It’s easy to take quality online content for granted. After all, the Internet has given anyone who wants to be heard a platform, and not everyone has the skills to create captivating content that people genuinely want to read. These days, engaging online content is not only what retains viewers; it is also the key to ranking high on SERPS. Understanding what goes into creating engaging content is a monumental step towards boosting your online presence, gaining traffic, and increasing conversion rates.
20 Things to consider while creating Engaging Content For Audience
Embrace Your Niche
Before we delve into the many nuances and details that go into the creation of engaging content, it is important to note there is no one-size-fits-all approach to online marketing. What works for one website may not be ideal for yours, so it is important that you consider the context that makes your organization unique. On the other hand, there are some universal truths to either embrace or avoid, and those are the points we are going to focus on in the guide.
Do Some Research
Authentic communication is crucial. Today’s Internet users have been exposed to countless websites, and they can tell the difference between the real deal and an imitator. Fortunately, if you are truly passionate about a topic, it will show through. Spend some time browsing other similar websites, try to find content that engages you, and try to pinpoint what it is that makes that content captivating.
While you don’t want to imitate your competitors directly, taking influence from various sources is an excellent strategy to create a voice uniquely yours. Just like music, painting, or virtually any other art form, the key to creating something uniquely yours is to borrow bits and pieces from a wide range of established sources.
Find Your Voice
As you do your research, you are going to start to notice subtle differences in each organization’s unique voice. Some companies may have a very professional and authoritative voice with complex language, corporate jargon, and unfamiliar technical terms. Others take a friendlier approach with whimsical language, jokes, and a brighter and more playful overall feel. Consider the product or service you are offering, and try to find a voice that matches that persona.
Create a Character
One helpful trick for finding your voice is to create a persona for your organization. Try to imagine what your company would look, sound, and act like it were a person. Think about the attributes this character would embody, and try to create content that sounds like the natural voice of that person. For instance, if you are creating content for a hospital’s website, you could imagine a doctor speaking with a direct and clinical voice that is also warm and empathetic. Think about the character’s relation to the consumer, and use that voice and tone.
Choose Your Words Wisely
As you find your voice, you are going to realize that some words just don’t work. Corporate jargon has no place on a fashion website, and whimsical, humor-laden content has no place on a law firm’s website. One of the most common mistakes that new writers make is trying to show off their prodigious vocabularies.
Instead of reaching for your thesaurus, think about the perspective of the reader. Are you able to convey the same message in a more succinct and direct way? There is nothing wrong with using large words when they work, but don’t try to beef up thin content with synonyms.
You wouldn’t approach someone at a party and immediately start telling them about how your company has the lowest prices and best products. Take that same approach when you write. While you don’t want to beat around the bush, it is important that spend some time warming up your readers before you start trying to sell or push an agenda.
Identify Your Purpose
This point may seem obvious, but it is surprising how many writers don’t know why they are writing. Yes, your website needs to have content, but why? What is the end goal? Are you trying to educate or inform your readers, or just entertain them? Are you trying to gain leads to sell a product or service, or are you trying to gain a following to drive brand awareness? Is your goal for creating the content to boost search engine rankings and gain inbound links? These are all questions you need to ask yourself before you start writing.
Know Your Audience
The number-one rule in creating engaging content is to know who your audience is and what they are interested in reading. From that base starting point, you can come up with a variety of other ideas. For instance, if you have a website about wine tasting, your audience may be interested in a variety of related topics such as the winemaking process, the top 10 wineries in the United States, and complimentary food pairings.
Use Analytical Tools
If you are having problems coming up with ideas, you may want to use some online research tools. For example, Keyword Tool is a program that helps you to find out the exact keywords that people are searching for. With that information, you can write content that caters specifically to your current or potential audience.
The filament is another valuable tool that provides you with useful data pertaining to visitor behavior, traffic patterns, sharing, and more. Knowing what works and what doesn’t is going to help you to write focused posts that captivate your audience while also drawing in new visitors.
Start a Conversation
The head of the dinner table isn’t the only person to speak. One of the best ways to engage your audience is to get them involved. These days, most people are at least on the major social networks, and if you play your cards right you can get them to your advertise your content willingly. One share can lead to hundreds, thousands, or even millions more, so you should never underestimate the power of social media. Ask your audience for their opinions, and include links to share your content directly from your page.
You could be the next Shakespeare, but if your content doesn’t look pretty, it might as well not exist at all. Nobody is going to bother trying to read a wall of text, format your content with these elements.
- Bulleted lists
- Internal links
- Short paragraphs
The vast majority of today’s Internet users are going to scan a long piece before reading it to determine if it is going to be worth their time. You need to have a readable layout if you want people to be engaged form the opening sentence all the way until the conclusion.
Design Your Content for Multiple Screens
How we absorb content is constantly changing. Today, most people have at least two devices – a computer and a mobile phone – and many have other devices such as tablets as well. It is important that your website can be viewed comfortably on any-sized screen. Ask your friends to view your content on their devices, and take note of how it looks. You may find that changing your formatting, font size, and web design may improve your viewers’ experience.
Attract Readers with a Headline
The headline is often what is going to make or break your piece. After all, if nobody clicks, it really does not matter how engaging your content is. First, your headline should be benefit-driven. People want to know that they are going to have gained something by the time they are finished reading your content. You want to make a promise that entices the reader, without giving too much away. It is also important to note that if you make a promise, you must remember to keep it!
You should also appeal to the reader’s sense of curiosity. One of the easiest and most effective ways to do so is simply by asking a question. Another is to make a vague statement that promises an exciting answer. It is worth noting that click-bait titles can actually work against you, depending on your content. If you promise to provide three mind-blowing facts about cats, you had better make sure that the facts are actually going to blow minds.
Engaging content is worthless if it is not factually accurate. Your goal as a content creator should be to become your audience’s go-to resource, and that means earning and retaining their trust. It only takes one error to ruin that relationship, so spend some time checking your facts and citing your sources. While that approach may not be necessary for opinion pieces, it can still help you to show that you are an authority in your field by backing up your claims with proof.
Share Your Content through Relevant Channels
Engaging is a relevant term. You could write engaging content about your favorite Chinese food restaurants in Philadelphia, but that doesn’t mean your audience in California is going to be engaged. You need to make sure that you are sending out your content to the audience that is going to appreciate it. Your Philly Chinese food reviews would be welcomed on local Philly foodie forums – not on a sports board.
Respond to Your Viewers
Are you stuck for an idea? Ask your audience directly! One of the best ways to create engaging content is to create content based on what your audience wants to know. If you have received an inquiry from one reader, there is a strong chance that others may have similar questions.
You can also go on social media, and ask your followers directly what kind of content interests them. Don’t be afraid to appeal to the masses for content ideas; it’s one of the most powerful ways to make sure that your audience is engaged.
Be Consistent and Current
The best way to keep viewers returning is to instill confidence. For instance, if you run a music blog and an anticipated album just came out, you need to be first on the block to write your review. Eventually, your audience will begin to go directly to your website, rather than searching around. If you run a website about movies, you had better be there for Star Wars’ opening night. Timeliness and consistency keep people returning for more.
Give Your Readers Something for Their Time
Sometimes a little bribe can go a long way. Of course, it doesn’t make sense to pay someone directly to read and share your content, but you can offer special discounts, previews, and other promotions to keep your audience coming back. Close your article with a call to action that asks for your reader’s opinions, and offer a prize for the best response. You may pay a little bit out of pocket, but the attention gained may outweigh the small monetary loss.
Hire a Professional
Sometimes it just makes more sense to hire someone to create engaging content for you. If you don’t quite feel confident in your writing abilities, you are going to be better off contacting a reputable online marketing company. Besides helping you to create engaging content, a knowledgeable agency can provide other important services like SEO and web design. If you decide to take this route, make sure you spend some time choosing the right writer to represent your organization accurately.
Take Your Time
The quality of your content matters so doesn’t rush it. If you are not feeling inspired today, wait until tomorrow. Spend some time making sure that your spelling and grammar are on point, and eliminate any unnecessary fluff. If you start to feel like you are exhausting your mind, save your progress and come back to it. Your content is a direct reflection of your organization, so you should never publish something you are not completely proud to put your name on. Be passionate, authentic, and empathetic, and the rest will come naturally.