Use the expert tips above to transform your content into a preeminent tool for millennials!
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