Who is your audience? I don't mean what's their persona or how old they are, I mean how much do they even know about what you want to talk to them about?
The old model of trying to just throw a whole bunch of stuff out there and see what sticks is clearly broken and it might be time to re-evaluate how you approach your audience.
Gone are the days of influencing based on being pretentious with your writing, or dumbing it down so that you attract either side of the spectrum you are trying to talk to. The effective messages, the ones that really resonate with people, are the ones that come off as universal whether that's to a large audience, or a very specific niche targeted group.
Until now, understanding how to target your writing to the most relevant group has been pretty much limited to a ton of market research around demographics and even psychographics, but you may not spend enough attention understanding how your audience reacts to topics or themes they know something about. Conversely what about explaining a topic or theme to people who have very little knowledge around your brand, product or service?
It all comes down to structuring your content so that it's relatable to the audience you are trying to attract. That structure isn't exclusively about the topic or theme but it may have everything to do with sentence structure, the language you use, the pace of that language and even how big or small the paragraphs appear on the screen.
Identifying the audience that you are trying to attract is the first step you take before trying to write content for them.
In our estimation there are 5 distinct kinds of audiences who you are trying to reach.
The General Audience - These are the beginners. They have a broad understanding of topics or themes but don't have much more than a very surface understanding of what you may want to talk to them about.They aren't looking for in depth analysis, statistics, and probably have no idea what any of your jargon-y filled prose means. Keep it simple. Keep it short. Keep it very broad and it will deliver great appeal to this group. In a sales funnel, these people would be right near the top, hoping to learn more about your product or service as they begin the buyer's journey.
The Knowledgeable Audience - These are the people who have a cursory knowledge of what you want to talk to them about. They require a little more tangible information about your topic or theme but don't bombard them with statistics or minutiae that will make their head spin. They are keen to learn more and they revel in being "in the know". At a cocktail party, if your topic, product or service comes up they'd be very comfortable with what they know about whatever it is you want to talk to them about. They are a little further along than the "General" audience in the buyer's journey but are still shopping for more information.
The Specialist Audience - The so-called experts. They quote stats because they can. You need to fuel their need to authoritative on not only your specific topic or theme, but also cursory information around related topics or themes. These people live within your niche and are probably your best bet to become future evangelists of your product or service if you deliver content at their level. In terms of the sales funnel or buyer's journey, these are people who are close to buying your product or service and are just wrapping up their research.
The Academic Audience - As the name suggests this collegiate group takes a more scholarly look at your content. Piquing their interest isn't enough, you need to provide your content in such a way that it evokes curiosity but also re-assures their previous knowledge on the subject. They need jargon. They need words that require a dictionary to spell. This group needs data, both qualitative and quantitative so that they engage in the conversation in a deeper more meaningful way. They've already bought your premise and are now looking to add depth to their knowledge around your topic or theme.
The Genius Audience - Sorry. This will be a tough group to attract and likely harder to write awesome content for. They already have an expert knowledge of your topic or theme and intellectualize around it with their friends over cognacs and cigars. They need data, they need evidence, they need jargon and they need sentences that look like gigantic paragraphs but aren't run-on sentences. Their interpretation of your content will be highbrow and their expert opinion on your topic or theme may astound even you. You may want to consider limiting how many articles you write for this particular group depending on what you are trying to achieve within the sales funnel or in terms of performance.
It is possible that your audience fits into more than one of these buckets depending on your topic or theme. You need to consider who you are trying to reach and why before you start writing content for your audience. It's important to have a game plan going in so that you can drive the most performance out of your content to ultimately resonate with your audience, and if you're lucky theirs.