5 ways to make your content more engaging

Engaging content should always serve to teach, entertain and inspire. Craft content marketing gold with these five tips.

Listen in on your audience’s conversations
That’s right, you have permission to eavesdrop. Be it the call centre, social media groups or community pages (yours or others in which your audience hangs out) where they chat and share, this is where you will hear honest accounts of their experiences. You can then use these to create the content that will help them solve their problems or make life easier. Think about ‘life hacks’, for example. If those tips and tricks make our lives easier, then we want others to benefit too, especially if they save time and money. Anything that entertains or amuses us and makes us feel good is equally shareworthy, as are topics that pique our curiosity or encourage us to think creatively. There is a natural tendency to pass on the good stuff, which is great for increasing traffic to your site. We all know how frustrating it can be when we’re not heard, or given a chance to state our case. Be the business that listens to what your customers are saying and asking. And then take the time to craft content that addresses those needs. This way you are meeting your customers where they are, which shows your commitment. Here quality, rather than quantity, is key.

Share your unique take on a current trend
Commenting on trends or recent newsworthy events is a great way to join the conversation and be a part of what’s topical. Rather than simply rehashing what is already public knowledge, find a way to draw attention to a perspective that your audience may not have considered, or create a roundup of a few events that have occured in the past few months that could signal the start of a new trend. Be aware of ethical boundaries and take care not to cross them. Promoting a child safety product by exploiting the death of a young child that made headlines is a crass and tone deaf manner to go about this, for example.

Really get to know the people you are trying to connect with
Do you really know them or do you think you do? Often there is a disconnect between who a business thinks they’re talking to (which is based on who they want to be talking to) versus who they are really talking to. Make sure you take every opportunity to interact with your audience – and keep in mind that your online audience may be different to your real life customer. Online, you have an audience that’s at different stages of your sales funnel – some have just been introduced to your brand, some want to know more and some want to make a purchase or have already purchased and are converted, repeat customers. Get to know your target demographic’s ‘likes, dislikes and pain points to develop content that entertains, inspires and solves pertinent problems for them’, says Denis Pinsky, Director of Digital Marketing and Analytics at Forbes.com. In addition you also need to know how they are most likely to search, i.e. what keywords they use, and when they are most likely to be online so you can time when your posts go live.

Show your human side
‘Brand’ has come to mean so much more than a logo, a mission statement or a vision; it is the personality of your business. It’s all the characteristics that combine to make your company unique. It’s about developing a human-human relationship out of the company-customer dynamic, and one of the best ways to do this is through telling stories about the way your company goes about doing things. Rather than listing awards or using superfluous words that aren’t tangible to promote your business (anything from ‘exclusive’ and ‘trustworthy’ to ‘thought leaders’ or ‘award winners’), it’s way more effective to tell true stories that allow customers to deduce these attributes for themselves. It’s well known that big global enterprises like the Virgin Group, Tesla and Microsoft have vested interests beyond their actual – and hugely successful – businesses. Philanthropy might seem to go hand-in-hand with such large corporations, but the bottom line is that we connect with initiatives that explore sustainable energy, develop education outreach programmes, and fund disease prevention, to name a few. It endears them to us, makes them likeable, transparent and trustworthy.  It’s important for customers to see that there are real people behind your company, so share behind-the- scenes events with them, like what your company got up to on Mandela Day, or some special feat one of your staff pulled off. You can also encourage your staff to engage with the business online, at the very least this will demonstrate that your company is a great place to work.

Make the words work hard for themselves
Cut cliches, formulaic introductions and stuffy language . “Many people think “higher” reading level means the copy is better. Not true. It just means it’s harder to read. And the harder it is to read, the less likely people are to read it,” according to Forbes.com contributor Brian Sutter. Clean up your style, cut uneccesary words or phrases and consider every line – if it adds nothing, is verbose or repetitive, cut it out. ‘How to’, ‘why’ and listicle (numbered) formats are a great way to present potentially complicated topics in an easy-to-understand, digestible way. Breaking up subheadings further using bullet points, graphs, images or infographics, and using odd numbers and power words that inspire emotion in headlines are other ways to attract attention. These formats lend themselves to winning over customers who may be only a few steps away from purchasing your product or service.

Should you need further advice on crafting well-written content that is engaging, we have a team of content marketing experts ready to assist you.

 

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