7 minute read
How to create content Generation Z will actually enjoy
Updated on June 16, 2021 by Alexa Lemzy
Generation Z is the age group following Millennials. It is often seen as a challenging demographic to appeal to. Although this is sometimes characterized as just an increased skepticism towards marketing, the reality is more complex. The youngest generation now reaching adulthood differs significantly from previous generations in their preferences, responses, and general attitude towards online content, perhaps even more so than Millennials.
So what are these differences, and how do we create content that appeals to this generation and its values? Keep reading to find out.
Who is Generation Z?
Generation Z is made up of people born between the mid-90s and mid-2000s. The oldest members of Generation Z are now in their early 20s, and the rest will enter adulthood over the next few years. Generation Z represented around 40% of all consumer markets in 2020, and this will only increase as more reach adulthood.
Much like Millennials before them, Generation Z’s relationship with the internet is a defining characteristic. Unlike Millennials, however, the internet was already highly commercialized by the time Generation Z started using it. This has resulted in them using the internet and engaging with online content differently and showing preferences for different types of content.
Besides the way they consume content, they also differ in the values they aspire to and respect in companies. Businesses will need to understand these key differences to communicate effectively with the youngest generation.
Here are our top 5 values and characteristics that appeal to Generation Z:
- Social and environmental impact
- Personal communication
- Mobile-friendly content
It’s not just traditional education that young people are skeptical about. Many feel that traditional employment does not offer a secure and successful career, and instead seeks self-employment, business ownership, and other ways to earn a living. 53% of Generation Z members in 2020 intended to start their own business. This is one of the main drivers behind their interest in self-improvement.
Content-focused on an entrepreneurial mindset, providing practical business education, or otherwise focused on self-driven success appeals to these ideals. Furthermore, the high value placed on entrepreneurship and self-driven success can make personal branding a key component of how young people perceive you and your business.
Self-improvement and self-education are important values for Generation Z. More young people question the benefits of racking up college debts after seeing so many of the previous generation invest in qualifications that made little contribution to their success. Instead, many young people prefer to seek alternative sources of education online.
They want to focus their education on the specific industries and areas that they are interested in, and seek out a wide range of content from experts to get the most up-to-date information. As a result, educational content can be a powerful way to attract Generation Z and get them interested in not just your business itself, but your approach to your industry. A focus on educating and informing through your content should not neglect entertainment value, however.
Educational content that appeals to Generation Z could include:
- Short videos on Tik Tok, Snapchat, and Instagram don’t give much time to get into detail but can draw attention to your brand and more in-depth social media content
- YouTube channels can be a great way to deliver more detailed content while also enabling organic discovery
- Content-based on viewer comments and requests is a big benefit for viewers on social apps
Besides enabling young people to prioritize the topics they actually want to learn about, one of the perceived benefits of this approach to self-improvement is that it can serve as entertainment as well. Enabling viewers to dive deeply into a subject that catches their interest is an important part of blurring that line between entertainment and education. YouTube is a great platform for this kind of content, letting you build a large library of content focused on specific topics you can refer to in future videos. As a result, viewers who are interested in your business or a subject mentioned in your content can immediately pursue that interest instead of going to other sources of information.
Social and environmental impact
For Generation Z, the social and environmental impact your business has on the world is an important part of your reputation.
Your reputation as an employer is also a key component of your corporate social responsibility.
This doesn’t mean Generation Z wants to see your content and marketing channels pay lip service to these ideas or signal that you are on board with the latest social trend. Instead, they want to see you using your content to promote changes within your industry. For example, instead of simply celebrating that your business has reduced its plastic usage, sharing actionable information on how you did it shows that your business genuinely cares about the issue itself and is helping others in your industry make changes for the better.
Research suggests Generation Z are less responsive to digital marketing, or at least certain types of digital marketing, able to easily filter out and ignore sales pitches. Unlike past generations, young people today are reaching adulthood at a time when technology is able to deliver highly personalized content and messaging. From streaming apps like Netflix to music apps such as Spotify, Generation Z expects the content they find online to be tailored to their preferences. Furthermore, they want to interact with businesses in a more personal and direct way, rather than be the recipient of one-way marketing content.
The ability to communicate directly with content creators and influence their direction is one of the major draws of social media sharing platforms like YouTube and Tik Tok. This principle doesn’t only apply to social media, however. For example, in addition to ensuring your email and text newsletters are relevant to each member, use text polls and surveys to create a discussion and get ideas for future content your audience wants to know more about.
- 75% of Generation Z uses their smartphone as their main device for online browsing and social media.
- According to TextMagic, more than a third of young people spend at least 2 hours a day on their smartphones.
As a result, if your content isn’t suitable for mobile, you have already lost a big chunk of your potential audience.
In part, this means creating content that is easy to consume in typical mobile usage scenarios. For example, does your video content use large subtitles that can be read easily on a small screen? If viewers can’t benefit from your video without audio then they can’t engage with your content in situations where they can’t put earbuds in, or in environments that are too noisy to hear clearly.
Social media platforms like Snapchat and Tik Tok emphasize short content that can be digested in just a couple of minutes at most. That doesn’t mean that all mobile-oriented content has to be brief, however. On the other end of the scale, a podcast allows you to spend multiple hours getting into an in-depth discussion of a topic. While many podcasts also include video, they can be enjoyed as audio-only content. As a result, your audience can learn from your content while performing other tasks such as commuting or working out.
The right content strategy will engage Generation Z with your business and personal brand. To create content that appeals to Generation Z, businesses need to understand their values and perspectives. Furthermore, businesses need to adapt to the way they consume content and what they want to gain from the content they enjoy. Increased personalization and alignment with the goals and values of your audience are key parts of this.
Content for Generation Z FAQs
Who is Generation Z?
Generation Z is made up of people born between the mid-90s and mid-2000s. The oldest members of Generation Z are now in their early 20s, and the rest will enter adulthood over the next few years.
What values does Generation Z respect in companies?
Here are our top 5 values and characteristics that appeal to Generation Z. Entrepreneurship. Self-improvement. Social and environmental impact. Personal communication. Mobile-friendly content.
What types of educational content appeal to Generation Z?
Educational content that appeals to Generation Z could include: short videos on Tik Tok, Snapchat, and Instagram, YouTube videos, and content-based on viewer comments and requests is a big benefit for viewers on social apps.