Read any book or blog about copywriting and you’ll be told that one of the keys to copywriting success is knowing your audience. This is sound advice. You can’t write well if you don’t know who you’re writing for.

But what if you’re writing for more than one audience? Much of the time you will be, even if you don’t immediately realise it. Your corporate brochure might be aimed at your customers but your current and potential employees will read it too. Suppliers, the media and investors will also take a look – anyone, in fact, who wants to know what your company’s about.

How do you write for multiple audiences?

First, there will almost certainly be a primary audience for your project. Work out who that is and write for them. If you don’t meet their needs, then your project will fail. If you conclude that you don’t have a primary audience and that all of your readers – and their differing needs – are equally important, then you probably have more than one project on your hands.

Second, be consistent in your messages: writing for one group doesn’t mean you can contradict what you’ve said to others. You can’t tell investors that you’re reducing headcount if you’ve just told your staff that their jobs are safe. Boasting of higher profits won’t play well with suppliers, when you’ve just asked them for bigger discounts. Keep your messages straight and you won’t go far wrong.

Finally, even if you’re writing in private to a single audience, think hard about how your other audiences will react if it gets into the public domain. Unless you can guarantee that what you say will never leave the building, you may be writing to more people than you realise.

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