Dear Professional Medical Association Owner/Marketer/Etc.,
Are your membership numbers dropping?
It might be because baby boomer physicians are retiring (more than a third of all active physicians will be 65 or older within the next 10 years) and millennial physicians are taking over.
And they’re not joining medical associations in droves.
Not everyone agrees on the exact age that constitutes a millennial, although the general idea is millennials = those born between 1981 and 1996, so ages 23 to 38 in 2019.
It’s not that millennial physicians don’t see any value in medical associations — nearly 75% of physicians under age 40 believe that professional associations and communities are useful.
However, there are some revealing statistics that should be a red flag for associations:
- About 25% view associations as “old school.”
- 45% have left associations because they are too expensive.
- 55% say that professional associations and organizations are not tech-savvy.
Old, expensive, not tech-savvy — these are three things that will make millennials run for the door.
Also, while medical associations may provide valuable content, they have some stiff competition. There is plenty of free information on the internet, so strapped-for-cash millennials are a little less likely to shell out the big bucks for content they could find without spending a cent.
You can’t afford to lose millennials. They are the largest generation in the US workforce, comprising about 35% of US labor, and that percentage is set to become even greater.
As baby boomer physicians retire, they may let their professional memberships lapse. You need to reel in millennial members in order to avoid taking a major financial hit and to ensure that young physicians are receiving the expertise that you have to offer.
So, what do you do?
Content is a craft: Perfect it. Curate content that appeals to millennials on every level. Millennials may be a little picky about what they open their wallets for, but they will spend if the product is valuable.
Millennials hate waiting and reading unnecessary content, so let’s just get this thing started already.
1. Create content that meets needs and piques interests.
No one likes to waste time reading content that’s not valuable to them, and millennials are no exception. When you’re putting together a content strategy (literally the most important thing you can do for your site), get creative and find topics that interest millennials. What’s keeping the boomer docs interested might not capture millennials’ attention.
What Do Millennials Want To Know About?
ℹ️ Evidence-based medicine: Millennials like data-driven information better than expert opinion or experience.
🗓 Work-life balance: 92% of millennials say that balancing work with family and personal responsibilities is important, but only 65% feel that they have achieved it.
💰 Finances: 75% of medical students who graduated in 2018 did so with debt — an average of $196,520. Finances are also a major contributor to the career paths that physicians choose.
📝 Future career options: 80% of millennial physicians want to work in a related field beyond patient care at some point, such as healthcare consulting or academic research.
2. Go mobile.
In the US, internet use on computers is declining. Instead, it’s all about smartphones. About 93% of millennials own smartphones. And among physicians under age 35, almost 90% use their smartphone for professional purposes.
This means that if they’re reading your content, it’s highly likely that they’re doing so on their phone. It also means that your content needs to be easy to read on a tiny screen.
Break text into small chunks rather than large paragraphs, and use lots of headers to break things up. Bullet points, lists, and mini infographics can also be invaluable for making text easier to read.
If possible, you may want to consider building a mobile app. Users spend 16 times longer on apps than on mobile websites. Just make sure to have a good app logo — 21% of millennials have deleted an app simply because they didn’t like the logo.
3. Don’t forget about visuals.
While on the subject of aesthetics…
Videos and images should be your best friend.
Be creative — 30-second “behind the scenes”-style videos, cartoons, infographics — you name it.
Just remember that while pictures and videos are great content tools, media platforms like Flash don’t always work on mobile, or take too long to load.
4. Meet millennials where they’re at.
If there’s one thing that millennials can’t stand, it’s being talked down to. They don’t want information “dumbed down” for them.
That being said, they don’t want boring, drab text and they don’t want to have to dissect each word to figure out exactly what the text is saying.
The trick is to get directly at eye-level. Write content that is conversational and in plain language, but not condescending or first-grade storytime in tone. Don’t be afraid to write in second-person and address the reader personally.
5. Don’t overcharge for content.
They won’t pay.
6. Remember that variety is the spice of life — and content.
In addition to varying content, change up how it’s presented.
There isn’t a magic length for content — in fact, people are very much divided on ideal length.
Millennials like short and sweet. But, there are topics that require a substantial amount of text, and some millennials do love to read longer content. Don’t set one specific length. However, if you notice that you’ve made a bunch of short posts recently, switch it up and do a couple of exposes (or vice versa).
For example, one of the next posts CareContent publishes should probably be shorter than this.
Also, vary up the authors. Some millennials respond to first-hand accounts, while others want a more anonymous voice.
Include millennial authors. More than 65% of millennials prefer to join an organization that was founded by peers their own age. While your founders may be older than the millennial generation, giving millennials a voice can at least frame your organization in a younger way.
7. Don’t call us millennials.
Millennials don’t like being called millennials. I’m going to switch to first-person here — as a millennial, I can vouch for this claim.
Even though we’ve proven to not be the duds we were predicted to be (well, for the most part), the damage has been done. The word “millennial” has a negative connotation, and is often associated with laziness and entitlement. So, it sort of rubs us the wrong way to be called that.
Okay, back to second-person.
8. Stay ahead of the game.
Millennials want what’s next. They don’t want to be left behind — which means you can’t afford to be left behind, either.
Revisit your content strategy frequently. The healthcare landscape is constantly changing — does your content represent that? Technology and ways of consuming information via technology are also always changing. Is your content optimized for those changes? Will the format and way in which the content is written — not just the actual content itself — appeal to your readers?
A Final Piece Of Advice
Do your research. And that means going to your target audience.
Ask your readers for their feedback and have them submit ideas for topics they want covered. You can’t give them what they want until you know what they want — and there’s no source better for figuring that out than their own mouths.