How to Create Engaging Content
Your audience knows what they like. As a marketer you need to find out what that is and give it to them.
What Is Engaging Content?
Promises an answer to something someone has been struggling with.
Promises positive emotions.
Helps them learn something.
It's something that is worth them spending time to take in.
The business owner might define it as content that resulted in revenue growth.
Make It Useful or Entertaining
"Make it useful or entertaining" is a good fundamental rule for content marketing.
Ask yourself "Why is this content useful to someone?"
It sounds obvious, but your content has to provide value to have any chance of being engaging.
Your customers are looking for help and advice.
Work out what problems your customers have, and provide solutions to them.
Work out what questions your customers have, and provide answers to them.
People want informative content that is going to help them. How To articles are popular, you're reading one now!
People don't want to be sold to.
Don't make your content purely a sales message. Pure sales messages are not engaging content.
If you use an aggressive sales pitch on your audience, they will shy away. Instead focus on being useful and entertaining, and then mention your products for sale in a non-imposing manner, i.e. a very soft sell.
Use a Call To Action
Ultimately, an engagement is getting someone to do something. For this to happen, you need to tell them what it is you want them to do!
Use a Call To Action on your page. E.g. subscribe to the mailing list, or take advantage of this limited time offer etc.
If you state a Call To Action, your visitors are more likely to take the Action that you want, making your article more effective for you.
Video is very engaging, and I'd say it's the most engaging content format to use.
The first five seconds are critical because that's all a viewer will take to decide whether the rest is worth watching.
Provide Visual Content
People can process visual content a lot quicker than text, so they engage with it more readily.
Include visual content in your work. Video is best, or failing that, good photos.
Create infographics. These are much more likely to be read than pure text-based posts. They work well on Twitter.
Follow Current Trends
People crave information on what is currently "hot".
Identify trending topics.
How can you tie-in with these trends? If relevant to your audience, create content around these trends.
Create Content on Topics You Are Passionate About
To create engaging content, you should be writing on a topic you have a passion for. Your passion will be conveyed through the content you create, and it will be more engaging for it.
If you don't have a passion for the subject you are creating content for, then you've taken on the wrong job.
Choose a Topic of Interest to Your Audience
If your topic isn't going to be of interest to your audience, everything else is pointless.
You need to have established what subjects are of interest to your audience.
BuzzSumo can give you a guide to how popular a given topic may be; it will show social shares for a given keyword.
These Content Writing resources may also be of help.
Know How to Write a Good Headline
When writing articles, know how to write a good headline, as this is the most important aspect of your article.
Common techniques for good headlines are providing intrigue, or incentive, or conveying value.
How to write a good headline could be the subject of an article by itself, so maybe I will write this article in future!!
Be Ready to Capture Your Ideas
Ideas are like gold dust. When you get a good idea for content, you need to be able to record it. So, be ready with a system in place, e.g. carry a notebook with you.
Tell a Good Story
The story is everything. Tell better stories. The audience wants and responds to stories.
What story do you want to tell? How can you make this story compelling?
For example, conflict creates tension, and tension keeps people engaged with your story.
Know Your Customer
You need to know what makes your customers tick.
Develop customer personas to understand their interests, concerns and questions.
Stay true to your brand, your voice and your values. When people recognise you are genuine, they will take more notice of you.
Providing something for free can make your content more engaging. For example, you might provide a free downloadable checklist for achieving a certain goal.
Humour or Lighthearted Content
If your content can raise a smile, it has a good chance of achieving engagement and shares.
Good content will induce emotions in the viewer. Examples of emotions you could induce are:
Keep It Feel Good
Create content that triggers positive emotions such as delight, astonishment, excitement and awe. People are more likely to share uplifting content.
Provide an Incentive
If you can provide a meaningful incentive, your content is more likely to get engagement. E.g. offer a discount if e-mail subscribers invite their friends to like you on Facebook.
Also consider special offers, discounts, competitions and access to exclusive content to provide incentives for customer action.
Focus On Benefits Over Features
Rather than just discuss the features of your product, you need to discuss its benefits. Benefits connect with your visitor on an emotional level and give them the justifications for making a purchase.
Adopt an Engaging Writing Style
Some notes on engaging writing style for online content.
Use Enticing Titles
Write Short Sentences
Write shorter sentences. These are easier to follow and won't lose your reader.
Keep Paragraphs Short
Keep paragraphs very short. Three or four sentences is enough.
Short paragraphs are more scannable. People scan online, they don't read every word.
Engage your reader with personal stories or experiences.
Use Power Words
Great writers use power words to tap into your emotions, e.g. free, astonishing, silly, confession, reveal.
Make it Scannable - Use Headings and Sub-Headings
Content must be easily scannable.
People scan web pages, they don't read every word. Therefore, your web content should contain clear headings and sub-headings so that people can scan it easily.
If your page is not scannable, visitors will just abandon it to find something easier to read.
Use Facts and Sources
These will give your writing more credibility. The more proof you have in your article, the more you will convince your visitor to take action.
Have an Appealing Page Design and Layout
Looks matter, and your web page should look good. People will make an instant judgement on your credibility just from the look of your page. So, make sure you use a good design with a good colour scheme and page layout etc.
Pick an easy to read font.
Use bullet points where appropriate.
As already mentioned, use headings and subheadings.
If your content can elicit a strong positive emotional response in people, it has the potential to go viral.
People will share things that are exciting, positive, feel good, surprising etc.
How to create viral content is a topic in itself. For now, our viral marketing resources page may help.
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The Nine Ingredients That Make Great Content from the Kissmetrics Blog
Related Search Phrases
Content marketing strategy
Engaging content ideas
How to make content engaging
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