Demographics: What are they and why do they matter in content marketing?

If you’ve come to this blog from our article about Creating a Reader Persona then welcome! If not, then we recommend visiting it to help you understand further how demographics can help your content marketing process.

Demographics and understanding them are the foundation to success in content marketing, but getting started can be a bit intimidating.

So to take away the fear and give you the confidence to make demographics work for you, we’ve created this handy guide.

Let’s start at the beginning.

What are Demographics?

People often get confused by the definition of demographics. That’s understandable, as the word has a couple of meanings, so let’s tackle that first.

Demographics are groups within a wider population, identified by certain factual characteristics such as; age, location, earnings, education, and gender.

Multiple demographic variables can be combined to create a demographic profile (usually shortened to ‘demographic’ to confuse matters further!). An example of a demographic profile would be university-educated women aged 25-29 living in Newcastle upon Tyne who earn over £30,000 per annum.

When you focus on a group with this specific set of characteristics, you can begin to create a picture of a ‘typical’ member of that particular demographic.

The word demographics also refers to the study of those populations or groups. Demographics is used in marketing to identify a particular market or audience, to allow specific targeting of products or advertising to that group.

There are a host of benefits to identifying which demographics are most relevant to your product, service, or content.

Why are Demographics Important in Content Marketing?

Content marketing can generate three times more leads than paid search advertising (Content Marketing Institute, 2017), so it’s important to get it right.

Identifying which demographics are visiting your site, reading your content, and engaging with your posts is extremely valuable, and can help you in the following ways:

  • Improve your understanding of your audience — When you know who your audience is, you can better identify their needs, why they’re reading your content, and how it can help them overcome the pains in their life or work. Ultimately, this helps you reach your goal of turning them into customers.
  • Reach more of the right people — Armed with data about a certain group of people who have an interest in your content, you can begin to target that demographic on mediums, platforms, and locations where they’re likely to see and engage with your content.
  • Make your content more relevant — By understanding which demographics to focus on, you can create relevant and engaging content. This is more likely to generate awareness, interest, and engagement with these demographics. A reader persona further helps you achieve this.
  • Find audiences or market segments you weren’t aware of — You might discover some unexpected demographics when you examine your data. You can then target them using the methods in the two bullet points above.
  • Lower costs/increase efficiency — Trying to be all things to all people is time-consuming, costly, and inefficient when it comes to content creation. With a narrower focus you can spend more time on relevant, targeted content and get a better return on your investment.
  • Get more leads — Obviously, this is what you’re working towards with all your content marketing activity. By reviewing and improving your content in the above-mentioned ways, you can reach and engage more and more of the people who are likely to become customers.

A word of caution about demographics; if you’re too focused in your targeting of specific demographics, you run the risk of ignoring or alienating potential customers who don’t fit that profile. Use your knowledge of your product or service, and your own demographic data, to find the sweet spot.

Now you know about the benefits of using demographics in your content marketing, let’s look at the how.

How do I Identify Which Demographics are Important?

For some early, easy wins when identifying target demographics, focus on what you already know;

  • Look at the data around existing or previous customers. What do they have in common? Are they businesses of a certain size? Is the decision maker a CEO, CFO, or someone else?
  • Has your product or service been created with a specific user in mind? This could be based on their geographical location, industry, gender, or something else.
  • Who can your knowledge and expertise benefit? Is there a particular demographic who would benefit from your knowledge? Making content with them in mind can help develop you as a thought leader and grow your brand authority. This creates trust, which breaks down barriers with your audience and makes them more likely to buy from you.

When you’ve identified some key demographics and are ready to dig deeper, you can use the following tools to help you.

Google Analytics and Adwords: By using Google’s free tools, you can see who’s visiting your site and who your ads are reaching. This all helps add clarity around which demographics are interested in your offering.

Social Media Analytics: All social media sites have tools which allow you to track and explore the data around your audiences. Use these links to find out about demographics for your social profiles;

  • Alexa — This is a paid site, but it has a great free tool which shows you which sites have audience overlap with yours, and allows you to see which keywords have taken people to rivals’ sites.

If you’re not sure how to use analytics on social media, Hootsuite has a great beginners’ guide here.

When you’ve used these tools to narrow down the demographics that you want to focus your content marketing campaigns on, you can start the process of creating and sharing content!

Check engagement on every post, and use that feedback to make more of what works.

Keep Checking

Be aware; demographics aren’t fixed, unvarying facts.

They change over time, so a particular location might see a decline or increase in people of a certain age, level of income, or other characteristic. Businesses grow, and their needs adapt.

Keeping abreast of these developments allows you to react accordingly, minimising disruption to your business or maximising new opportunities.

It’s smart business practice to stay up-to-date on your company’s demographics.

What Next?

Now that you have a solid understanding of demographics, how to find them, and how to use them, you can move on to the next stage of understanding your audience; psychographics.

Prize Content conducts thorough demographic research for all our clients as part of our extensive content marketing service. To find out more, drop us a line on hello@prizecontent.com or call 020 3920 6347 for a chat.

Published by Danny Kershaw

Account Manager

Taking SMEs on a journey to business growth through effective content marketing