Marketing to millennials: the do’s and don’ts of applying digital PR


As one of the most fast-paced and ever-changing environments to work in, marketing and public relations have always had their challenges — whether it be identifying target audiences or constantly having to think outside the box to reach new consumers. One of the biggest challenges we face, however, comes in the form of people born between the 1980’s and the early 2000’s: millennials. They are a generation which refuses to adhere to traditional marketing techniques such as newspaper ads or sales calls, and a generation which is paving a whole new path for marketing and PR.

There has been a shift in the conventional working culture which is seeing more traditional marketers scratch their heads: start ups with a more chilled work environment are popping up all over the place, and the younger working generation have more of an interest in working for pleasure rather than fat salaries. The average millennial demands useful, engaging content which they can access anywhere in the world — at any time — and share instantly with whomever they wish. So then, how do we create and market the content we know, or think we know, they’re interested in?

Old school is out

Advances in technology and digital communication prove a challenge for any marketer hoping to capture and retain the attention of the sought after millennial. Consumer power has never been higher with the average user accessing content on their smartphones, constantly browsing the internet for inspiration, and communicating with their friends through social media. This online synchronisation means people are becoming less fooled by ads that constantly pop up on their newsfeed, and rehashed content they’ve seen a thousand times before — they want something more.

Gone are the days where all it took was one direct mail merge, or magazine advert to boost sales. Now, seeing an advert in a magazine, picking up the phone and ordering is becoming a thing of the past. Going online, researching, and reading reviews are now part of a more informed buying process. Bespoke content which is original, exciting, and shareable is a byproduct of this.

Yet, as always, we as marketers have to continually find new ways of engaging with the millennial generation, and a great way to do this, as simple as it sounds, is just to speak to them directly. You have to capture their lifestyle, tone of voice, and really understand who they are and what they want; you’ve got to really nail down your audience research, basically.

Traditional forms of marketing no longer impress younger consumers, and digital PR has to go that extra mile when using compelling content to target millennials. They are people who feel empowered and excited by new content that’s tailored perfectly to what they want to know. This makes them feel that it’s them, rather than their wallets, who are valued by the brands. Armed with that knowledge, we can begin to PR the living daylights out of them successfully.

Reach out, and give them what they want

Millennials are uninterested in content which sounds like it has been regurgitated and offers them nothing they haven’t seen before (nor does anyone for that matter). This is why checking out what is trending in the digital sphere and integrating it into an article, piece of copy, interactive media, even a press release, is an important aspect of creating the personal touch millennials expect. They respond to snappy articles which give them an enjoyable online experience, and respect guidance they find genuinely useful. It’s why sites such as Buzzfeed and blog articles with ‘Top 10…’ have taken the internet by storm.

Digital PR is needed to help create and supplement personalised marketing strategies through building relationships with this audience. And if you do this well, they are more likely to share your content with their peers. Before we even get to creating the content though, substantial audience research is needed to identify specifics in how they’re speaking about a particular product or service. Use these insights not only in the content you create, but also in how you promote it — remember, millennials want to feel like the content is made for them, and them alone. This extends beyond just one piece of content: the brand itself has to convey the message.

At the end of the day, millennials just want to have fun, so go ahead and roll with your instincts in trying out angles and strategies. Create ads which are different and interesting, go mental on your PR campaigns, and outreach because you never know what the end result could be. The traditional world of communications is slowly being taken over by technology, and at the forefront of this change are the millennials; paving the way for creativity and experimental content.

Want to reach out to millennials, but unsure where to start? Luckily, we’re really good at creating targeted content and PR strategies, and also love talking about it. Shoot over an email for a chat.

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