No doubt, content is the hub of content marketing.
Remove it, and the wheels come to a screeching halt.
According to Marketing Profs over 2 million blog posts are published daily. That’s over 83k posts an hour. Good luck standing out in this deluge of information. Sadly, not all these posts result in a positive ROI.
Simply because not all content is created equal.
The harsh reality is that the majority of the posts don’t impact readers nor move business goals forward.
They lack engagement.
The Top Content Challenge Faced By Companies Today
There are myriad challenges content marketing driven businesses face like budget constraints, measuring content effectiveness, finding quality writers and content writing companies, and more.
According to a Content Marketing Institute report, the number one challenge B2C brands have is creating engaging content.
As you can see from the graphic 56% B2C companies find it tough to create engaging content. But what is engagement in the first place?
To engage means to:
- Carry out or participate in an activity.
- Be involved in an activity.
- Consume all of one’s attention or time.
Here are three simple metrics to help you gauge the engagement level of your content fast. Engaging content gets:
- Clicks– engaging content gets clicked, opened, and read.
- Shares– people spread magnetic content to their friends.
- Comments– engaging content generates discussion.
If your content scores are low on each front, you have a problem. It’s time to do a content audit and fix your content.
Now that we understand the meaning of engagement, let’s move on and discuss 5 tried and tested techniques of writing engaging content that fascinates your audience.
Let’s dive in.
#1. Write like a human to humans
Sounds obvious, right?
Most business blogs sound anything but human. Their tone is dry, forced, and artificial. The reason? Writing for search engines. When you write for search engines, you lose people’s attention.
To grab people’s attention, write conversationally.
Write as if you’re speaking to a friend over a cup of coffee.
Sam Ovens, who teaches regular folks how to make money by starting and scaling a consulting business nailed the conversational style on his about page.
His casual laid back style makes it easy for his readers to relate to him. He comes across as a regular guy you’d enjoy hanging out with. Note how he uses the pronoun ‘I’ many times to make the copy personal and intimate.
#2. Focus on the reader not your company
Most company blogs are company-centric not reader-centric.
They go on and on about how great they are. This is a big mistake. When people come across your content, here’s the burning question they have:
What’s in it for me?
To connect with readers talk about what interests them. Make it about them and they’ll listen to you all day. Make it about you and they’ll ignore you.
Sue Ann Bubacz of Write Mix For Business is a good example of how to write reader-focused content. Here’s her opening to a piece about visual design.
Clearly, this post is all about her readers not her. She uses the personal pronoun “you” and “your” a whooping 7x in the opening five lines. Because Sue focuses on her readers, they’re likely to stay on and gobble up her content.
#3. Ask poignant questions
Good questions force people to pause, reflect, and respond.
When you ask a question your audience becomes involved. They are no longer passive bystanders but active participants. Social Media Examiner so believe in the questioning technique that they open every blog post with a question.
The questions grab attention and pull readers in from the very beginning. Of course, you can use them throughout your blog post as well.
#4. Go naked once in a while
Not literally, that’d get you into serious trouble ha-ha.
I mean emotionally. Reveal your failures and struggles.
Whenever you share personal stuff and become vulnerable you become attractive to people. Often what you’re going through is similar to what your audience is facing. Because of that your readers get hooked to your content. They see themselves in your account.
Aaron Orendorff of Iconicontent knows a thing or two about being vulnerable. In a piece about landing page optimization he shares a story about a dud landing page he created.
By sharing his embarrassing flop, he gained credibility with his audience. Because we’ve all had own fair share of humiliating moments, his audience identifies with him.
It’s easy as pie to bond with people who open up.
#5. Tickle your audience
Humor is a powerful communication tool.
In this lecture, Piotr Pluta, an organizational psychologist who runs Psychology Of Humor, a blog about the science of laughter, shared the benefits of humor in communication.
He says humor:
- Boosts perceived similarity
- Increases liking
- Grows feeling of closeness
- Puts people at ease
- Sparks enthusiasm
Geez. So many gains of laughter?!
Here are three simple ways to incorporate humor in your copy even if you don’t think you are funny:
- Blatant Exaggeration: By stretching the facts in a ridiculous way, you can come off as being funny.
- Use anecdotes: Rope in true funny incidents that happen around you into your copy.
- Tell the cliché joke: Take a common cliché or statement, and then end it in a surprising way.
Instead of producing drab content, try a little funny. Your audience will adore you for it and fully focus on your message. Be careful though. Do only the kind of humor that sits well with your audience.
The Money’s Not On The List
It’s been said the money’s on the list.
Not just any list.
But an engaged list of people who are captivated by your content and — more importantly, respond to your offers. Writing engaging content is not a do once set-and-forget kind of thing.
You have to do it again and again to keep your audience glued to your brand. If you slacken, you’ll lose the crucial bond and the dollars that come with it. Keep it up and you’ll not only delight your audience but keep the cash register ringing as well.
That’s a sumptuous win-win scenario for both parties.
Qhubekani Nyathi aka The Click Guy is an irresistibly handsome (wife’s baseless claims!) website copywriter and long-form content strategist. He helps SMBs rapidly grow their income and impact through actionable long-form content that ranks high, builds authority, generates tons of leads, and drives sales. He is a contributor to top blogs like Crazy Egg, Mirasee, SEOChat and Conversion Sciences.