The marketer’s guide to writing content for Gen Z

Keep pieces pithy and poignant, and demonstrate your commitment to privacy.

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The arrival of Generation Z poses a new challenge for the marketers.

The oldest of this emerging cohort are barely beyond 20, and yet they already hold an estimated $143 billion in spending power.

Marketers have tried to reach Gen Z in many ways, with extremely mixed results.

Let’s review three ways to craft content that’s likely to resonate with this diverse, savvy and rising generation.

1. Create captivating—concise—content.

You might have a tight, compelling storytelling approach, but can you pitch your product in eight seconds or less? That’s all the time you have to reach Generation Zers.

So, get right to the point. Delete unnecessary introductions, trim your word count, and establish your clear purpose straight away.

If you have a Snapchat or Instagram account, you can start making short, snappy ads with limited content. Snapchat Stories, Instagram Stories (and Facebook Stories) all enable you to share an image or a video that appears for just a few seconds and remains on your profile for up to 24 hours.

Whichever platform you choose or use, prioritize pithy pieces that can grab a visitor’s attention within eight seconds or less.

[Looking for more insight into how to reach online audiences? Join us for Ragan’s Social Media Conference at Disney World March 11-13.]

2. Communicate in a personalized, conversational way.

Gen Zers are less merciful than other generations when it comes to tacky sales tactics and obvious attempts at manipulating customers. Growing up with the internet has made them increasingly savvy.

According to Google’s recent report, 26% of teenage shoppers said they expect retailers to deliver a more “personalized” experience based on the customer’s shopping preferences and habits.

You can’t create content that pleases everyone, but you can be original and authentic—and entertaining.

Share personal experiences, answer common questions, or demonstrate how to do something a Gen Zer might want to know more about. Let your genuine personality shine through in your content, and don’t try too hard to be cool. Carefully consider where, when and how you post content, and err on the side of authenticity.

As Michael Brenner writes, “When you successfully deliver hyper-relevant, right-moment, right-channel content, you’re more likely to be the email they’ll click on, the website experience they’ll engage with, or the social media post they’ll share.”

3. Highlight your commitment toward privacy.

 NGen found that 88% of Gen Z respondents agreed with the statement “protecting my privacy is very important to me.”

This generation understands that what goes on the web, stays there, and there is an increasing outcry for companies to do a better job of protecting data.

Whenever you attempt to collect information from Gen Z customers, do so with utmost transparency, and be sure to emphasize your commitment to data safety and security.

Gen Zers also tend to favor platforms that cater to more private, anonymous and ephemeral content through apps such as Whisper, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Secret or Yik Yak. Younger users still post about what they are up to, but they are increasingly selective about how long their content remains on the network—and who gets to see it.

Content creators should focus on direct and private channels to connect with Gen Z audiences, while providing clear, transparent answers on how users’ data is being handled.

4. Create content with a purpose

Just like millennials, Gen Zers want to make a positive difference in the world. If they believe your business is bad for planet—or if they sense your CSR efforts are disingenuous—they’ll quickly write you off.

Gen Z audiences are also skillful at ignoring (or blocking) marketing messaging. To succeed at winning them over, content creators must align their brand with a greater purpose and establish a narrative that captures the imagination and passion of this surging demographic.

To grab more attention, create campaigns that take a stand or support a noble endeavor. Be bold, be purposeful, and clearly connect your company with a movement or goal Gen Zers can get behind.

Rahul Varshneya is the co-founder and president of CurveBreak. Rahul has been featured on Bloomberg TV, Forbes, HuffPost, and Inc.

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