Suave, college-educated, go-getters- these are some of the adjectives that describe millennials. Born in the internet boom that is the ‘80s and the ‘90s and coming of age at the turn of the century, millennials or Generation Y, as they are variously referred, are tech-savvy. In part, this is due to early exposure to computers and the internet, and which complemented the radio, television and print media that were the norm for the generations before them.
As a cohort, practically being raised in the age of the internet- with access to unlimited information at their fingertips- has made millennials to be a discerning lot. This is reflected in their spending and consumption habits; whether in making a substantial purchase such as a car, or buying a gift, they demand quality irrespective of the brand.
For publishers, millennials represent a huge market for their products. This is so as the millennials are slowly but surely constituting the majority at the workplace as they replace the Baby Boomers who are retiring. To maximise on this market, publishers have no recourse but to align their strategies accordingly to cash in on this demographic group. And how can publishers do so? By being deliberate in regards to what they, as publishers, churn out as content, how their engage with the millennials as readers, costing of their products, platforms to access the product and timing.
When it comes to content, quality is the watchword. As an exposed group, millennials are turned on by content that appeals to both their intellect and tugs at their emotions, without the need for calling a bluff. And should you be the kind of publisher that is consistent in regards to the quality of what you publish (one way or another, they will discover you if you publish quality), you will have won them over. In return, they will reward you with their loyalty and recommend you to their friends and peers; which is essentially free and unparalleled marketing on your behalf.
Inherent in content too is variety. Variety can be thought of in terms of genres (news, fiction, non-fiction) and how these genres are presented. For example, news can be presented as traditional reportage of facts as in conventional media, or the same news may be spiced up with personal opinions and commentary à la Gizmodo or it may all be a farce as with The Onion. In short, millennials know a good meme when they see one and they are liberal in matters content and how that content is presented. Plus, the small matter of readers’ feedback, in the form of comments, being a goldmine of puns and wordplay and which help to popularise these publishers. In fact, this has spawned a whole sub-culture of online communities which congregate around such publishers, with some of the ‘news’ being curated from the readers. Think Reddit.
Which brings in the question of how much as a publisher are you engaged with your millennial readers? Which answer is social media. As millennials spend a huge chunk of their lives logged in on the internet, with social media as the cornerstone, you would be missing a huge opportunity as a publisher by, say, limiting yourself to paper publishing only. A good place to start would be to have an engaging and responsive website that can be accessed on a variety of computing devices, then gradually build on your social media presence with engaging content and insights, more so, those that are of interest to the millennials.
Lastly, timing is essential to how you engage with millennials, more so, on social media. This includes publishing what is relevant and what is fresh. If you are an online news publisher, this might include what is trending by the day or the hour or the particular genre that is in fashion at the moment if you publish the genre of Young Adult or New Adult- the age brackets that capture millennials.