Eighty-four percent of Millennials (opens as a PDF) turn to user-generated content to inform their purchase decisions.
The good news for marketers? Millennials are digitally savvy, which creates more opportunities to reach them on digital channels.
The not-so-great news for marketers? Millennials don't trust brands — they trust people.
Your Audience Has Trust Issues
Getting a message across to Millennials doesn't mean you need to paint the Internet with ads of 20-somethings in fedoras, taking selfies. Believe me, Millennials already know what they look like.
In order to get a message across to Gen Y, you have to gain their trust. And if you want to gain their trust, you have to build an ongoing relationship by providing valuable, relevant and consistent content that they can rely on.
So, what exactly does this mean? Let's take a closer look at what it means for content to be valuable, relevant and consistent.
- Valuable: Valuable content, above all, is trustworthy and authentic. Your audience isn't stupid. They can smell it if something sounds too good to be true. There are easy ways to make your content more credible, simply by editing, fact-checking and putting effort into a good content experience. But don't forget the opening statistic of this article — Millennials trust people, not robots. Don't be afraid to show off your human side in your content. Inject some personality to differentiate your brand and show that you actually care.
- Relevant: Your content shouldn't only be relevant to your industry — it's imperative that it's relevant to your audience, first and foremost. Delve into your buyer personas to get a deep understanding of what your audience wants. What are their pain points? How can you solve them? Create genuine content that answers these questions. If your audience knows that you understand them, they'll come back for more.
- Consistent: There's nothing worse than the feeling of being let down. Keeping your content consistent means aligning it with your audience's expectations. Frequency is one element of consistency. Beyond that, however, consistency is also what turns uninterested passersby into loyal subscribers. People subscribe because they want more of what they signed up for. Don't let your audience down — keep giving them the content they crave.
Create Content That Helps, Not Sells
It requires real effort to create content that is valuable, relevant and consistent, but these elements will fall into place once marketers understand two things:
1. Content Is Not Advertising. Content marketing is not a new way to shove your brand in people's faces. In fact, it's not about selling at all — it's about helping. It's not enough to simply be there. Brands have to be active, present and genuinely willing to help their customers succeed in order to build a healthy relationship.
2. Content Can't Be Created Simply for the Sake of It. Of course, content needs to align with your business goals. But if you want to gain your audience's trust, you need to create content that will help inform your buyers as they move through the buying process, not hit them over the head with a solution and expect results. Understand what your audience needs to inform their decisions, and give them a piece of content that serves the purpose of making their lives easier.
Millennials won't buy from brands they don't trust. Start gaining trust by building a relationship with valuable, relevant and consistent content, and you'll be well on your way to getting through to Millennials.
Victoria Hoffman is the content and community manager at Toronto-based Uberflip, a platform that helps marketers create, manage and optimize content experiences. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.