Don’t Water Down Your Content

Can a company overextend itself when it comes to getting the word out? Absolutely. There’s little to no value in having multiple Facebook pages or Twitter accounts chattering away, for example, and a bevy of print products all saying the same thing usually doesn’t boost the bottom line. Don’t dilute your message.

Likewise, it’s dangerous to collapse multiple platforms into a single effort. If your product targets teenagers, for example, having a Facebook and Twitter presence that reaches them is a must. A second page for parents in order to allay any of their concerns about price, usage, etc., and get their buy-in is a good idea. One page for both? A recipe for no likes.

The same general concept goes for print as well. The temptation is to use one vehicle, whether it’s a newsletter or magazine, to reach multiple audiences. You have more than one social media outlet because you understand market segmentation, and you know that in the online world, people will segment themselves for you as they find your website and social media pages.

But you’ll cheerfully ignore that sensible strategy when it comes to print, because it looks like you’re just duplicating your effort by putting out two or three versions of what you deem to be the same thing. But segmentation in print is just as important as it is online, maybe even more so because you have to split the audience yourself instead of them doing the work for you.

In print (or anywhere, really) you can’t reach diverse audiences with a single, generalized message unless that has been watered down so much as to be meaningless. Let’s say you sell exercise equipment, and your target groups are senior citizens and working adults. If you have two publications, you can tout the benefits of building muscle and endurance through multiple workouts to the younger readers, while the older ones receive messaging about maintaining core strength and muscle flexibility through easy, daily efforts.

If you try to reach both groups in one publication, the copy will be about the importance of keeping fit and the special joys of daily exercise. In a word, yawn. Once a reader looks at a publication and says, “I’ve read all this before,” you’ve lost them for life. Conversely, if he or she feels personally addressed, and is given information that’s actually useful, your connection to them is strong and durable.

Targeting your message means taking a good, hard look at not only the platform, but also the content. Not every potential customer is going to go to social media first, but you should be able to meet multiple audiences there nonetheless. The same goes for print: Not everyone will pick up the publication, but when they do it should speak to them individually, not to them and everyone else in the room. No matter where they get their information, readers want to feel singled out, chosen and understood.