In the digital age, modern consumers connect with brands on a variety of different platforms. That is even more heightened for consumers in the Millennial generation. According to the 2014 Nielson study, When Screens Collide: Viewer Behaviors in Multi-Screen Environments, 92 percent of Millennials surveyed used a smartphone or tablet while watching TV and 47 percent used those devices to access content related to what they were watching on TV. What does this constant connection mean for marketers?

For Millennials, there is never a time when are they are not interacting with content. The key is crafting the right content, with the right messages to be distributed at the right time. Do it correctly, and eventually your Millennial brand fans will start generating content for you.

All of this talk about content is great. But, if you approach content marketing with a traditional lens, you will not get the results you are seeking. Remember: content marketing is not interruption advertising.

To better understand the content landscape we created a Content Matrix inspired by the Altimeter Group for my new book, Millennials with Kids.

content matrixLet’s break down this matrix piece by piece in order to gain a deeper understanding of the type of content that exists in each quadrant. First, you must understand that there is not a simple solution to content production. Finding the right content mix depends on your brand’s ability to respond to consumer engagement (X-axis) and ability to control or plan for a situation (Y-axis).

Rooted Content
These brand interactions are both planned and proactive and can be developed over a long period of time. Rooted content is essentially promotional and anticipated events like product launches and general public relations campaigns.

Vicks, an official NFL sponsor, aired a popular commercial featuring Drew Brees and his son during the 2012 NFL season. The advertisement resonated with Millennial dads who were tuning in for the game. The advertisement itself, which was aired during peak viewership times, was a planned promotion from Vicks. The company was able to be proactive in regards to the advertisement placement because it knew viewership would be high during the NFL games. This type of planned and proactive content is the perfect example of Rooted Content in our matrix.

Social Care
Social Care is the one-on-one interaction brands have with their consumers. This is the content brands curate when they engage in daily customer service, address a problem, or want to build stronger loyalty among individual customers.

Last year, Honey Maid released an advertisement as part of its Wholesome Family Campaign that focused on the inclusivity of the “modern” family. The ad featured real Millennial families in all their diverse glory, including gay, interracial, and stereotypical rocker families. Unfortunately, in addition to those who supported the diverse campaign, the ad garnered a large amount of negative responses too.

In an effort to combat the negative responses the ad received and praise those who spoke highly of the TV spot, Honey Maid released a follow-up video just a few weeks later, which was posted to its YouTube page. The video featured two artists using rolled-up, printed copies of every negative comment posted about the original ad and placing them in a pattern that spelled the word “love.”

Honey Maid’s response to the criticism of the original ad scored it big points with Millennials who believe in a new family model. The brand was not able to plan for the responses the ad would get, but acted proactively by highlighting the positivity in a swift and timely way.

Branded Content
Branded Content is both planned and reactive in that brands have the capability to plan for an event, like the Super Bowl or the Academy Awards ceremony, but react based on who the winners are or what happens during the actual event.

During the 2014 Academy Awards ceremony, Ellen DeGeneres famously took the most retweeted selfie of all time. The scripted selfie involved Ellen using her Samsung Galaxy, a move that Samsung had actively planned for. What it did not plan for, however, was the high response rate of fans. Samsung was able to leverage that publicity to generate more awareness and sales.

Social Satellite
In the same way a satellite orbits the galaxy, collecting data that can be used to predict future events, a Social Satellite, is a team that monitors social media in real-time in order to stay up-to-date on trends, create immediate interactions with consumers, and be proactive in regard to brand promotion. These interactions are both unplanned and proactive.

As a part of the Heavy Dooty Blowout Protection campaign, Luvs created the Heavy Dooty Blowout Challenge. The challenge encouraged young parents to go online to the Luvs Facebook challenge page and click the “Drop a Dooty” button. Every time someone clicked the button, not only would Luvs donate diapers to Project Night Night, a nonprofit organization that works with families in need of basic necessities, but also the diaper of a gigantic, 20-foot-tall inflatable baby at the Mall of America would get bigger.

Although slightly gross, the real-time engagement was a huge win with Millennial parents. Anyone visiting the Mall of America was able to see the real-time response, as the baby’s diaper continued to fill with “dooty” throughout the duration of the challenge. Essentially, the campaign created a Social Satellite that allowed Luvs to monitor social media 24/7 and generate real-time relationships and communications with customers in an (very) authentic and transparent way.

Overwhelmingly, content is becoming the go-to marketing strategy for brands aiming to connect with a new generation of consumers. Millennial parents especially appreciate brands that provide relevant content that is not only entertaining but also helps them to make their lives easier and solve the problems that new parents face on a daily basis. Today, 78 percent of CMOs see custom content as the future of marketing. The brands that have already embraced this new marketing mindset have seen a huge increase in Millennial participation and brand love.

For more information about the content landscape, be sure to check out my new book Millennials with Kids, which will be released this August!