Say what you will about Millennials and their affinity for fluff sites like Buzzfeed—recent studies indicate the generation is more engaged by in-depth content than many people would expect.
In fact, one study shows Millennials are extremely active readers. According to the Pew Research Center, members of the generation born between about 1982 and 2000 are reading more books than people over 30. They also read more in-depth news articles and keep up with the news, with 85 percent agreeing that keeping up with national and international news is at least somewhat important to them. Nearly 70 percent say they read the news every day.
Although Millennials lead all other age groups in media consumption on smartphones, that doesn’t mean they are only opting for short, bite-size content. It does, however, mean they’re accessing their news and long-form content in different ways compared to other generations.
For example, Millennials rely more on getting their news from content aggregators like Reddit and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. On social media, they are more likely to follow the news sources of their choice and access stories in that way. On Reddit, they subscribe to various sub-reddits that reflect their interests and access stories that get the most “up-votes” from the community.
An engaged audience
Speaking of “community,” Millennials also care deeply about the “communities” they belong to, formed out of their own interests. These could be include Internet subcultures, social networks or actual physical communities. They care about consuming media they find to be authentic.
And again, while clickbait sites (like Buzzfeed and Upworthy) certainly get a lot of views and shares, that doesn’t mean Millennials are ignoring long-form article and blog content. On the contrary, they show a deep desire for it. Studies show Millennials seek out original news sources and have an appetite for content packed with depth and substance. The success of sites like Medium, Grantland (RIP) and Wait But Why is a testament to those desires.
Based on this information, content marketers and creators need to realize younger audiences are just as interested, if not more interested, in deep, thought-provoking content as they are in easily digestible clickbait. Whenever possible, content developers should attempt to make both types of content a part of their marketing strategy in creative ways.
Tim Backes is a senior editor with ProPRcopy, a firm that staffs experienced copywriters and editors who assist with a wide range of content marketing campaigns.