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When Content Crashes: 5 Content Mistakes That Turn Off Millennials

When Content Crashes: 5 Content Mistakes That Turn Off Millennials

It's a truism in marketing: content marketing was custom made for Millennials, but some content turns them off.

If your ad looks like an ad or is unoriginal or deceptive, it's going to fall flat. To effectively align your content with Millennial sensibilities, you need to understand who they are, what they care about and what turns them off.

Who Are Millennials?

Born between 1980 and 2000, Millennials are 92 million strong and have an estimated purchasing power of more than $600 billion. Unlike Baby Boomers, they're internet-savvy and comfortable navigating e-commerce sites and price comparison tools.

Those skills have made Millennials more sceptical of traditional marketing, and more amenable to inbound strategies. Consider, for example, the following facts:

  • 90 percent of Millennials trust recommendations from friends and family over those from brands.
  • 84 percent of Millennials say their purchases are influenced by user-generated content.
  • 84 percent of Millennials don't trust "traditional advertising."

The takeaway: Millennials like authenticity and transparency. They don't like overt sales pitches, empty promises or brands that seem to prioritize profits over people.

How to Turn Off a Millennial

When you send content to Millennials, expect it to be scrutinized. They're sophisticated consumers who will look for any sign of disingenuousness. If they see it, they'll move on.

That said, here are 5 common content marketing mistakes you need to avoid when marketing to Millennials:

1. That's Not Content!

Years ago, there was a popular TV show called "Wild Kingdom" sponsored by Mutual of Omaha. The host, Marlin Perkins, would tell viewers all about wildlife on the African savannah for 30 minutes, and he'd always finish with something like, "Just like this mother lion protects her cubs, insurance from Mutual of Omaha will protect your family."

Talk about your non-sequiturs. For Millennials, content is about helping them solve problems. Peppering your content with company logos, obvious sales pitches and intrusive calls-to-action is a surefire way to turn off Gen Y.

2. That's Déjà vu All Over Again

Ever have a friend tell you a great joke--that he's already told you three times? Spoiler alert: it's not funny. In fact, it's annoying. Nothing turns off consumers more than rehashed content pretending to be original, and no group is more turned off by unoriginal content than Millennials. Here's a tip: if you think you can fool Millennials by giving them essentially the same content with a different title, think again.

3. I Hear Crickets…

There's a reason Millennials constitute 59 percent of Instagram users and the largest share of Pinterest users. It's the same reason 78 percent use Snapchat "on a daily basis." Those sites serve up digital content that's visual, entertaining and informative in bite-size, easy-to-digest, visual pieces. Said differently, those sites are not boring. If you want to lose Millennials, give them long-winded, mind-numbing, lacklustre content. If you want them to trust you, keep it visual, concise and interesting.

4. What's It Have to Do with Me?

Millennials don't want content that's for all consumers (including all Millennial consumers). They want it personalized and relevant. That means marketers need to gather granular data about their specific interests and problems and use effective market segmentation strategies to deliver content that speaks to them as individuals.

5. What Are You Trying to Pull?

Deception is a cardinal marketing sin for Millennials. If they think you're trying to get over on them, they'll abandon your website, and your brand. Your content needs to deliver on whatever promises it makes. If it doesn't, Gen Y will know it, and they'll punish you for it.


According to HubSpot:

"Millennials are spending an average of 25 hours per week online - and they're craving content-driven media…So, what makes this type of content really resonate with this group? Millennials trust what they feel is authentic."

When it comes to effective content marketing for Millennials, the operative word is "authentic." To build trust in your brand, give them content they can trust, make it relevant, keep it interesting and make sure it's original.

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