Understanding Your Multiple Audiences

Posted on July 17, 2015 by Dan S

peopleIt’s a common practice for a business or a brand to establish an identifiable target customer with generalized personality traits and interests as a guideline for steering content direction. The hypothetical customers are often referred to as “buyer personas” and may be called by nicknames like “Consumer Caitlin” or “Classic Carl.” This method is an effective way to answer the question of “how to advertise your business,” but it is a narrow approach that presents a business or brand with several missed opportunities.

As much as your audience would love to have content tailored to them specifically, it’s a daunting task that you’ll never accomplish on a human content planning level regardless of how much manpower you throw at it. In addition to your main buyer persona, your business audience can likely be grouped into three or four different clusters that each have their own content interests.

When your business or brand is developing content, asking questions like “why does Tim care” and “how can we make Tim care about this” are effective methods for nixing ideas that don’t work while giving content that does work a direction to start with. If the content doesn’t appeal to your audiences, it isn’t worth investing the time in.

Let’s look at a classic rock radio station as an example for implementing four different buyer personas. The business can assume that all listeners are unified by their fondness for classic rock music, but have different interests and attitudes within that scope. They may come up with personas like “Popular Patricia” to represent people that don’t give a lot of thought to the quality or styling of the music, but listen to it because it was popular and “Elitist Eddie” who sits at the opposite end of the spectrum and only cares for the best composed songs from the era. A persona like “Nostalgia Nicholas” can represent a listener that is really in to classic rock because of the memories he associates with the music from when it was new. Another persona like “Open-minded Olivia” represents a younger listener that may have been born after the station’s music era, but has taken an interest in expanding her musical tastes outside of what’s currently popular.

When working with multiple personas you don’t have to steer content creation towards targeting four different people for all instances. Instead it adds potential content that your original persona “Patricia” doesn’t care about, but your other audiences called “Eddie,” “Nicholas,” and “Olivia” actually would be interested it. The good news is that these different personas can feature a substantial amount of interest overlap. It can help in the prioritization process as well by deciding to go with an idea that appeals to “Patricia,” “Eddie,” and “Nicholas” before an idea that only appeals to “Patricia” and “Olivia.”

The multiple buyer persona model can also help your business rework content into multiple formats to appeal to a wider audience. For example, if one audience likes charts and graphs whereas another prefers opinion posts, you can use multiple formats to explain the same content. A hypothetical list of reasons why a customer should go with your business as a solution could work as a “Top Five” listicle or a colorful infographic to appeal to different buyer personas. The information between the two content items is mostly the same, so it can be reused in different ways — whether you combine this content into a singular webpage or keep it split up depends on the situation itself.

Writer Bio: Dan S is a former news journalist turned web developer and freelance writer. He has a penchant for all things tech and believes the person using the machine is the most important element.


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