What Kind of Copywriting Appeals to Millennials?

Shane Hall


June 9, 2017 (Updated: May 16, 2023)

woman taking a mobile picture of another woman at a restaurant

There’s no denying that Millennials, or Generation Y, are the prime market at the moment. With a range that still accepts current teenagers but also extends to folks in their early 30s, they cover a wide set of potential markets compared to the older Generation X and the younger Generation Z. Most were acquainted with smartphones and tablets early in life, and they have a particular focus on independence and sharing personal life details, sometimes crassly simplified as the “me generation.”

Unless you target exclusively children or the middle age and senior citizen age ranges, chances are your business has some appeal to the millennial market. The question becomes: what kind of copywriting is most likely to draw millennial customers, and the most effective at delivering your advertising points? Read on to see some of the most important things to consider when writing toward the millennial audience. These are some things you can use to better outline your specific needs when hiring freelance writers.

Attention and Interactivity

Millennials are the generation most comfortable with immediate interaction in order to solve a problem, such as live chat or messages exchanged on social media. This kind of to-the-minute brand interaction creates a stronger familiarity, so be sure to sell up these kinds of things in your business copy if they apply. Millennials are also shown to value customization options, from multiple colors on a t-shirt to diverse character creation in an online game, so both could also be mentioned in greater detail.

Here is an example of taking a millennial-targeted action and strengthening its writing. Accenture Strategy notes that in their study, 73% of subjects age 18-34 agreed that small, free personal trinkets increase their loyalty to a current brand they support. Let’s say you want to try this with your customers. Instead of sending out the same item to everyone, provide customization options and sell them up in your copy. If that’s unfeasible, you could have a link where customers can give their thoughts on the gesture. Whatever you do, make it impossible to miss.

Subtlety and Specificity

Millennials were the first generation to grow up within a lightning-fast culture, where anything that was embarrassing, dishonest, or otherwise unpleasant or irritating to large groups of people could become an endless punchline. A bad, in-your-face commercial could go viral in a negative light if it strikes a chord with enough people. So how do you draw attention while ensuring that this doesn’t happen?

The most universal tip is to never address millennials as if they define themselves by the label. Avoid cheesy buzzwords, phony, unwarranted hashtags, Urban Dictionary terms, and anything else that will date your message in the effort to look “with it.” Millennials are just people, who can see the value of specific product benefits or an objective worthy of support. Focus on a particular ideal customer in the millennial range, and make advertisements that appeal to their needs or worldviews directly. This concept alone puts you far ahead of other businesses that try to sell to Generation Y.

Openness and Availability

This is a simple concept that can be difficult to grasp for those outside the generation. Millennials are referred to as the digital natives, but their position is more unique than the phrase suggests. They are the first generation to grow up with the rise of social media and connectivity, without it being present from birth like with Generation Z. The attitude of “we’ll solve your problem quickly” is much more welcome among the millennial generation compared to those prior, but they still understand and appreciate a human connection first.

Appeal to the social nature of people by adding lines that ask questions of your customers, or ask for feedback on something you’re working on. While it can be scary, asking for feedback in the open environment of the Internet implies confidence and a willingness to engage with customers, especially in the eyes of millennials. Just make sure you follow up on these implications by really talking to people who contact you on social media.

Transparency and Originality

In general, millennials tend to be more easily offended by corporate tactics. It seems a week never passes without a corporation unintentionally offending thousands of people with their latest commercial. This is a generation who grew up in the midst of middle eastern conflicts and economic recessions. They react harshly to sugar-coated words and prefer a straight, honest approach at a serious message. Failing that, jokes are fine, as long as you do not try to make memes. Meme participation belongs on things like a Facebook page, and never in professional copywriting or advertising.

Instead of slyly trying to get in on current fads, be original. Millennials value originality and will happily support a company if their copywriting and presentation suggests that they have a new, better, revived, etc. way of doing something. Even a pizzeria that makes their pizzas the old-fashioned Tuscan way can sell up what makes them special, which in turn makes them seem “new” and special compared to competitors. You don’t have to forcefully make everything seem new, but try to push the idea of new experiences someone can have with your products or services.

There are always shifting rules on how to best reach millennials and get their attention through various social media sites. However, there are rarely discussions of how to put these tactics into the actual words that they read on your webpage, emails, landing pages, etc. Getting lots of hits to a website through your business’ social media profiles won’t matter if your copywriting comes off as fake, vague, derivative, or just plain boring.

All in all, millennials are just like any other age group. They are people with diverse needs and personalities, but they tend to prefer interactivity, customization, social media interaction, attention, originality, and transparency more than any tested buying demographic. Whatever your current needs, whether writing blog content, polishing up sales funnel copy, or even writing the script for audio content, do your business a favor and consult a professional copywriter who can work with you to get the best results for your target demographics.

Author Image - Shane Hall
Shane Hall

CopyPress writer

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