How to Write for Multiple Demographics at Once

You’ve heard all the advice already; write specifically for your target audience. Writing for a “general” audience might maximize the total number of potential readers you might earn, but in exchange, you’ll lose relevance. In most cases, it’s better to have a smaller number of highly interested readers than a larger number of marginally interested, or even disinterested ones. Accordingly, you have to choose topics, find angles, and write with a specific voice that caters to only your target niche.

For some businesses, there’s one major problem standing in your way here: you have multiple demographics to target.

The word Customers with a target in place of the letter O and an arrow making a direct hit
The word Customers with a target in place of the letter O and an arrow making a direct hit

The Demographic Split Problem

There’s no easy way to write for two demographics at the same time (or worse, more than two). On the surface, it seems like you’re either forced to pick only one demographic, or try to write for both at the same time, despite fundamental differences between them. You don’t want to simply abandon any of your demographics, as they’re each important to you, but at the same time, you need a niche focus for your content, or it won’t be successful.

Basic Principles

While you’re developing your multiple-demographic strategy, keep these basic principles in mind:

  • Keep your brand voice consistent. No matter which demographic you’re writing for in the moment, you’re still the same brand at the center of them. Accordingly, you need to write in a consistent brand voice, and not waver between your audiences; not only is this simpler, it guards your brand against the disconnection that could happen if one demographic stumbles onto material intended for the other.
  • Don’t generalize. It’s tempting to resolve the demographic split problem by merely “zooming out” and writing about more general topics that could feasibly apply to a broader spectrum of readers. However, if you do this, you’ll radically limit your potential relevance to any reader, limiting your content’s potential.
  • Split your effort according to demographic significance. Chances are, your demographics aren’t equally valuable—one is more beneficial to your brand than the other. You should split your effort accordingly, spending more time and effort catering to your more valuable demographic.
  • Shoulder the burden across multiple stages. Topic selection, content writing, publishing, and syndication are all different areas that offer you the opportunity to make a demographic split; take advantage of all of them, rather than just one.

Option One: Specialize

The first option is a bit of a cop-out, but don’t rule it out. Instead of trying to deal with the demographic split problem, this solution does away with it entirely by forcing you to pick only one demographic to focus on. For businesses with one demographic far more valuable than the others, this is an ideal solution—you won’t stand to lose much by letting your other target markets fall by the wayside. It’s also beneficial for content marketers just getting started, as this will save you significant time and effort, and you’ll always have a chance to expand later.

Option Two: Segment

Your next option is another simple one, and can manifest in a few different ways. The goal here is to engage in separate content marketing strategies for each of your demographics; for example, you’ll choose topics, write, publish, and syndicate posts for one set of buyers, and do the same thing for a different set of buyers in some separate context.

Here are some ways you can accomplish this:

  • Host separate blogs. If you want to get really ambitious, you can create two separate blogs to manage, one for each of your target audiences.
  • Use separate authors. Have two different personal brands as authors for your different lines of posts. This will help audiences find the distinction, and you can use each brand to syndicate your content later, too.
  • Confine posts to separate categorize. Similar to the authorship angle, you’ll use this to draw a line between your two realms.
  • Publish in different areas. If you’re into offsite publishing, this is a great opportunity to physically divide your audiences.
  • Syndicate to different demographics. You can use different platforms, or demographic targeting on one platform to selectively syndicate your material.

Of course, you can use any or all of these strategies to be effective.

Option Three: Find a Middle Ground

This is the hardest option, especially if your demographics are radically different. Rather than writing a “general topic,” this option demands that you find specific topics that apply only to your demographics in question, or else that you somehow appeal to both demographics in the span of your article. For example, you could write a full article that targets one type of buyer with a subsection at the end that speaks specifically to another type of buyer. This limits your visibility to that secondary demographic, but at the same time makes the most of every post you create.

There’s no rule that states you can’t pursue more than one of these options simultaneously, or that once you choose an option you’re stuck with it. In reality, it’s often more advantageous to choose multiple options so you can get the best of all worlds. Targeting multiple demographics at once can be challenging, but if you want your brand to stand out in the modern era of content marketing, it’s an absolute necessity. There’s a lot of flexibility in how you approach this problem, so choose the solution right for your business, and start executing.

By Timothy Carter

Timothy Carteris the founder of the digital marketing agency, OutrankLabs. He's also the Director of Business Development for the Seattle-based content marketing & social media agency, AudienceBloom. When Timothy isn't telling the world about the great work his company does, he's planning his next trip to Hawaii while drinking some Kona coffee.