Millennials… every day more and more of them join the workforce and become target customers for all kinds of businesses. Some of them are still teenagers, but some of them are already in their 30s. They grew up with MTV, with CDs and video games, witnessed the birth of internet and the rise of mobile phones and social media networks.
And they have their own set of values, quite different than those of their parents, the Baby Boomers. Thus, brands and marketers need to learn how to approach millennials, how to win their trust and turn them into customers. It is the only way–they are the future and they are quite aware of their importance in the consumer market landscape.
One thing your business needs to learn when targeting millennials is that they are very quick to take offence if they feel patronised or addressed in corporate lingo. They have grown up in a turbulent era where big corporate lies (remember Enron?) were exposed and they learned to mistrust “the suits”. Above everything else, they want genuine engagement and direct connection with the brands they love.
How should you reflect this form of addressing in your copy? Here are a few helpful tips:
- Be Brief and To the Point
Millennials are busy and have short attention spans. They do not like big chunks of text, but well formatted, scannable paragraphs, whith lots of white space, lists, and bullet points. Plus, they usually read articles and browse websites on their phones. Thus, you are also constrained by the size of the device to write short and meaningful copy.
This rule is also known as the KISS rule: Keep It Short and Simple. Whenever you feel tempted to elaborate on your blog posts or tutorials, remember this acronym: KISS and keep your audience engaged.
- Use Appropriate Pop Culture References
Memes, celebrity fails, the latest viral videos–these are a part of your millennial prospects’ daily life. And they know exactly what is hot and what is not. This is why you should be very careful about the pop culture references you want to incorporate in your copy. Most precisely, make sure that you understand the real meaning of the reference and that it is not old and “so yesterday news”.
Lack of understanding leads to embarrassing fails that millennials will not let the world forget about. The web pages where marketing mistakes are showcased in a hall of shame of their own will exist for years to come and crop up online every now and then to haunt your reputation.
- Write as an Equal, Not an Expert
Millennials hate being patronised by authority figures. When they read a piece of content, even a helpful tutorial, they prefer a friendly, peer-to-peer approach. They do not react well to a “watch the expert and learn” tone of voice.
Brands need to learn to make friends with millennials. Their copy must sound unpretentious, genuinely helpful, and relatable. So, step down from your pedestal and write for millennials as if you were showing a friend how to solve a problem.
- Make Your Copy Easy to Share
Sharing is caring–that is definitely one of the mottos of the millennials. And they truly love sharing every bit of information they find interesting, useful, or entertaining with their social media friends. This means a lot of free publicity for you–the chance of reaching new audiences without any effort or cost.
This means that you have to help your prospects by creating easily shareable content. For example, critical paragraphs where you include key information should have the length of a tweet (280 characters at the present).
- Proofread, Proofread, and Proofread Again
Few things are punished as harshly in the online world as typos and grammar mistakes, but typos usually take the cake. From inadvertent humour to embarrassing misspellings, your mistakes will be shared, stored on various websites, and shared again and again.
This is why proofreading is more important than ever. In the past, embarrassing printing errors could be shredded or burned. In the internet age, they live forever and they can hurt your reputation when you least expect it.