The Coffey Blog

Health behaviors: Creating content that speaks to millennials

Posted on: Monday, July 9, 2018

Marjorie Reece, Lead Senior Editor

Creating healthcare content that motivates people to take action or change their behaviors isn't easy. And, when it comes to millennials, the challenges can be even greater.

We're talking about a large and incredibly diverse group of people with sophisticated expectations about how they want to consume information. Which means there's no single or simple formula. To resonate with this increasingly important audience, healthcare marketers need to stay nimble, get creative and be thoughtful.

Here's a big bonus we've discovered: When you make healthcare content with millennials in mind, you create compelling formats and messaging that appeal to modern consumers, no matter their age.

11 strategies for reaching millennials with your healthcare content

Here are ways to help engage this generation, build your relationship with them and influence their health behaviors.

1. Understand that they value wellness. In fact, 86 percent of millennials say that they would rather be healthy than wealthy. Some evidence suggests that they are eating better and exercising more than generations that came before them. Still, in one survey, only about half of all millennials rated their overall well-being as good or excellent.

Here are a few concerning and complicated issues where millennials may need our health behavior inspiration the most:

2. Connect with them digitally. Millennials are often called "digital natives"—intrinsically skilled and comfortable with technology. Some research has questioned the notion that they're better with their devices than the rest of us. But one thing is clear: online is where to find them. And they expect their digital content to be easy to access, easy to navigate and easy to read.

Data driven: In increasing numbers, millennials are using wearable devices and smartphone apps to track their lives, including their steps, workouts, sleep, calories, hydration—even their fertility and sun exposure.

3. Bring the fun. Millennials give their attention to compelling and novel content. They can afford to be picky—they've been swiping left and scrolling by for years. So put your efforts into highly visual content with clever writing—and focus on the experience someone will have with your content. Maybe that's a mobile-first infographic or unique interactive.

4. Toss, don't boss. Pitch helpful ideas—think inspiring and encouraging versus parental and prescriptive. You can see the difference:

Rather than this: When dining out, avoid red meat, fried food and other fatty dishes.

You say this: Hack the menu! Check what's offered online. Some restaurants provide nutritional info, including fat and calories.

5. Communicate clearly. Millennials are a highly educated generation. Yet, even people who are good readers can face health literacy challenges. One area where confusion reigns: health insurance. In one survey, over 70 percent of millennials said reading about their health benefits took too long, or was too complicated or stressful.

6. Watch trends. If you're plugged into what's hot—think self-care and bestie bots—you can leverage those trends in your content. Maybe it's a witty meme on social media or a new wellness event—or bigger yet: a completely different way of delivering content, like a chat bot that guides people to services and classes that are right for them.

7. Build trust. In this age of fake news, providing trustworthy information and effectively correcting misinformation is more important than ever. Equally good: sharing needed health messages in a memorable way. For example, in this 15-second Coffey video, young women get two key facts they need about Pap tests.

8. Appeal to their sense of purpose. Here's another millennial moniker, the "Purpose Generation." In a global survey, the majority of millennials said purpose is a priority in choosing a workplace. They want to make a difference.

How does that translate to ideas for your health content? Maybe it's "5 fitness pursuits that are good for the earth," "3 ways to be a no-waste cook," or "Please go meatless more often. Love, Mother Nature."

9. Consider the millennial's budget. You don't need to be a bummer and bring up student debt and rising housing costs. But think about how money might be getting in the way of healthier habits. When you offer tips that means including budget-friendly options.

Speaking of cash flow…millennials are known to be comparison shoppers online, yet the majority report that they don't price check medical care. Instead, many avoid going to the doctor at all—because they fear the cost. How can we help in our healthcare marketing? We can bring more transparency to costs and make sure people know about money-smart options like virtual visits.

Survey says: Convenience matters. Three out of four millennials say they would prefer to see a doctor virtually. More than 70 percent want to be able to book appointments digitally. They also prefer email or text message reminders—no voicemails, no waiting for the beep, no thank you.

10. Offer instant gratification. In this age of streaming media and drone deliveries, we can't expect millennials to accept "Talk to your doctor" as a solution. What actionable tips can we offer when we have their attention? What small steps can they take today?

11. Be inclusive with your language. Let's end where we started, respect the diversity among millennials. Write with empathy—and try to avoid ideas or language that is dated, such as assumptions about traditional families and gender roles.

How Coffey can help

Yes, millennials Google their symptoms. You can also be sure they're checking out potential doctors and healthcare facilities when the need arises. If your website and provider profiles lack good content and easy navigation, they may rule you out in a quick second.

We can help you reach your audience—from content concepts to web design to social media. Contact us and let's get started!

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