Creating Content for the Net Generation

in Content Marketing, Resources

Way back in 1997, Don Tapscott wrote about the Net Generation in Growing Up Digital. The premise was simple enough; that we were witnessing the first generation of digital natives – kids growing up never having known a non-digital world – and that it would have a profound effect on both them and society in general.

A decade and change further on, Tapscott’s new book, Grown Up Digital, revisits these ideas with the benefit of extensive research and experience, and identifies eight characteristics of the Net Generation, namely:

  1. Freedom

  2. Customisation

  3. Scrutiny

  4. Integrity

  5. Collaboration

  6. Entertainment

  7. Speed

  8. Innovation

What Generation is Your Content For?

Creating great content means connecting with your audience, so needless to say, these eight ‘Net Gen Norms’ will impact the types of content that we should be creating.

At the very least, it’s worth asking whether the content that you create is likely to connect with the Net Generation based on these factors. In short, what generation are you creating content for? If part, or all, of your audience is likely to have been born in the twenty years after 1977, then you might need to spend some time getting to know them a bit better.

And even if that’s not your market right now, it soon will be. As the biggest baby boom since the Baby Boom, the Net Generation will be transforming an industry near you soon.

The Net Generation Opportunity (and Challenge)

Most excitingly, the Net Generation also provides content creators with some pretty big opportunities – provided we create content on their terms.

More than any other generation, the internet has given Net Genners the tools to scrutinise the businesses and organisations around them. They don’t believe the hype. They research products and services online before making buying decisions and they trust the recommendations of their peers.

Highly tuned BS detectors are forcing companies to create detailed content, free from slick sales pitches and hyperbole. That combination of ’scrutiny’ and the importance of integrity, creates an obvious opportunity for smart organisations to connect through content and a willingness to participate online.

The Net Generation Require Content Marketing

In fact, there’s very little about the Net Gen Norms as described by Tapscott that doesn’t fit nicely into the ethos of content marketing:

  • Informative content allows consumers to make their own decisions and positions content creators as trusted resources – regardless of whether they are traditional media resources, brands, organisations or private individuals

  • Which, in turn, helps feed online reputations

  • Great content can be as much about entertainment as it is about education

  • It provides consumers with the freedom to consume (or not) information on their terms

  • It can create an immediate communications channel, allowing organisations to respond far faster than was ever possible through broadcast media

  • Great content lends itself to collaboration and can even encourage consumers to customise, remix and otherwise transform what organisations create into something relevant to their own particular needs

  • And in the same vein, smart organisations are creating spaces where consumers can create their own content

More than anything, content helps create an organisation’s voice – and if that voice is authentic and trustworthy, the Net Generation has shown itself to be ready and willing to help you spread your message.

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