Content marketing is about creating engaging and valuable content for readers. It is often the foundation for an effective digital marketing campaign. Content has started to become increasingly important in the recent years, as search engines start to place more focus and emphasis on value-adding their users.
We have talked about how having a good Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) can help you in your digital marketing campaigns, as well as go through the brand-building intent of SEO, and also touched on SERP and the factors affecting it.
However, none of these matter without content as its backbone.
This incentivises search engines to push websites which has content that answers the web users enquires to the top. After all, search engine hopes to provide the most relevant result and best solution to users to provide a pleasant on-site user experience.
With so much information on various website and sources, readers want to feel connected to blog articles and the brand behind it. A successful content marketing is one that lowers the reader’s defensive walls and engages the readers on a one-to-one basis.
Engaging content should be able to trigger a response in your readers, to attract them to your brand. Engagement with your audience can pay off lucratively, especially when they feel connected to your brand.
One way is to write in a conversational form as readers prefer to read an article that addresses directly to them. Your content needs to reach an audience, and for that to happen, it cannot feel like they are reading a wall of chunky text that is meant for algorithms to catch and process.
How to Write Engaging Content?
There are many other ways to keep and make your content engaging.
Speak a Thousand Word with Pictures
Videos, charts, graphs and pictures all speak a thousand words. Get your readers hooked by employing the use of powerful graphics to capture their attention. Invest time and effort into creating comics and animation if your resources allow for it. Have fictional mascots or stories that readers can relate to. This will leave a deeper impression upon your readers.
Buttons, headers and pictures would help make the article feel less like a textbook, but more like an interesting blog article. Headings and subheadings grab your user’s attention and acts as a focal point of your content, as you transit from arguments to arguments.
Videos could provide you with a new dynamic to your articles, especially if it is lengthy. Having your audience view something that is audible and animated keeps their attention span on your website. It also provides you with another campaign resource to potentially expand to and upon, to be eventually used hand-in-hand with your written content.
Be Enigmatic and Energetic
There is a certain allure attached to the blog writers. You know nothing about them, for you have never met them. Yet you know something about them, based on the way they compose the article and describe the content’s argument to you.
Having a healthy dynamic with you readers provides energy to the reader and makes your writing job more interested as well. Be (politely) sarcastic, be playful, be humorous.
Write with Intent
Create something enjoyable to talk about and read about. Make refreshing references on your content. Write confidently, but not too formally.
First Impression Counts
Lure your audience members into committing to reading the entire article with a strong introduction. Bring the compelling piece of information early in your article. Helpful wordings and signposting matter a lot in the article. It helps your readers organise their thoughts better.
There are many ways to achieve this:
- Starting with a thought-provoking question is an age-old method of triggering your audience’s curiosity.
- Opening with a quote sets the tone of the article and lets your audience wonder about your article’s arguments.
- Telling a personal story, or a fictional relevant story, is an interesting change of tone that serves to unburden your reader’s brain from information overload.
Actionable Advice and Goals
Create compelling headlines with actionable goals and clear benefits. It is important for your content to provide value and having headers that can grab your readers attention and guide them along.
Help your readers understand the flow of the content. Which topics will you be talking about next? Are you talking about the other side of the argument or diving deeper into the first aspect of your argument? What awaits them at the end of your article? How will their mindset or knowledge of the matter be different?
Create lists and pointers. “Top Five Ways”, “Three Best Ways”, “Ten Different Methods”. Headers and titles like these provide an easy entry-point for readers to start reading and understanding your content. They know what they will be reading. While this is a different direction from the mysterious enigmatic vibe of other titles such as “What you should know….” or “Here is something everyone should find out now about …”, lists are easy to understand and digest.
This may be more attractive to most casual readers. Lists resemble bite-sized information that readers can pick up and glance, to be informed of the topic or subject, or to be saved on their phones for use on a later date. Articles like these can come in many forms, either as a checklist, or a step-by-step guide.
Make your information easy to digest. Convey your message in simple words that helps your reader understand you better.
Large readable fonts and short paragraphs. No one likes to squint when reading. It is unpleasant for the eyes and creates a bad impression of your content and brand. Short paragraphs are easy to read and refer to on a later date. In the digital age of smartphones, they are also easier to screenshot and stored in your phone. This encourages your readers to share useful information through screenshots, they may appreciate when reading your article.
Avoid using colours that are too glaring to the eyes, in the formatting of fonts and buttons. Site design is another key factor in this aspect, but generally, do not try to complicate matters by adding different coloured fonts to your article. Content is the real weapon in articles. Anything eye-catching to capture attention is merely a bonus.
Incorporate Internal Linking
Keep your users on your website and continually circulate traffic around your web page. When placed appropriately, internal links encourage your readers to go down a rabbit hole of content consumption, as they get more and more interested.
Less is More
Focus on only one idea. Do not deviate away too much from your main topic. While it is good to have subtopics and dive deeper into the subject, it is also valuable to have multiple pieces of content harbouring around a single topic.
For topics that require a more detailed explanation, consider splitting it into different articles. Add stories and examples to your arguments as a supporting statement. Not only does this add relevance to your argument, it also makes it more interested to read.
Content Formats That Can Be Used to Boost Audience Viewership
- Blog Articles. Blogs are the first example people think of when it comes to content marketing. After all, blogs post are easy to produce and commonly used. Content can be used to improve your search ranking, and viral content are easy trend to hope upon.
Ultimate Guides and How-To articles are longer versions of typical blog posts, but can help garner traffic for your website effectively. However, the longer the content format is, the more research and time is needed to compose the content. Long-form content results in 56% more social shares, allowing you the reap potential social signals.
- Case Studies and Examples give you the ability to convince your customers, with evidence. Niche-specific content would greatly appreciate case studies as it highlights the comparative advantage that the website has. Coupled with more unique and original content, brands can climb up the community level and establish themselves as the leading authoritative website.
- E-books are another way to repurpose content quickly. It is commonly used as a lead magnet. E-books resembles blog articles. A good place to start would be to expand upon the topic of the blog articles themselves.
Webinars resemble e-books in a sense, being a compilation of bite-sized information that can be repackaged and reused.
- Email Newsletters remains as the polite way to reach to an audience without overstepping your boundaries.
- Research. Original research is also a great way to attract backlinks. This is what happens when your work is credible enough to earn a citation. While it can be time-consuming and costly, the momentum you gain from generating your own research results and publishing your findings could gain you sufficient organic traffic to compensate for your time and effort.
Backlinko’s Brain Dean is one of such examples.
- Videos. Videos get a very high click through rate due to its medium. It’s an easy method of content consumption, making it the ideal platform for companies to showcase their products/services. Video are also an easy area for tutorials to be provided by the company, effectively bridging any form of information mismatch between users and the company.
Content Marketing at its core is using content to attract and retain a group of niche audience, that is already interested. Write to add value to your readers, and not to appease the web crawlers or algorithms. By providing value and gaining trust, you prove your worth to customers that you are a brand or product worthy of their purchase.
Resources for Creating Engaging Content
One of the ways is Google trends, which we can start as a research tool. You can find out what keywords are in your niche right now and what keywords are on the rise.
Engage your audience by referencing to recent trends and popular news articles. Keep your jokes and references updated. This reminds your audience that there is a human behind the brand and blog article itself.
Your competitors and leaders of your industry are areas which are worthy of your time to have a look and check out. Take note of the content that has found the most success in key metrics, such as views, comments, and shares. This will give you an insight as to what type of content attracts the interaction of customers.
Learning from your competitor’s mistake could also save your time and resources (and maybe save you the trouble of facing the problems of a bad strategy). Knowing what works and what does not, without the need to trial-and-error, is a valuable resource of its own.
Niche forums exists to bring like-minded individuals together. For companies in the world today, it is an on-the-ground level research that can allow you to find out what are the most popular topics within your niche. Question and answer sites, such as Reddit and Quora are a good start, but generally, you want to target forums where your potential clients are using. Create content based on these topics and share them on forums, make them as valuable and informational as possible so it can benefit readers the most.
Forums also allow for replies and comments, providing you with a perspective of your readers.
- Was your content too brief?
- Were there any mistakes in your grammar, formatting, or vocabulary?
- Is the terminology and slang you used too local, and people outside of your local community and country may not be able to understand its context?
- What works right with your readers?
- Have you developed a writing style that showcases your personality (or a personality) behind those articles and headers?
- Is there a certain type of writing style or article style that forum members particularly enjoy?
- Would your website benefit from having another writer, which provides a different type of tone and style to your articles?
How Do You Write Engaging Content for Social Media?
The focus on content on social media is slightly different. A wall of text would turn heads away from the screens when it is on social media, since it is not the medium which social media is known for and commonly used for.
On social media, videos and pictures work the best. Infographics can be easily shared across communities, eliciting interest from online social circles. To take advantage of social media, leverage every piece of underutilised content and transform them into infographics, charts, graphs or images.
Social media has the ability to perform engaging storytelling. Instagram grasps this concept very significantly with its introduction of Instagram Stories. The same for Facebook and its story functions. Apparently, this social media app function has 500 million organic traffic scouring through it every day. That is a lot of organic traffic for players
Social media is also effective for sharing testimonials and reviews in an organic way. Fan submissions can be reposted for content. The average buyer reads seven reviews before making a purchase from a new brand. Having an arsenal of impressive reviews that you have earned would be helpful in your future marketing strategies.
The digital age we live in today creates a new landscape for human talent, digital skills, and fresh strategies to be rewarded. With information so easily accessible, the digital landscape is a land of opportunities. Over 2020, Google search traffic went from 3.6 billion searches/day to 6 billion searches/day.
Knowing how to use your content to the best of its potential and capabilities positions yourself and your company in the best spot to await leads and attract customers. However, content marketing is no easy feat and requires commitment to the team or person leading the campaign. Building a customer base takes time and building one that is willing to trust and keeping their trust takes even longr.