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Marketing to Millenials - long form content

Advertising’s natural evolution has taken us towards a less is more type mentality. Our obsession with exposure and eyeballs on ads has lead us down the path of creating lots of snapshot ads and short, snack-able content. Measuring success via the amount of impressions. As such we’re in a rut with our (long form) content production and most brands lack depth to follow on from any earned exposure. We’re talking about quick pieces of content we can skim through while watching television or avoiding awkward family scenarios. This isn’t something we can blame ourselves for too much, with the acceleration of mobile and our adaption to creating ads and content for smaller screens coupled with the rise of Twitter which forces us to condense our comms into 140 characters or less. We’ve naturally fallen victim to ignoring the all-important narrative and depth of communication with consumers.

With the need to be ever present in our consumer’s daily lives and post regularly - even multiple times per day on social media for example - short form snack-able content definitely has its place, there’s no denying that. The key is to ensure there is a healthy balance and your brand or business has enough long form content to engage and inform shoppers as well. It’s all well and good getting eyeballs on your brand or products but what happens when genuinely interested or passionate consumers look below the surface and there’s no unique content to earn their genuine attention? All of your advertising and comms suddenly appear very shallow without the follow through.


Creating long form content in practice

When a consumer is genuinely interested in you or the products you sell, they will take time to engage with your content. They will watch 10 minute plus video content, reviews and interviews. Particularly via social media channels most consumers expect a personal and deep connection with the brand they follow, something an ordinary consumer who isn’t connected with them wouldn’t get.

As a retailer it can sometimes be challenging to think about engaging content that relates to your business. A cosmetics retailer can post videos showing application techniques. A homewares retailer can post pieces with lifestyle imagery that provide inspiration for decorating your home. But what about the retailer of white goods? If you're finding it hard to write longer more engaging pieces then think about telling stories of how your brand has made the lives of people its come into contact with easier. And if that's hard, then think about editorial pieces that position your brand as a curator or thought leader in a related consumer-facing category. For the white goods retailer it might be pieces around kitchen design (goes back to the idea of inspiration and aspiration). For a computer hardware retailer it might be something around picking the right product depending on your needs and categorising customer types based on their needs. Equally it could be a curation of latest technology trends, which will influence our lives in the future.


What about email?

The way we interact with email is interesting. There's an initial inbox scan and maybe an open if the subject line looks good or if you're genuinely interested in what the sender has to say. Then there's a quick skim read of content in a couple of seconds to see if it is worth coming back to later on or spending more time to read subsequently. This is why the stats in this article relating to a Movable Ink survey are so revealing.

For this reason email needs to be considered carefully with regards to long form content. Think of email as perhaps more of a bridge that takes the reader to your site or social pages to read more.


In summary

With all of the digital clutter modern day ‘constantly connected millennials’ are exposed to, the brands who are going to stay genuinely connected to their target audience are the brands who offer more than just clutter and shallow noise. Brands who can really hold consumer’s attention and get their message across will maintain long term relationships with their audience because they are providing something of value.

Make sure you grab the attention of your consumers by the quality of your digital content. This a more significant factor of success than simply the sheer volume of posts and tweets you are producing. The long term winners in digital marketing are the brands who succeed in providing genuinely engaging content. Be a content producer, not just a content publisher.