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The future of the news industry

"I believe the children are our future,
Teach them well and let them lead the way" – George Benson

Whether these lyrics make you soar with inspiration or cringe with apprehension, from a marketing standpoint, the fact remains that today's Millennials will be tomorrow's business leaders (if they're not already), so keeping up with their behavioural patterns is essential.

Millennials – people between the age of 18 and 34 years old – are a generation who grew up at a time when the internet developed into a world-wide superpower that reduced the once powerful publishing and newspaper industry to its knees.

And, as a result, Millennials are often given flack for not being as interested in news content to the same degree as older generations, instead preferring to entertain themselves with mind-numbing platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.

Do Millennials read the news?

Yes, the desire to keep up-to-date with the latest current events and industry news is just as prevalent in this generation as it has been in others, only the way they get it has changed. Earlier this year, a study found 69% of Millennials read news content on a daily basis, while a further 40% read it more than once a day.

In fact, a new study has revealed that most Millennials are willing to pay for it. This week the American Press Institute and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research released a study showing the majority of Millennials regularly paid for news content last year.

Even better, the study found an equal interest in news across the age group, regardless of socioeconomic factors.

Other forms of paid content are also on the rise as well, with 87% of Millennials paying for some type of online content, from movies and television series to music.

What does this mean for the news industry?

Due to the nature of the internet, anyone has the means to publish news, so in the past few years we have seen a surge of online-based news site taking over traditional news publishers. And, as there's more news content online than ever before that's available free of charge, Millennials have grown up not having to pay for news content.

While many Millennials are willing to pay for some forms of news content, search engines and social sites are still the most common sources for obtaining news.

"Some cohorts of Millennials believe that because news is important for democracy, it should be free, almost like a right. And we don't know whether that view will change as these younger adults age. That is going to be a hurdle for news publishers." said Tom Rosenstiel, executive director of the American Press Institute.

How can businesses get in on the news action?

There is a huge demand for industry news – from human resources or technology, to cooking and knitting – whatever your niche, there's an audience out there for it.

"One big factor in whether people pay for news is their attitude about whether news helps their lives," said Rosenstiel.

While you probably are not after consumers paying for news on your site, this is a clear indicator that this generation wants useful content.

Find out what you're target audience is interested in, and create useful and relevant news content to reel them in. And this isn't just effective for businesses targeting consumers, it's also effective for B2B marketing.

The most common forms of content produced by B2B marketers is social media marketing (92%), eNewsletters (83%), articles (81%) and blogs (80%), according to the Content Marketing Institute.

Design a news-based content strategy centred on capturing the attention of your target audience, as well as a social campaign to push this content out to a wider audience. If you're wanting help to design a content strategy to reach online audiences, get in touch.