Millennials, baby boomers and the content conundrum

The need to transcend generational divides and produce compelling content for all leaves content marketers with a seemingly impossible battle on their hands. But are things really so tricky?

Every time analysts pin down the content consumption patterns of an age group, they seem to change. It turns out, for instance, that millennials actually love reading the news (with nearly 40% happy to pay for it) and are not the TV-shunning radio-rebuffing bunch they are often assumed to be.

Ahead of the curve as usual, Content Desk unpicked some of the problems of intergenerational marketing in August – with sexy overtones!

It seems that all we really know is that we know nothing when it comes to crafting content with universal appeal in such a diverse world. Can content marketers feasibly navigate these treacherous grounds?

Intergenerational content with a pinch of salt

However treacherous the ground may seem, it’s worth pointing out that melodrama is the real road to ruin. After all, singling out millennials or baby boomers and treating them as content aliens from another planet goes against the whole idea of inclusive content marketing with widespread appeal.

Content marketers must remember that, however peculiar other generations may seem, using outlandish tactics to gain their interest is rarely a good idea. Going too far can result in pathetic efforts to look hip and trendy if pushing for millennial traffic, and patronising attempts to appear sage and world-weary if enticing baby boomers.

Nevertheless, some insights into what content performs best with certain age groups, and the platforms most popular for consuming content, can be illuminating.

Think about what content people consume…

There are some subtle generational differences in the types of content different demographics consume.

In a survey of millennials, for example, 70% said their main reason for sharing content was that it made them laugh, and nearly half said they tend to abandon overlong content.

So millennials may be particularly partial to humour, but what this shows is that generational targeting doesn’t require a complete content overhaul. Concise content with an amusing twist is a safe traffic driver irrespective of age.

…and where they consume it

It’s no surprise that millennials are mobile content maniacs while baby boomers are much more likely to spend time reading newspapers and periodicals. It seems obvious that content marketers targeting a younger audience should focus their efforts on digital rather than print media, and vice versa.

Yet even here it’s important to be flexible to make the most of your audience. After all, print media is a good example of content with advantages that can’t be obtained anywhere else, irrespective of age differences.

The generation game

When focusing content marketing on different generations, one useful tip is to throw yourself in rather than waste time overthinking the whole ordeal. The consequences of a sudden content lunge to appeal to particular groups can be slightly embarrassing at best and completely counterproductive at worst.

But remember, above all, that everyone approaches content in a similar way – people want authentic, relevant content in a place where they can easily access it. Rather than obsessing over generational differences, it’s this similarity that must be emphasised.

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