Millennials trust user-generated content more than they do professionally-written web content

I just read an interesting article about millennials and trust on the GetSpokal blog.

According to the blog post:

Millennials read your content in full-awareness that it may be biased because it was written for the author’s personal monetary gain. And this reduces the amount of trust they have in what you’re saying. In fact, millennials are less trusting of others than older Americans are, with just 19% of Millennials saying most people can be trusted, compared with 31% of Gen Xers, 37% of Silents and 40% of Boomers.

This is a fantastic discussion about how millennials perceive professional web content. They don’t trust it because they know marketers have something to gain from it. It makes sense. The author suggests several ways to build trust including: open communication, transparency, interaction via blog posts and social networks, creating quality web content, and even being environmentally conscious.

Here’s a key takeaway about quality content: it’s not about how wonderful your company, product, or service is; it’s about what’s in it for the reader. We’re all a bit selfish that way, millennials, gen-Xers, and baby boomers alike: we all want to know “What’s in it for me?”

Re-framing Features into Benefits

So, while you’re thinking about how wonderful your company, product, or service is (in other words, all of your great features), re-frame those thoughts into benefits to your customers. How can they benefit from your awesomeness?

For example, if you sell designer shoes, you could write web content that discusses the features of those shoes: brand name, pretty buckles, high tech materials, and so forth. But, what do all those features really mean to the customer? Does the brand reflect the customer’s values? Will they feel proud to be associated with that brand? How will they feel when wearing those shoes? How do the high tech materials make the shoes more comfortable or durable?

Incorporating User-Generated Content

From there, you could incorporate user-generated content such as online reviews, testimonials, or comments. Give your customers a voice and then be available to respond. Incorporating user-generated web content can contribute to your trust building efforts as well as serve as social proof that you’re delivering.

Millennials will likely approach your web content warily. They don’t trust you yet. How will you earn that trust? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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