Forget the next generation of Star Wars, let’s talk about the next generation of content consumer. Yes, we’ve barely got our heads around Generation Y, yet the exciting thing about content marketing is the pace at which new developments occur, keeping us on our toes as we adapt our strategy to appeal to a constantly changing world. And as we blink bleary-eyed into 2016 , it looks like there is a new Generation firmly on the block; one which Google Think has dubbed a “powerful force in consumer culture”. Generation C stands for creation, curation, connectivity and community and it is thought that the majority of this group is made of the Millennials which have kept us so busy in recent times.
Of course, the term Generation C is not brand new. It was born a few years back as user-generated content began to peep its head over the parapet, and was unique in that it is a generation not defined by age but by behaviour. Generation C consumers build networks, construct communities and develop their very identities through digital content. They are the social networkers, the avid YouTubers, but most importantly they are the generation that rejects the hard sell. And if your business isn’t already focusing on engaging and targeting Generation C in the coming months, you could soon start to feel a bit behind the game.
Here are a few top tips to consider when focusing your content marketing efforts on Generation C:
1. Develop a presence in online communities but don’t go in too hard
Profile your target customer with some good old-fashioned research and analytics; find out when and where they are networking online and be prepared to develop your presence in the relevant communities. Generation C thrives on engagement so offer expert advice, encourage and invite discussion, facilitate conversations, but whatever you do, don’t use force. Your aim is to develop a relationship with your customers and show you are an authentic business, one they can trust.
2. Ensure your content offers an emotional impact
If you connect well with a Generation C customer, you are connecting with their community too. Get it wrong and you are likely to incur the rejection of the community too. This generation is all about shareable content, as sharing with their networks builds credibility within these communities, and the most shareable content provokes a reaction. Plan your content to trigger emotions – make them laugh, cry or curious and you may well grab their attention. Quizzes or sharing stories are a great way to catch Generation C’s eye.
3. Show your human side
This consumer relies on their networking for recommendations of goods and services. Time is short in this fast-paced world and Generation C have learned to turn to the online world for the information they need. Show the team behind your brand, build trust in the world of social communities with expert content and engage with responses – remember Steve Jobs and his introduction of each new Apple product going viral? He became the trusted advisor, sharing his expertise with online communities.
4. Show that you care about the customer, not just about the revenue
As we have mentioned, trust is key to Generation C. Show that your brand is a problem solver and that your business grew from a need to help meet customer needs. The Content Marketing Institute cites Etsy as the perfect example of a business which appeals to Generation C – the founders’ story shows they solved a problem, helping vendors to sell their wares, offering a variety of useful services without the problems they were encountering on eBay. And they haven’t done half badly…
5. Stand for something
Generation C consumers have a keen interest in integrity and companies that stand for a cause. Consider widening your appeal by aligning yourself with a cause and show that you give back through content that reveals the team behind the brand. This type of consumer will feel better about spending their money and doing business with your organisation if you stand for something that is cohesive with their personal principles. Plus, the type of content that brings awareness to changing the world and shows your company is invested in this, is just the sort of thing that is likely to be shared by the Generation C community.Ben Hollom
January 6, 2016