5 Content Marketing Tactics the Connected Generation Can’t Resist

content marketing tactics

Answering audience questions is huge part of my work as a content marketing speaker.

At each of the last three presentations I’ve given on content marketing tactics, an audience member has raised their hand and asked the exact same question:

“How do we market to Generation Y?”

This question is always prefaced by some statistic or idea regarding Gen Y’s disinterest in building relationships with the people and brands they do business with.

This is a very common perception about the habits of the Generation Y consumer with mid-sized and small business owners.

Now if we believe that Generation Y is truly not interested in building relationships with the people and brands they do business with, then we content marketers, would have a serious problem.

Fortunately, the belief that Generation Y doesn’t value relationships with people or brands is complete crap.

What these audience members are really asking is:

“I have no idea how to harness content marketing tactics or social media or email marketing and the idea that an entire generation of consumers are using these tools scares the shit out of me… What am supposed to do?”

Marketers and small business owners are lost in the sea of content marketing tactics.

Understanding these tactics is the foundation of evolving from amateur to professional content marketing.

The Connected Generation

Generation Y isn’t 17 anymore.

I’m 35 years old. I’m a member of Generation Y. Most of my friends are members of Generation Y.

I can tell you, with conviction, that the consumers of Generation Y is starving for a deep relationship with the people and brands they do business with.

I’m just not sure we should be thinking “Gen Y” as a target market.

According to Think With Google, we shouldn’t be focused on demographics at all.

intent marketing

Rather than focus on flawed demographics, Google suggests an intent (or use) based content marketing strategy.

It is a waste of time and resources to focus solely on demographics such as, Generation Y, Generation X or the Baby Boomers.

As a marketer who’s expertise is content marketing, these generational groupings have no bearing on how we position our value message.

In better aligning with Google’s suggested “intent-based marketing,” today there are only two generations:

The Connected Generation defined as individuals willing and open to communications, building relationships and ultimately make buying decisions based on digital content and interactions.

The Unconnected Generation is everyone else.  Common requirements of Unconnected Generation consumers is the necessity for in-person transactions, unwillingness to communicate via email or other digital tools and general skepticism about the Internet.

Nowhere in these two generations is there any defining characteristic based on the year a person was born.

According to Socialnomics the fastest growing population on Facebook is 45-55 year olds with almost 55% of this population now active users on Facebook.  That’s elder Generation X, younger Baby Boomers.

They shouldn’t be on Facebook?  They should be reading the newspaper, listening the radio and waiting for the postman to drop off the day’s mail.

Isn’t that the characterization we lay upon this population?

The only way to explain the fact that this grouping of consumers is the fastest growing on Facebook is that age doesn’t matter when it comes to digital adoption.

You either communicate, build relationships and make buying decisions online (and are thus part of the Connected Generation) or you do not.

Whether you’re 17, 37 or 67 makes no difference.

SEE ALSO: A Completely Mad Strategy for Selling Online

Marketing to the Connected Generation

connected generation content marketing strategyMad Men taught us how to market to the Unconnected Generation.  All the traditional marketing techniques used by businesses for the last hundred years work on the Unconnected Generation.

These are just a few of the traditional interruption style marketing efforts that are crucial to attracting the Unconnected Generation.

Remember, consumers who don’t leverage the Internet are unable to research the products and services available in the marketplace unless their life is interrupted with advertisements or unsolicited phone calls.

These traditional marketing tactics will not work on the Connected Generation.

The Connected Generation is spoiled.

The Internet has changed how Connected Generation consumers decide what to buy. Google’s call this online decision-making moment the Zero Moment of Truth.

To grow your business in the modern marketplace, you must capture the Connected Generation consumer in their Zero Moment of Truth. The following 5 content marketing tactics will help…

5 Content Marketing Tactics the Connected Generation Can’t Resist

1) Intimacy

The Connected Generation wants to know that there is a human being behind our brand.

Building intimacy into our content marketing strategy is easy… just inject a bit of your personal life.  

You have kids?  Mention them.

You like the Buffalo Bills? Describe your sorrow.

You do homemade taxidermy? Weird, but I’m sure there’s some interesting stories.

The point is, a little bit of personality… a little bit of behind the scenes… a little bit of who you are as a person (even if you’re one person in a huge corporate brand) builds intimacy with readers and the deeper relationship the Connected Generation is looking for.

2) Vulnerability / Humility

Failure can often be our most powerful content marketing tool.

The ability to admit the mistakes we make and help others learn from those experiences shows vulnerability and humility.

The authority we’re trying to convey through content marketing loses value if we can’t admit and be honest about failure.  No one believes we are perfect and by showing vulnerability and humility we disarm our audience.

When we step off our soapbox and discuss the years of struggling and learning it took to achieve our expertise, success becomes more attainable to our audience… and we’ve positioned ourself to be a resource.

3) Rich Media

The Connected Generation wants to build deeper connections with the people and brands they follow and do business with online.  A stock photo stolen from Google Images and 450 words of text can only do so much to build relationships.  To take relationships deeper our content needs to move past text to audio, video and slideshows.

Consider adding:

These types of larger works (throw quality eBooks in the mix as well) show dedication and commitment to your work, a trait the Connected Generation is looking for.

4) Social Proof

Not every piece of content with value to your business will be created by you.

Testimonials, recommendations and reviews are the Connected Generation referral.  The testimonials, recommendations and reviews you collect on your own website as well as on review sites Google Local and Yelp are vital to convincing the Connected Generation your business is legitimate and trustworthy.

This is called social proof and its must have component in marketing to the Connected Generation.

5) Feedback

Comments and customer feedback are vital content marketing tools as they provide a completely different yet equally powerful form of social proof.

Comments happen on your blog, on social media outposts like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ and through email marketing.

Comments are where the magic happens in content marketing engagement.

Comments are the conversation that used to happen solely across a desk.   When the Connected Generation is willing to comment and have conversations with a brand it shows engagement and the brands they’re engaged with, they do business with.

SEE ALSO: Does Content Marketing Work?

The Rub

The Connected Generation needs a completely different set of content marketing tactics than we’re used to as marketers.  The Connected Generation is searching to build relationships through the content they consume.

By transforming our content marketing tactics, we can develop a strategy that Connected Generation consumers cannot resist.

Thank you and Good luck,

I am Ryan Hanley

What say you?

image credit: giphy.