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Steph Farrow

Steph Farrow

Updated on 16 Oct 2019 ・ 6 min read

How to write content for a specific target audience

Maybe you’re a start-up or possibly even an established business undergoing a rebrand, or perhaps you’ve just realised you need to up your marketing game recently in order to compete. If you’re still unsure whether you need a website refresh maybe read this post first.

Whatever your reason for being here, your goals are the same, you want to communicate in an entertaining, informative or effective way with your customers or audience, to evoke a response, reaction or sale.

Making websites on the daily, we are often asked for advice on how to populate them with witty, thought provoking content, much like our own site really. So, we thought who better to guide you to the nirvana that is content perfectly crafted for your target audience than us.

Most importantly, before you put pen to paper, or the digital equivalent, you need to identify who your target audience are (and if you’re thinking ‘everyone’ right now you should especially read on). By tailoring the way you communicate, you are not excluding people who don’t fit into the desired demographic just focusing your attention and efforts on those most likely to convert, makes sense right?

How to write content

Begin by taking stock of your current readers or customers.

Look for patterns in the way they use your website, what content they consume and share, which products or services they purchase and any other feedback you can gather from them directly. Utilise the analytics running behind the scenes of your website and social media channels, there’s tonnes of untapped insight there that will tell you what is currently working as well as what’s an epic fail.

Make a list of your products and services as well as a brief description of each one’s benefits. By understanding your benefits, from a totally factual unbiased viewpoint, you can start to shape a strategy that will position your business as something those people ‘need’.

Next up, look at your competitors.

Who are their main audiences? Are you planning on going after a similar group or targeting a niche instead? Having these people very clearly in your mind is going to make writing for them SO much easier, so it really does pay to think through the process before you start scribbling.

Finally, persona building. All of the previous steps should have left you in a pretty strong position to build a few select members of your audience. This is invaluable when it comes to content strategy, a more detailed post on that coming in a few weeks. If you know you’re writing a blog post specifically for Mark, Tom or Travis (big Blink182 fans here #sorrynotsorry) you are much more direct and concise with your messaging as you feel you know that person inside out.

Build profiles for between 3-5 fictional audience members. Consider their age, location, gender, income, family status and occupation; these are the demographics. Then add onto the profiles that persons personality, attitudes, values, hobbies or interests and lifestyle; these are known as the psychographics.

Once these are complete, you’re ready to start writing content as you will know why your audience are interested in you, how your messaging needs to vary for each persona, when they might purchase with you and why, as well as what they watch, read and value in life. All of these considerations are what separates an average brand from an amazing one.

At this point things get a bit trickier as you need to align what your audience want to read, to your overall brand tone of voice.

If you sell computers and know your customers are predominantly family men between the ages of 45-65 years old our guess is, you’re probably not going to entice them to spend their hard-earnt cash by telling them your sick technology is going to make them look peng. See what we mean?

Consider your language choice and relevant reference points. How can you position yourselves as a peer, all but a very knowledgeable one, instead of a faceless unempathetic corporation.

It helps if you have a brand guide of some kind, if you don’t this may be the time to build one (we’ve got your back on this, give us a shout for more info) as there should be a decent sized section describing your overarching tone of voice and how it embodies your company, its people and your values.

It’s not one to be underestimated.

In brief, you need to consider what your audience would want from your copy in terms of;

  • Chatty or formal style - is swearing ok, or are you keeping things highbrow? Is humour or sarcasm your vibe?
  • First, second or even third person narrative - stick to one or things become confusing.
  • Will you offer quotes, stats or references to experts, or wouldn’t that be appropriate?
  • Is storytelling acceptable, maybe the odd metaphor or are you sticking to the facts?
  • Will you offer the reader personal information about specific teams or individual staff members or will you always speak as the brand?
  • Will photos, pictures or illustrations accompany your content?
  • And will you include video, audio, buttons or links?
  • Consider the length of paragraphs and whether you punctuate with bullets, headers or sub-heads

To show off exactly how it’s done we’ve chosen a couple of our favourite brands when it comes to perfectly writing for their audience, whether through TV advertising, social posts, or their website, they nail it.

Trello logo

Trello

Now, right off the bat we are a bit/ a lot biased on this collaborative project management software as it’s what keeps our own studio ticking over day to day, but they also happen to be pretty wonderful at creating a unique brand persona. They pride themselves on being crystal clear about their service offering and the language they use to provide instructions on how to get the best from it. This language usage, in conjunction with some very futuristic, neon graphics including robo-dogs, geek chic rabbits and of course some hipster looking types just works and manages to identify with a variety of demographics. Their social media also pulls in topical subjects or celebration days to encourage their followers to interact and engage with them on everything from what dog they own on national dog day, to favourite gifs to use when you’re leaving the office on a Friday afternoon feeling like a boss. We bow down, Trello.

Innocent logo

Innocent

These guys always crop up as marketing case studies, and we’re not surprised, they are just the OG’s of targeting their audience perfectly. Their tone of voice and methods of communication mean they are highly respected, massively engaged with as well as sell a shi*t load of products. Their cute logo and visual creative are not the only distinctive things about the brand, but their choice of language and tone is just absolutely right for who they are, and they manage to keep it consistent across all channels which is no mean feat. When you next pick up a bottle give the blurb on the back a read to see some perfectly crafted copy which encourages feedback. This is received by dedicated teams who man the ‘banana phones’ and listen to new flavour suggestions, product opinions or simply anecdotes from your latest holiday. 10/10 Innocent.

Do you have any tips on writing for a specific target audience that we might have missed, or want to share brands you feel are slam dunking their marketing game, we’d love to hear it? Chat with us via Twitter , Instagram or Facebook.

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