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How to create content on the same topic for multiple audiences

How to create content on the same topic for multiple audiences

8 minute read

How to create content on the same topic for multiple audiences

8 minute read

How to create content on the same topic for multiple audiences

Alice Chen

Content Strategist at TELUS
We have to understand who we are creating content for, whether internal or external audiences, in order for that content to be effective. Sometimes, different audiences will require content on the same topic that is relevant to their own needs. In this article, Alice Chen shares practical advice and a case study from TELUS on how to achieve this whilst serving both organisational goals and user needs.

As content strategists, we are tasked with finding the delicate balance between business and customer needs in order to create a cohesive user experience. Sometimes you have audiences with different objectives interested in the same topic. This is challenging because while they have a shared interest, the level of information they may need or want will likely differ.

A common outcome is that the content ends up catering to everyone, and so really, nobody. This results in a confusing experience that does not help anyone do what they need to do. 

Why catering your content to your audiences is important

The first step to creating any content is knowing who your audience is. A clear understanding of your audience helps dictate the subsequent decisions you make. Producing targeted content that meets your audience’s needs is important for a variety of reasons:

User experience

Whether it’s educational or transactional, you want your content to provide value for your users. When the content is catering to too many audiences, the experience is at risk of becoming confusing, and that can lead to cognitive overload. When there’s too much content presented, especially when that information is not relevant to them, people get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of content that they have to sift through to get to what they need and will just leave instead. 

SEO (search engine optimisation)

Search engines like Google use an algorithm to rank pages and determine the order they appear on SERPS (search engine results pages). They do this by looking at various factors to assess if the content is useful. If your audience is searching for something in particular and lands on your page but the content is not what they’re expecting or it’s too difficult for them to find what they’re looking for, they will quickly leave. This harms your content because it says to Google that the information was not valuable. And if this happens repeatedly, Google will start to give higher importance to content that seems more useful. 

Conversions

Traffic to your website is only as good as the engagement of that traffic. All of your content should have a purpose and a type of conversion attached to it, whether it be purchasing a product, signing up for a newsletter, or reading an article. If you manage to get a lot of visitors to your site or page but they aren’t consuming the content or taking action, then your content is not serving a business need. Remember, it’s a balance between the user and business goals. The content on the page needs to be working together to move users towards a specific objective. When the content is not clear, conversions will suffer. 

Case study: TELUS

TELUS is a Canadian telecommunications company, and we have many programs and initiatives that provide help and support for our communities. Recently, we were presented with an opportunity to improve how we structured some of our program pages. 

Audiences

We had two types of audiences for these programs: 

  • Applicants who were eligible for the programs
  • General public that may not know about the programs

The audiences could be further broken down into:

  • Applicants
  • Seniors
  • Low-income families
  • People with disabilities
  • Youth aging out of foster care
  • General public
  • Customers
  • Job applicants 
  • Investors
  • Media

Objectives

The applicants and general public have very different objectives when it comes to the programs. Applicants need to know detailed information about how to apply and they would already have some understanding of the programs. 

On the other hand, the general public does not need to know such granular information, and most of them would not have prior knowledge about the programs. The objective for them is awareness that these initiatives exist. We target potential customers with brand campaigns that feature stories highlighting the impact of these programs. Potential investors may want to know more about our company’s community involvement before investing. The media may want to learn about the programs as they expand. Job seekers look for companies that have values that align with theirs so potential employees may want to learn more about the company’s social purpose efforts.

We also had stakeholders with different objectives as well. The program stakeholders were concerned with the applicant experience, while our brand marketing stakeholders had campaign objectives. 

Issue

Each of the program pages had both the marketing and the applicant information on the same page. They were already becoming very long and difficult to read, and it only got worse as the programs expanded. 

It was becoming evident that the current structure was not working for either audience. We saw that the bounce rate was high, and the engagement on the page was low. Our program stakeholders were getting feedback that applicants found the process confusing and difficult to understand.

Solution

The approach we took was to split each program page into:

  • a marketing page for the general public with a high-level introduction of the programs and their outcome stories
  • an applicant page that contained more detailed information about how to apply

This made it easier for us to craft content that helped each audience meet their objectives. 

We also found that for marketing purposes, it made sense to speak to the programs themselves as the branded names carried some equity but for the applicant experience, it was relevant to speak to the specific groups. This led us to use audience-based segmentation for the program pages. 

Internet for Good web page from Telus showing images and call to actions for three different audience segments.

On each marketing page, the focus was high-level information on the programs but we included an “apply” section that spoke to the groups that were eligible for the program to account for the user journey of people who landed on the marketing pages and wanted to apply.

Audience-based segmentation

Additional feedback from applicants revealed that they had trouble seeing what programs they were eligible for. There was too much information on each page that they weren’t getting the information they needed quickly and easily. 

While each program had different requirements, some groups were eligible for multiple programs so the applicants needed to see at a glance what programs they could apply for and then find the information they needed to apply.

To cater to this need, we segmented the program pages by group by creating a sub-navigation for seniors, low-income families, youth aging out of foster care, and people with disabilities. Applicants were either sent directly to the page that was relevant to them or they could self-select in the navigation. And on those audience-specific program pages, we had tabs that clearly allowed them to see upfront which programs they could apply for and allowed them to delve deeper into the ones that they were interested in. 

Section of the Telus Internet for Good applicant page showing an introduction and the programs that are available to specific audiences.

For each applicant page, we had an introduction and right below, we showed the programs that were available to them. They could then find details on how to apply within each tab.

Compared to having both marketing and applicant information all on one page, this solution was a more complex approach for sure but at the end of the day, it is a better experience for everyone consuming the content. 

Tips on how to cater content to multiple audiences

Whether you’re starting net new or iterating on an existing page, here are some tips that we used to ensure that our pages were doing what they needed to for our intended audiences. 

  1. Define your audience: How we came to this solution was by knowing who our audiences were and what their objectives are.
  2. Determine how the content differs for each audience: In our case, the content itself was different because the audiences needed to know different things. In other cases, it could be that it’s the same content but you need to speak to them in different tones. For example, maybe you need to write for government officials, as well as students. How you speak to those two audiences are going to differ.
  3. Think about your user journeys: The content on your page should take into consideration the end-to-end journey of your users. Think about how they get to the page. Is it direct? Is it organic search? Then think about the level of context they would have when they land on the pages. That will help determine if you need to create different content. For us, the applicants already knew about the programs whereas the general public was coming in cold. 

Taking the time to cater your content to your varied audiences may require a bit more upfront work but will always result in a better user experience and business outcomes.

As content strategists, we are tasked with finding the delicate balance between business and customer needs in order to create a cohesive user experience. Sometimes you have audiences with different objectives interested in the same topic. This is challenging because while they have a shared interest, the level of information they may need or want will likely differ.

A common outcome is that the content ends up catering to everyone, and so really, nobody. This results in a confusing experience that does not help anyone do what they need to do. 

Why catering your content to your audiences is important

The first step to creating any content is knowing who your audience is. A clear understanding of your audience helps dictate the subsequent decisions you make. Producing targeted content that meets your audience’s needs is important for a variety of reasons:

User experience

Whether it’s educational or transactional, you want your content to provide value for your users. When the content is catering to too many audiences, the experience is at risk of becoming confusing, and that can lead to cognitive overload. When there’s too much content presented, especially when that information is not relevant to them, people get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of content that they have to sift through to get to what they need and will just leave instead. 

SEO (search engine optimisation)

Search engines like Google use an algorithm to rank pages and determine the order they appear on SERPS (search engine results pages). They do this by looking at various factors to assess if the content is useful. If your audience is searching for something in particular and lands on your page but the content is not what they’re expecting or it’s too difficult for them to find what they’re looking for, they will quickly leave. This harms your content because it says to Google that the information was not valuable. And if this happens repeatedly, Google will start to give higher importance to content that seems more useful. 

Conversions

Traffic to your website is only as good as the engagement of that traffic. All of your content should have a purpose and a type of conversion attached to it, whether it be purchasing a product, signing up for a newsletter, or reading an article. If you manage to get a lot of visitors to your site or page but they aren’t consuming the content or taking action, then your content is not serving a business need. Remember, it’s a balance between the user and business goals. The content on the page needs to be working together to move users towards a specific objective. When the content is not clear, conversions will suffer. 

Case study: TELUS

TELUS is a Canadian telecommunications company, and we have many programs and initiatives that provide help and support for our communities. Recently, we were presented with an opportunity to improve how we structured some of our program pages. 

Audiences

We had two types of audiences for these programs: 

  • Applicants who were eligible for the programs
  • General public that may not know about the programs

The audiences could be further broken down into:

  • Applicants
  • Seniors
  • Low-income families
  • People with disabilities
  • Youth aging out of foster care
  • General public
  • Customers
  • Job applicants 
  • Investors
  • Media

Objectives

The applicants and general public have very different objectives when it comes to the programs. Applicants need to know detailed information about how to apply and they would already have some understanding of the programs. 

On the other hand, the general public does not need to know such granular information, and most of them would not have prior knowledge about the programs. The objective for them is awareness that these initiatives exist. We target potential customers with brand campaigns that feature stories highlighting the impact of these programs. Potential investors may want to know more about our company’s community involvement before investing. The media may want to learn about the programs as they expand. Job seekers look for companies that have values that align with theirs so potential employees may want to learn more about the company’s social purpose efforts.

We also had stakeholders with different objectives as well. The program stakeholders were concerned with the applicant experience, while our brand marketing stakeholders had campaign objectives. 

Issue

Each of the program pages had both the marketing and the applicant information on the same page. They were already becoming very long and difficult to read, and it only got worse as the programs expanded. 

It was becoming evident that the current structure was not working for either audience. We saw that the bounce rate was high, and the engagement on the page was low. Our program stakeholders were getting feedback that applicants found the process confusing and difficult to understand.

Solution

The approach we took was to split each program page into:

  • a marketing page for the general public with a high-level introduction of the programs and their outcome stories
  • an applicant page that contained more detailed information about how to apply

This made it easier for us to craft content that helped each audience meet their objectives. 

We also found that for marketing purposes, it made sense to speak to the programs themselves as the branded names carried some equity but for the applicant experience, it was relevant to speak to the specific groups. This led us to use audience-based segmentation for the program pages. 

Internet for Good web page from Telus showing images and call to actions for three different audience segments.

On each marketing page, the focus was high-level information on the programs but we included an “apply” section that spoke to the groups that were eligible for the program to account for the user journey of people who landed on the marketing pages and wanted to apply.

Audience-based segmentation

Additional feedback from applicants revealed that they had trouble seeing what programs they were eligible for. There was too much information on each page that they weren’t getting the information they needed quickly and easily. 

While each program had different requirements, some groups were eligible for multiple programs so the applicants needed to see at a glance what programs they could apply for and then find the information they needed to apply.

To cater to this need, we segmented the program pages by group by creating a sub-navigation for seniors, low-income families, youth aging out of foster care, and people with disabilities. Applicants were either sent directly to the page that was relevant to them or they could self-select in the navigation. And on those audience-specific program pages, we had tabs that clearly allowed them to see upfront which programs they could apply for and allowed them to delve deeper into the ones that they were interested in. 

Section of the Telus Internet for Good applicant page showing an introduction and the programs that are available to specific audiences.

For each applicant page, we had an introduction and right below, we showed the programs that were available to them. They could then find details on how to apply within each tab.

Compared to having both marketing and applicant information all on one page, this solution was a more complex approach for sure but at the end of the day, it is a better experience for everyone consuming the content. 

Tips on how to cater content to multiple audiences

Whether you’re starting net new or iterating on an existing page, here are some tips that we used to ensure that our pages were doing what they needed to for our intended audiences. 

  1. Define your audience: How we came to this solution was by knowing who our audiences were and what their objectives are.
  2. Determine how the content differs for each audience: In our case, the content itself was different because the audiences needed to know different things. In other cases, it could be that it’s the same content but you need to speak to them in different tones. For example, maybe you need to write for government officials, as well as students. How you speak to those two audiences are going to differ.
  3. Think about your user journeys: The content on your page should take into consideration the end-to-end journey of your users. Think about how they get to the page. Is it direct? Is it organic search? Then think about the level of context they would have when they land on the pages. That will help determine if you need to create different content. For us, the applicants already knew about the programs whereas the general public was coming in cold. 

Taking the time to cater your content to your varied audiences may require a bit more upfront work but will always result in a better user experience and business outcomes.

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About the author

Alice Chen

Alice is a content strategist at TELUS, a Canadian telecommunications company. She focuses on crafting the content strategy for campaigns, leading IA projects, and bringing to life the brand narrative across the digital experience.

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