Optimising Content For Your Audience: Baby Boomers vs. Generation Z
This is a guest post by Ellan Dineen, a Marketing Associate at Design Wizard. Find out more about Ellan at the bottom of this post.
Regardless of your writing skills, there are a lot of factors that affect how content is perceived. While some marketing experts will prioritize search engine optimisation and semantics, the majority of website owners would like to have well-written content.
But in order to create quality content, you have to know your audience. Certain articles will not fly with younger generations (take, for example, those on pension funds) and older generations will not enjoy those geared towards readers in their teens (news on the latest Instagram influencer). Same goes for the type of industry you’re writing for, the gender of your target audience or the location of the readers – these varying demographics may have different priorities when it comes to the content they seek out.
However, in this post, we’ll focus on age being the primary demographic factor in our audience. If you want to create online posts that are well optimised for both younger and older generations, then continue reading to get our top tips!
Characteristics of Baby Boomers
Baby Boomers are generations between 1946 and 1964. Depending on who is reading this, they could be your parents and grandparents – or maybe you’re one yourself!
For them, the internet is a relatively new thing and its invention is a relatively fresh memory of theirs. While more and more people are adapting to web content, there is still a gap in how people perceive it. Older generations prefer reading articles that are geared towards traditional forms of articles and novels. This is mostly due to the fact that they’re used to purchasing books and reading old-fashioned news columns rather than seeking out online or in-app content.
Baby Boomers are more tolerant in terms of article length. If they are interested in a topic, they won’t mind giving it 10 minutes or more. This makes them an ideal audience for ultimate guides and long-form content.
Characteristics of Generation Z
When we say Generation Z, we refer to all individuals born in the period of mid-1990s to early 2000s. They are in their 20s and are regarded as one of the bigger groups of web users.
Generation Z is highly tech-savvy. In fact, a lot of them prefer video content to written content. However, most of them still read articles if they find the content amusing or engaging enough.
Keep in mind that these individuals are the polar opposite of Baby Boomers: they lack a long attention span, usually don’t like reading excessively long articles and are more interested in instant gratification. For them, short-form content is ideal which is why social media platforms such as Twitter work especially well.
How can you create content that suits both groups?
While it’s really easy to create content for one of these two groups, catering to both of them is extremely hard. The age gap is noticeable. These groups have grown up in totally different times and the way we approach written word (and content in general) has completely changed.
So, how do you create something that is good for both of them? Here are 4 factors you need to consider:
- Ideal Content Length
While middle-aged and elderly people have a lot of patience, this isn’t true for Generation Z. Ideally, you should find a compromise between the two groups. Your articles should be somewhere between 500 to 1000 words; anything above that and you might lose Gen Z.
- Writing Style
Young people love slang and catchy titles. But the Baby Boomers may not be familiar with such expressions. So, in order to find a middle ground, use phrasing that is free-flowing but that isn’t especially modern.
Try avoiding slang and phrases that have been invented in the last 5 years. Same goes for archaic phrases. Your best bet is using correct, proper English grammar that should be understandable to everyone.
No matter what, make sure to be direct, interesting and to drive a point with every sentence. Empty phrases and sentences will lose your readers regardless of their age. In terms of the writing style, you can never go wrong with engaging content.
Formatting is another important element. As already mentioned, younger readers will prefer catchy phrases and short paragraphs. In fact, they might prefer 2 to 3 sentences per paragraph.
On the other hand, people in the older generation tend to prefer to read longer, meaningful paragraphs and without too many visual aids. For them, constant use of bold or italic can become a hassle as it will become increasingly harder to read and may disrupt the flow of the sentence for them. Try to find a middle ground between two approaches.
- Visual Aids
Lastly, you can’t forget visual content, that is pictures and videos. Visual aids are always a good way to break up the text. However, you should still use them in moderation.
While younger generations like memes and lots of stuff on their screen, the elderly would prefer an image to add content here and there.
Instead of stuffing the article with all sorts of stuff, make sure to add one picture and a video that will work as an additional stimulation for the younger generation while not discouraging Baby Boomer readers.
And there you have it!
While creating content that caters and appeals to a wide age range may seem impossible, with enough planning and thought, it’s easily achievable. It’s also important to remember that content is king and if done correctly, should be evergreen and ever-engaging to people from all walks of life!
Ellan Dineen is the Marketing Associate at Design Wizard. When she’s not hard at work in the Marketing Department, Ellan can be found en route to foreign lands with a book in her hand and a podcast in her ear. With a Master’s in English and Diploma in Social Media Marketing, she knows the importance of staying up-to-date with the industry’s latest trends and insights and is keen to pass these tips on to her readers.