Millennials are tired of health and wellness content that tells them how to have the perfect body or lose weight fast. So says Derek Flanzraich, who founded the website Greatist five years ago, with a mission to change the way health and fitness experts speak to the age group.
"Growing up, the sites I landed on and the TV shows I saw about fitness made me feel worse about myself. It was so hard to find a health and fitness brand that was empowering, accessible and authentic," Flanzraich told Adweek. "So much of the content is stuff like, '10 Tricks to Lose Weight Before Beach Season,' and it seems to be so at odds with how millennials like me think in terms of health."
Greatist now reaches 11 million readers per month and has experienced more than 160 percent year-over-year traffic growth with articles like "How Going to Fancy Fitness Classes Actually Made Me Lazier," and "This Zumba Video Will Make You Feel Like One of Beyonce's Back-Up Dancers." Sixty percent of its audience is 18 to 34 years old.
"We're helping people think about health in a healthier way," Flanzraich said. "It's about empowering them to get healthier on their own terms."
Brands such as Kind Snacks, Fitbit, Brooks Running and CamelBak have worked with Greatist on content marketing programs that focus on empowerment. For Kind Snacks, Greatist created a series of articles called "Reconnect," with themes about reconnecting to the environment, to their family and friends, and to their food.
In November 2015, to help readers stay fit around the holidays, Fitbit and Greatist launched the "30-Day Just-Do-Something Challenge," which assigned readers a simple exercise, like 40 push-ups or 10 minutes of running stairs, for each day of the month that they could track on Fitbit.
"It made sense because we're constantly thinking about our audience as not perfect, flawless athletes, and Fitbit's intention as a brand is to communicate to millennials that they're not just about extreme athletes, but they're about normal people just trying to do something," Flanzraich said.
Flanzraich's advice for brands on creating content that resonates with millennials is to be approachable and authentic. "You can't fake the intention behind your message, because millennials have a crazy-good bullshit meter," he said.