Yes, content is king.
But what is content if it's not engaging enough to move your target audience towards taking actions your business needs to keep the lights on?
Creating engaging content doesn't only serve as a marketing tool, but positions your business as the go-to in terms of your customer experience efforts.
As businesses continue to rely on traffic to generate sales; paid or organic, chances that you are always struggling to put out content that resonates with your target audience is high.
Truth is, you're not the only one competing for their attention. It's like a war zone, no one want to get cut down. You don't want to too, do you?
Thanks to the internet, the world has become so noisy that whoever gets heard first often wins the battle even before the war begins.
Think of this, there are millions (if not billions) of articles, blog posts, and email newsletters going out every single minute.
Why would I want to listen to you instead of your competitor?
The single obvious answer to that question is to create engaging content that your target audience considers valuable, every single time.
Thus, in this article, you'll find strategic points to help your organisation cut through the noise and position your business in the hearts and (wallets) of your target audience.
However, truly engaging content originates from understanding what content marketing is.
Therefore, let's do the honors by starting from the origin.
What Is Content Marketing?
Unfortunately, there is no one-answer-fit-all here, but anything that let's you lift a heavy load consistently by simply applying a small effort is worth doing right?
Well, content marketing according to HubSpot, is, providing any information (whether that be a status update, blog post, pre-recorded video, podcasts etc) that solves a pain, problem or struggle that your present or potential customers have.
It is in addressing specific problems through your content that you gain a place of engagement, patronage, and loyalty with people.
This is essential.
Difference Between Amazing and Engaging Content and Which To Go For?
We are in the information age where it is easier to access any information at a go. Let me ask: when was the last time you asked someone for the latest phone to buy, its specifics, or price?
If you are like me, before I start out for any purchasing need, I already know as much as I can about that product.
Thanks to the internet, and, of course, Google.
For you to stay in business, you need a constant flow of engaged customers, I mean paying customers and you can't get them with just amazing content.
Don't get me wrong, amazing contents are good but not good for business. For by creating amazing content you supply to their entertainment needs but an engaging content speaks to their hearts and wallets.
Remember, human beings buy with emotions before even justifying with logic.
Therefore, let's look at how to create engaging content to keep your audience engaged and moving towards pulling out their wallets.
15 Steps To Create Contents That Engage Your Audience
1. Research Before You Write
You don't want to come off as someone who doesn't understand what they are saying. The beauty of content creation is that when done right, it engenders trust in the mind of whosoever is consuming it.
Here is what to note:
- Who is your customer?
- Where does he/she live?
- What do they do?
- What language and age bracket do they represent?
- How do they behave and what are their interests?
You are not doing this because without it you won't write well, no, it is because you want to tailor your message to meet the right audience for that particular campaign. One thing you must know is that you can't write to everyone online and people have different modes of understanding.
2. Tell Stories
If you are not writing an academic report or an abstract reality, then it is not odd to add story to your content. The fact is, human beings are suckers for good stories. You can judge this by the number of hours you stay huddled watching a TV series or reading an engaging book.
Over and over again, people will always want to read something about something. There are certain dimensions that you can follow.
The importance is to grab the needed attention to make them read until the end or at least to take an action.
This is what you need to know to keep growing. The dimensions to consider in this case are:
- Represent thoughts that you know a potential client has of a particular problem you are solving.
- Create the feeling that you know what they are passing through.
- Engage their minds by being true and helpful.
The best thing to do in most cases is to sit down and analyse what you feel would be an interesting story to tell a friend who is in such need.
With that in mind, you recreate such a model in your content.
3. Have A Unique Voice
Before you begin writing, one of the basic things you should know is that we all have different styles and tones that resonates with our writings.
What works for Mr A might not work for you, that is why it is necessary for you to maintain a particular voice while writing.
If you come off as the jovial type, people reading you will know. If your tone is commanding and forceful, you'll attract your kind.
The in-thing is to maintain it.
Remember, you will never write for everyone online. It is best you segment your potential customers by writing in the tone they do understand.
One of the things that kills creativity is, in most cases imitation. There is nothing wrong with adaptation. In fact, the best content writers are known to be the best ethical thieves.
Yes, I said it because apart from the fact that I write in my own unique style, I equally adopt a lot of styles from other experts.
4. Command Attention With Your Headline
Let's not pretend, you've probably heard this before, headlines remain the first thing your potential readers see before they jump right into your content.
Let me ask you, can you can enter a vehicle without a headlamp at night?
Certainly no, unless you are drunk!
Headlines are like headlamps that illuminate your way on the road you travel.
There are so many ways to generate headlines:
- How to....eg (How To Win Friends and Influence People)
- Question laced... (Do You Feel Overwhelmed With Work, This Guide Teaches You...)
- Negative Pointers... (Why You Should Stop Doing This...)
The best thing to always do is to look at what your content is going to represent and write out about 3-5 simple explanations to it and from there figure out which best captures your intention.
Always be concise, simple and straightforward. I advise that you maintain an 8-12 word headline.
5. Be Relevant and Give Value
This happens to be the meat of this conversation. Why would I want to listen to you if you don't provide something that I want?
Not only do you have to provide something beneficial too me, can it really solve the problem I have.
You need to realize this; people will always pay attention to whoever solves their problems. And your business can only be recognized when it becomes a problem solver.
Don't just publish content because you have to, rather, publish content because you know that is answers a question and it will go a long way in solving a potential client's worries.
It is like being a captain of a ship that ferries sick people to the hospitals in your locality. At the point of this service, you have the power to tell the sick person that you know the best hospital that would take care of their health needs.
They have trusted you far enough and the natural response is to entrust their life to you and that's the power of a great content.
6. Have A Content Plan As Part Of Your Strategy
Don't just wake up and jump into publishing content.
People don't need to know on a daily basis that your business generates over 1 million in revenue or that you have a yacht especially if it doesn't promote your business.
Sometimes, it is important to keep private things private.
By having a content plan, you won't run the risk of always looking for content to share. In fact, it will narrow your mind to concentrate on what is important, thereby increasing the speed at which you work.
Let's look at this guide:
You have a business that caters for pregnant women especially the first-timers.
You publish content weekly and your aim is to sell a course overtime on 'How to buy the best baby wears'.
This is what your content plan should look like:
1. First Week
A blog post that educates expectant mothers on the right food to eat, what alcoholic beverages to avoid, what to expect as the fetus grows etc.
2. Second Week
A blog post that talks about trimesters and what to do or not do during each one.
And on and on, till you have exhausted all there is to write about pregnancy tips.
Keep in mind that you are the captain they would trust with their lives. So if you do your job well, you'll sell anything to them consistently.
One sweet thing about publishing good content is that you won't have to do it over and over again.
If you get it right the first time, the traffic it will keep generating overtime will overwhelm you.
7. Create A Readable Content
You are obviously not writing for yourself, so the focus should always be on your potential audience.
That is why it is important to put yourself in the shoes of your customers and speak in a clear but yet simple style.
You don't want people running to their dictionaries all the time just because they are reading what you wrote.
8. Be Consistent
There is one thing with the online space you should know; people associate consistency with seriousness and as a basis for trust.
How you treat your business in this case, your content marketing is the same way your potential customers will treat what you offer.
If you publish today and go on vacation the next, when they come back to visit and see nothing, they'll assume you've packed up.
Although, this is not to say that you have to be churning out content especially blog posts everyday.
It is possible, but you might miss the mark and start publishing contents with no substance. By being consistent, it means, you should set a time to always put out fresh content for your target audience.
9. Use Subheadings
By making use of subheadings, you increase the chances of your potential customers spending more time on your content.
Again, it is necessary in order not to clog the whole content in such a way that it becomes difficult to know what to read and what you have already read.
People love spaces in real life and on the internet, although, space here is the white layers you will leave in between the paragraphs.
10. Don't Sell First
Have you ever been sold at, by some salesperson you are just meeting for the time? How did you feel: irritated or disinterested?
Your guess is as good as mine!
At first, humans avoid being sold to. It is just natural. That is why it is very important to always educate customers before you sell to them.
Truth is, people buy from people that they trust and this trust can only be built when they know and like you.
Once this process is complete, it becomes easy for them to part with their money to give you as the problem solver.
11. Take Time and Understand Each Process
People are making decisions every single minute of the hour and you should too.
The question is, how can you influence their thoughts if you don't understand the process or journey they are on.
It might be the awareness stage or even the buying stage, how does your content move their emotions if you don't understand this.
Remember, we are emotional beings, we will always buy with emotions and then justify with logic.
Take time and understand this. Apply it in your marketing content and see the wonders of great content marketing campaign.
12. Have A Call To Action
Generally speaking, your customers might not take decisions unless you ask them to.
That is why you have order charts in restaurants to help in decision making.
Before ending a particular content always find something valuable to give out again to encourage participation.
Some Call To Action you can implement right now are:
1. Sign up for newsletters
2. Download a free guide
3. Leave a comment or even share.
The rule of thumb is to ask for something.
13. Provide Facts and Links
News articles, research and scientific evidence not only give your content credibility and power but also captivate your readers.
Also, the more proof you have of claims in your content, the higher the chances of convincing your readers to take a specific action.
This is where targeting relevant keywords and incorporating links to credible sources come in handy as it does not only help you rank higher in Search Engines but also keep giving you a consistent flow of traffic.
14. Don't Forget Trends
To stand out, it is important to note that a good content understands trends and blends concepts to capture attention.
In the attention-seeking marketing, the primary aim is to get the largest chunk of every traffic that would benefit your business.
15. You Don't Need To Be Perfect To Begin
It is well known that human beings in the bid to seek for perfection lose the sense of the need to begin and get better along the way.
This is not really a tip but an advice.
You shouldn't wait until you're perfect before you begin. Understand the basics, make mistakes and get better.
Wrapping Up: It is important to stress that you don't work on any content if you are not mentally and physically disposed for it.
Your job is to provide good content, you should do this with passion bearing in mind the needs of your audience.
They are the ones that matter most in the process. Your job is to find out what they need and give it to them.
P.S. Love what you read? Got questions? Kindly share in the comment section.
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