So you want to create more engaging content – Content that will turn first time visitors into regular visitors!
You have tried all the tricks in the book to make your content engaging, but it doesn’t work.
You even tried all the strategies taught by the gurus in your niche. But, all effort to get your audience to engage with your content is futile.
So what Now?
The Secrets Of Engaging Content
Engaging content, is like love at first sight.
If you have ever fallen in love at first sight raise your hand!
If you have, it is the same feeling you have when you connect with engaging content.
You just fall in love with it.
Engaging content is attractive, appealing and draws the reader in, line by line. You want to read more. It connects with you, it fulfills your needs.
It is valuable to you.
That is what an engaging content is.
And very importantly, engaging content is not regurgitated content found everywhere on the web.
As this report shows – one of the top challenges business owners are facing is producing engaging content.
This is because, content that doesn’t engage your readers will not convert to leads or sales.
The ultimate goal of an engaging content is to transform (educate and entertain) your reader.
The person who starts reading the post is not the same person who finishes reading it.
They have changed.
The change can be a permanent or a temporary one. But the fact is, the reader is changed by reading the post.
Engaging content helps the reader to take action. This action could include opting into your list, purchasing your product, asking for a consultation, e.t.c.
Thus, to succeed in your content marketing campaign, you must create engaging content for your audience.
How To Create Engaging Content – The 5 Step Plan
#1 Listen-in to your Audience’s Conversations…
Listening to your audience’s conversations online will help you to create engaging content.
Look at this example.
J.C. Penny is a company known for its discounts, especially its coupon and promotions. The company has been successful in these strategies for a long time.
But, everything changed when the company appointed a new CEO, Ron Johnson. Ron worked with Apple before he joined J.C. Penny. Thus, he tried to use apple’s marketing strategy for JC Penny.
He eradicated the discount system and introduced low prices. He created a campaign called “Enough is enough”, without sampling their customers’ opinion.
He thought their customers should be valued and not bought cheaply. This campaign backfired.
You know why?
Because their customers actually loved the discount system.
It did not go well with the consumers who were used to the hype and buzz system. This mistake led to a drop of 20% in sales and it kept on declining ever since.
What was Ron Johnson’s mistake?
He did not listen to their customers. He did not even seek for their opinion. He thought consumers were tired of coupons. He did not know that their customers enjoyed the coupons.
You see, you must listen to what your audience is saying before you do anything, including creating engaging content?
Listening to them will make you know what they talk about. This includes their worries and concerns, interest and preferences, e.t.c. You will know the content they regularly share.
If you get this step right, you will always create a content that engages your readers.
Fortunately, there are tools you can use to listen to what your audience is talking about, such as:
Hootsuite is a great social media listening tool. It can help you to listen to conversation that relates to your niche. You can read conversations on what your target audience needs and their problems.
With Hootsuite, you can learn about the interests of your audience.
To set up Hootsuite for listening to conversations:
Sign in to your Hootsuite account – Click on add stream on your dashboard. You will see a pop up screen with four tabs – streams, search, keywords and lists.
Click on Keywords and type as many keywords as you want to use. Type it one at a time and click on add.
When you are done, click on “add stream”.
You will see a new column with tweets mentioning conversations containing your keywords like the one below:
You can do the same for your Facebook, Linkedin and Google accounts in Hootsuite. The next thing is to start monitoring the conversation. Soon enough, you will see topics you can create engaging content on.
Buzzsumo is a tool that allows you to know what your audience are currently sharing.
For example, I typed “First date” into the tool. I Clicked on “most shared”, to see what my audience is currently sharing on the topic. Below is the result.
Take a look at the third topic “35 hilariously stupid things real people have actually done on a first date”.
It is an engaging content. You can see that it received 114.2k shares.
Most readers will want to know stupid things people do on their first date.
I could come up with a similar content and titled it “Simple, stupid things that people do on a first date”.
It evokes curiosity and so, people will want to read and share it.
#2 Write an Irresistible Introduction
The introduction of your content is vital! It will either make your readers stay to read or leave immediately.
This implies that your introduction must be irresistible to make your visitors want to read the content. (Time is valuable and people increasingly ask – is it going to be worth my while reading this?)
Secrets of creating a great introduction.
a) Use stories in your introduction
Stories are important in content creation. If you have not been using it, I implore you to try it. You only need one story in your introduction. It will hook your audience into the content. It makes people relax and leads them gently into your content.
Look at this article from Mary Jaksch.
Isn’t it interesting?
Learn how to incorporate stories into your introduction and you will keep your readers engaged.
b) Use anecdotes
Anecdotes are short, punchy interesting stories about an incident or a person. Below is a good anecdote used in the introductory part of an article written by Julie Neidlinger.
The anecdote is “I once wrote a newspaper story that killed a man”.
That is a short, interesting and intriguing anecdote. It makes you wonder how a newspaper story can actually kill someone. It propels you into the content.
c) Use interesting facts
When you use facts or statistics in your post, its boost your credibility. Use statistics that are in line with the topic you are discussing. It will help you to hook readers into the content.
A good example of this is post from hephzysocial:
d) Ask Questions:
This is another great way to draw your audience in. However, you must be careful not to use irrelevant questions. See an example below from Neil Patel:
Did you see the lead in question? That is how to do it!
e) Use quotes
Quotes are a great way to start your introduction. People like reading quotes a lot, especially quotes with inspiring words from popular people. It helps to build authority and trust.
A perfect example is “how to create and live your perfect day”
It simply motivates readers to read the content.
#3 Create Timely Content for Your Audience.
Content marketing is not just about creating content. It is also about creating timely content and delivering it just in time for your audience to profit from it.
The major problem most business owners have, is creating the right content for the right audience at the right time. When you are able to hit these three metrics, your content scores big time.
There are two ways you can create timely content:
a) Watch out for trending topics
There are trending topics on almost every niche from time to time. All you need is to set up tools that will enable you to know when such trends come up.
One tool you can start with is Hootsuite which we talked about earlier. As you monitor your audience conversation, you can easily know what they are talking about. You will also come across questions people are asking in regards to your topic.
Another tool you can use is the Google alert tool. It is very useful. You can set alert for your keywords and when such keywords come up, you will receive notifications in your email inbox.
For example, if you are in the dating niche and you want to know what is trending in that niche. You can create an alert for it using Google alert like this:
Type http://www.google.com/alerts into your browser
Log in with your Google account (for most of us, that will be the same login as our Gmail account)
Enter the keywords you want to monitor separated by commas…
Click on options
Select how how often you want to receive the alert. I suggest you choose “as it happens” so you will be on top of the game.
Select the sources i.e. news, video, blog, etc. (I suggest you select automatic – to cover all the sources)
Select the language, Choose the region and Choose the number of results. (You can choose all results)
Select the email you will like it to be delivered to:
Click on create and you are set to go.
Pretty soon, you will start receiving alerts in your inbox.
b) Focus on trending news
Also known as newsjacking. It is very important you monitor the news and maximize it to engage your audience from time to time. There will always be trending news in any industry.
It is a good way to enhance your search engine optimization efforts. It will also improve your brand recognition and drive traffic to your website.
You can still use Google trends to find the trending news in your industry.
A good example of a brand that does this well is Snickers. They leverage every available opportunity in the news to promote their product. For example, when soccer player, Luis Suarez, bit Italian Giorgio Chiellini in the World Cup, they created a campaign around it.
It is a funny post that shows that Suarez should have bitten their snickers instead of the Italian. It is a funny message that resonated well with their audience and the post got 1,500 shares on their Facebook page.
You can also make use of seasonal topics like Festivities to engage your audience. These include Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving…
#4 Appeal to Their Emotions
In the introductory part of this article, we learn that engaging content produces changes in readers. How do you bring your readers to this point of change?.
One way to do this is by working on their emotions.
Engaging content helps to bring out a desired emotion in readers.
How do you bring out the emotions of your readers?
The secret of is using different emotions in your content.
Below are 4 powerful emotions and examples of contents that have used them.
Everyone is afraid of one thing or the other. The fact is, people find it difficult to resist taking action when they are motivated with fear. For instance, you can make your audience worry about making mistakes they are not aware of. When people are scared, they want to tell other people and so your content gets more engagement and shares
A good example is a post from social triggers with the title “how images improve or destroy conversion rates”
We all know that images helps usability. So, why will it affect conversions.
It triggers fear.
Create a post like this and you will generate engagement.
This is another emotion that will help your audience to take action. Berger and Milkman’s research discovered that content that makes readers get angry is 34% more likely to be featured on New York Times most e-mailed list than the average article.
The secret here is to create content that challenges general beliefs, assumptions or opinions. Such content will surely generate lots of engagements. A good example of this is a post written by Stanton Peele for Psmag.com titled “The truth we won’t admit: Drinking is healthy”
It is a popular believe that drinking can cause different kind of health problems, but here is a post telling us that drinking is healthy.
This can spark up anger. The post garnered up 7.4k shares in the social media.
When people are happy, they can do something they won’t normally do, such as, engaging with your content and sharing it. How do you trigger the emotion of joy in your readers?
One good way is by telling them a story that triggers the joy emotion. Make sure that people can connect with such stories. Create content that will make them laugh, inspire and entertain them and they will engage with it.
A great example of this is:
The dancing babies Evian commercial youtube video. It is a good one. You can’t but laugh when you watch it. A good call to action after the video finished playing will generate lots of engagement.
One way to get your audience’s attention is to challenge what they believe. You can provide another angle that they have not seen before. A good example is this post from Seth Adam. The title is “Marriage isn’t for you“. It is a surprising headline, because many people believe in marriage. It is surprising to see someone with a contrary opinion.
The article evokes curiosity and so many people read it.
The article generated a lot of engagement and also received over 1.8 million shares on Facebook alone.
One thing you have to be careful when creating content around emotions is not to produce too many articles using this style. It can irritate your readers and you will lose them. (Above all – do not go for Click Bait using a Title that has nothing or little to do with the article you have written)
Creating an article on one emotion per month is a good target in your content plan.
#5 Create Actionable Content
Creating actionable content generates engagement.
When your content is not actionable, you waste your money and efforts.
Look at it this way,
When you add calls to action to your content, it becomes actionable. But, are your readers acting on it? If they are not, then that means they did not trust you enough to do business with you.
How do you create actionable content that will trigger engagement?
The solution is to create content that will provide answers to your audience’s problems. This will enable them to get value out of your content. They will start trusting you and then, they will act on your call to action. There is no other way around it.
You must learn how to create actionable content that will enable you to build solid relationships with your audience. Then, and only then, will they engage with your content and take the action that means profit for your business.
That you will master of the art of Creating Engaging Content… is our sincerest wish for all our readers…
Hephzy Asaolu specialises in content creation and marketing. Check out her blog for quality content creation tips.