Anyone can produce content.
But content without a purpose is not effective. You need to consider the goals of your content marketing strategy. Ask yourself what you want your audience to do when they consume your content.
Whatever that answer is, your content needs to be engaging if you want to accomplish those goals. What is engaging content?
Well, it all depends on whom you ask and how it’s measured. For me, engaging content is all about getting results, such as:
- increase in traffic
Any of these metrics can be used to measure engagement.
Here’s something else to keep in mind. If your content doesn’t engage your readers, they simply won’t consume and retain the information. This will end up being a big waste of your time, money, and resources.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying it’s easy to come up with great content.
If you’re currently putting out posts, images, and videos that are average at best, it’ll take some more effort on your part if you want to see some results.
But it’s worth it. If you put in the extra effort to focus on improving your content marketing strategy, it will ultimately help your business make more money.
Not sure where to start? That’s what I’m here for!
I’ve come up with this resource of the top tips for producing content that engages your audience.
Let’s dive into it!
Get Super Engaging Content For Your Website
Have a Detailed Content Strategy
Want to experience content marketing success more quickly? Then you’ve got to have a plan. According to a 2013 survey from the Content Marketing Institute, only 44% of content marketers have a clear strategy — one of the many reasons these marketers struggle to gain traction.
Think about it: If you don’t know who you’re writing for or how to best reach them, how are you going to nail your content execution efforts on the first try? Simply put, you’re not.
You’re going to release content with broad appeal that speaks meaningfully to no one, and you’re going to waste time creating content piece after content piece that never really connects with your audience.
That’s why I don’t start by brainstorming blog post topics or throwing around ideas for possible ebooks or whitepapers. Instead, I create a document with a complete content marketing strategy that goes into detail on the following elements:
- The brand image I want to convey through content;
- The type of content that’ll resonate with the target audience;
- The ideal way to deliver content to that target audience.
Without answering these and other questions about your target audience in advance, you risk wasting time.
Know Your Chronobiology
Every human being has a different natural rhythm to their creative life.
Some of us reliably do our best writing before breakfast, while others would find it difficult to write a coherent sentence until after noon.
Scientists call this chronobiology — your natural, internal biological clock.
Simply put, you’re hard-wired to be more naturally creative at certain times of day, and you’re less brilliant at other times.
Whenever possible, don’t fight your biology. Don’t try to write in your least productive time periods. It’ll take you longer to do the same amount of work, and the results probably won’t be as good.
Instead, try to organize your life so that your peak creative time is free of trivial tasks, phone appointments, or twitter.
Then, write like mad.
Use Content Creation Tools
Content Idea Generator – Portent’s Content Idea Generator is a fun and easy way to get headlines and engaging content ideas. Simply enter a phrase or keyword and receive unlimited ideas. The automated system offers catchy and humorous headlines and is easy to navigate.
Copyscape – You never want to publish copied or stolen work online. Content must be 100% original, or you risk to ruin your reputation and losing viewers. Scan all material with Copyscape before publishing to be sure you work is properly referenced and always unique.
Grammarly – Grammarly is probably the best spelling and grammar checker around. Apart from being able to spot errors other grammar-checking apps can’t, it will also help you optimize your text and make it more readable. Make it a habit of running your text through Grammarly; it will turn you into a better writer.
Write Shorter Sentences
You don’t have to write like William Shakespeare to produce engaging content. Actually, it helps not to be too eloquent or wordy.
In other words, lose the words.
Don’t write lengthy sentences. You’ll lose people. Stick to a 5th grader’s reading level and vocabulary. A great way to make sure you’re writing at a proper level is by simply running your articles through spell check on Microsoft word.
Aside from identifying any spelling errors, spell check will show your readability statistics. This is a great tool to help gauge your content and make sure it’ll be fully absorbed.
This doesn’t mean your writing shouldn’t have flow, style or purpose. Simply means write shorter sentences that don’t drag on. And they obviously need to be easily understandable.
Write the Introduction Last
The introduction is the most important part of your content. It sets the tone, argument and theme for the rest of the post.
I find it helpful to write the meat of the article first, then go back and write the intro. This way, I can build out the body of the content and create an engaging intro that aligns to it.
Plus, if you aren’t entirely sure what you’re going to write, how can you introduce it?
Publish Accurate Information
If you’ve been reading my blogs for a while, you know how much I love to include statistics and research within my content.
I recommend you do the same.
But you need to be careful of the information you publish. Basically, anyone can put anything on the Internet today. It’s important that you recognize the quality and accuracy of the websites you’re sourcing.
You may come across a relevant statistic, but if it’s on some no-name blog and doesn’t include a data source, you can’t know for sure whether the information is accurate.
That’s why it’s best to source your information from authority sites only. In addition to making sure the source is reputable, make sure it’s recent.
Use a Storytelling Approach
A great professor once said that people don’t remember facts, they remember stories.
Because you’re a content writer, it can be a little challenging to set your writing apart. The way you set yourself apart, and make your blog, journal, or site updates more memorable is to use a storytelling approach.
Incorporate your facts, statistics, and points into relatable stories that your reader will remember.
Simply recount your own experiences, invent fictitious stories and/or pull from across the web and paraphrase others’ experiences.
Create Original Content More Efficiently
Content curation can be a touchy subject in the content marketing world. Although some experts find it to be an easy way to increase scalability, others argue that repurposing other people’s content makes it difficult to gain traction as a brand.
And it seems as if this latter camp might be winning out: A recent survey from Social Media Examiner found that 81% of content strategists are expected to focus more heavily on creating original content in the next year, rather than deploying curated or repurposed content.
Me, personally? I think there’s truth to be found in both positions. While curated content can be helpful in terms of filling out editorial calendars, original content is still where it’s at for brand building and driving social awareness.
Of course, creating original content doesn’t always have to mean slaving away over 2,000+ word blog posts or investing countless hours (and dollars) into infographic creation.
End with a Bang
Do not waste your conclusion or closing statement. Use the bottom of a page or your content and wrap up the overall idea. Make it memorable and catchy, so that your readers stay on your page until they have completed reading all of your content.
Give yourself time to recharge sometimes. Walk away from your content and go for a walk to the local coffee shop. Listen to some music and breathe. It’s important to let your mind rest so that it can perform at its peak more often than not.
Pro tip: Walk outside 15 minutes before writing. If you can’t walk just try to get some downtime outside. Preferably in the nature or a park.
These rules are not set in stone. Like with all road maps, sometimes a detour is necessary to find your way. To shine break the mold, try something new, and improvise. To truly succeed at writing engaging content, you have to find a way to stand out from the rest.
Producing engaging content isn’t easy. That’s why businesses agree that it’s the most challenging aspect of their marketing campaigns.
But with some extra time and effort, you can figure out ways to create engaging content. It’s all about being original and separating yourself from the crowd. Produce content that’s actionable. All of your information needs to be accurate and up to date.
Tell stories to capture the attention of your readers. Make them think outside the box. Use visual elements to enhance your content. Focus on getting clicks with your headlines and then keep your readers interested with the opening lines and introduction.
Don’t use only one of these strategies. Mix up your content to keep things interesting. If you follow above tips, you’ll find it much easier to create highly engaging content.