Oprah. CNN. Sport Illustrated. All of these are iconic media outlets in their industries. They worked their way to the top by reaching a mass audience through traditoinal media, such as magazines and television.

On the other hand, the blogging world is filled with successful niche content that appeals to specific audiences.  Has making niche content changed the language of media? 

Blogs Use More Complex Language Than Old Media

I used the free tool Website Grader to find the readability levels of the top 15 blogs in 7 industries. I compared the average readability of blogs in each industry to the readability of the iconic old media outlet with the industry. In general, blogs used more complicated language.

Marketing Takeaway: Write To Your Audience

Online content doesn't need to appeal to a mass audience to be successful. If you're trying to reach a niche audience, you don't need to dumb down your language or your content. Cater to your audience, and focus on doing that really well.

Is simple language still best? Absolutely. But, as Albert Einstein said, "make things as simple as possible, but not simpler". Strive for short words, sentences, and paragraphs. Do not simplify by kicking out key terms that your audience is searching for. 

Are you interested in what audience you are reaching? Then check the readability level of your website with Website Grader. You can also use Gobbledygook Grader to check the readability of a specific piece of text, like a press release or blog post. 

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Originally published Jun 4, 2010 7:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017