If you’ve spent even a little bit of time marketing your small business online, you probably heard two things more times than you can count: content is king, and your content needs to be engaging. Plenty of digital marketers repeat these mantras like broken records, but offer little advice on how to improve content quality. Today we’re going to be taking a closer look at how make content more engaging. But before we do, let’s define what “engaging” actually means. Merriam-Webster defines engaging as follows:
“tending to draw favorable attention or interest”
Make no mistake: those two qualities are mission-critical. If your content doesn’t merit the attention of others or interest them, what reason would they have of clicking on your content? Before we dig into what makes content engaging, I would like to make a distinction between organic website traffic and social media traffic.
Consider that even though blog content needs to be optimized for search engines, engaging content is going to shine the brightest on social media channels. As a user peruses through their Facebook feed, you only have a few seconds to grab their attention and pique their curiosity. If you are successful, then the user will likely comment, like, and share your content, which has a gravitational effect that attracts even more eyeballs.
On the other hand, consider that a user who found your post through a Google search that returned a link to your blog probably has very different motives than a Facebook user. Their keywords may have been specifically targeted for a product or service, which casts the Google user as a warm lead and the Facebook user as a cold lead. Despite that distinction, note that no matter where the traffic is coming from, your content needs to be engaging to keep your bounce rate under control, provide a positive user experience, and encourage users to take action.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the 3 best ways to boost your content’s level of engagement.
Draw from Emotion to Make Content More Powerful
Emotional connections can have a powerful effect upon the human mind. For example, people more easily remember facts, figures, and past situations in which they had a strong emotional experience, such as a wedding, the birth of family member, or a particularly happy live event, such as a loved one graduating from university. Additionally, unhappy or scary moments can have a strong impact as well.
More specifically, see if you can find a way to tie an emotion to your product or service, such as one or more of the following:
• Negative emotions that uncover a painful situation, problem, or fear, and how your product or service can help alleviate that painful situation
• Positive feelings that come from the solution to a problem, a way to improve an individual’s life, or a way to help them secure a better future
• Creating an air of urgency and fear of missing out due to a limited time offer, or pointing out negative repercussions resulting from a failure to take action
• Foster feelings of trust with tools like hard data, positive user reviews, social proof, and personal stories
• Feelings of improved self-esteem and self worth resulting from an improvement (e.g. weight loss, improved attractiveness, etc.)
These aren’t the only ways to tie emotion to your product or service, but appealing to human beings’ emotional side will definitely help make your content more engaging.
Mine Ideas and Topics from Commenters
You’ll also want to make your content more engaging by mining content ideas and topics from user generated content and comments on your blog and Facebook. Basically, you want to use comments as a way to unearth trends and topics that are valuable to your audience.
Instead of playing the guessing game and simply trying to find the best topics on your own, you can use comments to gain insight into the minds of your visitors. Remember, however, that trying to please everyone is the same as trying to please no one. Catering to the masses won’t make infallible content, but it will help set you down the right path towards crafting engaging content that matters to your audience.
Craft Engaging Content Through a Narrative
Telling a story can be a potent and effective way to produce more engaging content. And you don’t need to have the creative skills of a fiction writing genius like Stephen King, either.
Some sources of story-telling ideas could include the following:
• How your product or service had a massive impact in the lives of your customers
• How your company, product, or service relates to topical issues
• Origin stories of the business’s founder(s)
• How your local business strengthens or improves the local community
• How your product or service was used to enrich and fulfill the lives of others (such as this Duracell commercial)
There are, of course, other sources of positive stories you can use to incorporate into your content, but these four are a great place to start.
Your content should naturally grow to be more engaging if you’re putting in the legwork it takes to understand and connect with your audience. If you don’t already understand your audience, personas are a great place to start. At any rate, use these tips to make your content more engaging to have a greater impact online.
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