Are your website’s traffic metrics plummeting? Are your blog posts getting fewer shares, likes, or responses? Do you feel like you’re churning out content for your website that is beginning to feel stale? If so, perhaps a change is in order. Maybe it’s time to add some spice and zest to the recipe.
In a digital world where content is king, few things can sink a ship faster than shoddy, unimaginative copy. And while it may be easy to identify bad content, creating compelling content that intrigues your audience is no easy feat. It takes time, dedication, and a continued pursuit of understanding your audience. Also, it helps to pique your audience’s interest by utilizing other multimedia elements to break up blocks of text. With that in mind, read on to find out some simple ways that you can make your blog content more engaging.
Ways to Make Your Content More Engaging
When it comes to producing copy, companies often make a very simple mistake: they care more about aligning content with their marketing strategy and optimizing content for SEO than they do about engaging with their audience. Fortunately, such blog blunders are easily rectified by taking the following steps towards producing great content:
Know Your Target Audience
At its essence, a blog is simply a dialogue between you and your reader. Naturally, the purpose of each blog depends on what it is you’re attempting to accomplish. It could be an opportunity to:
- Express brand identity
- Distinguish yourself from competition
- Connect with prospective customers
- Build credibility and authority within your industry
- Provide insight into the inner workings of the business or industry
Whatever your expressed purpose, it’s important that you write in such a way as to target the proper audience. You could have the most informative and exciting blog post ever created but if it fails to properly address your actual audiences’ concerns, needs, or interests, then it will go out with a fizzle. As a result, it’s critical that you understand and prioritize your audience by creating copy that caters to their desires.
Now, you may think that the only thing that matters is the beauty of your written words, the elegance of your prose, and the cleverness of your turn of phrase. While these things are important, remember that a picture is worth a thousand pretty words.
A person’s time is limited, and their attention is even shorter. If you don’t find a way to break up massive blocks of text, your reader’s eyes will quickly glaze over. An easy visual change is made by changing up sentence and paragraph structure and adding bullets. This creates flow and easy-to-spot points of interest. Another way to do this is by embedding multimedia elements, such as:
Photos – Photos make content both more visually appealing and digestible for the reader. They also serve a dual role of breaking up written content as well as complementing your message.
- Photos can also increase page performance via search rankings, leading to increased traffic.
- Alt text and image description provide a great opportunity to seamlessly incorporate target keywords to also improve SEO.
Videos – Incorporating video into your blog articles is a savvy move from both an engagement and SEO standpoint. These days, online video now makes up more than 74% of all online traffic. Further metrics demonstrate that people spend 2.6 times as much time on pages with video than on those without it. Consider adding any of the following:
- Video tutorials
- About Us videos
- Relevant YouTube videos
Infographics – Like pictures, infographics add a unique element to content that can draw attention to important aspects of a story or highlight a metric in a more stimulating way than words could ever muster. They allow you to creatively communicate information in a shorthanded and easily digestible manner. For example, check out the following articles:
Both articles embrace the use of infographics in order to disrupt text and create fun and visual content. In just a glance, without even reading the article, the reader is able to quickly scroll through and glean some key points.
Create Interactive Content
One of the single easiest ways to improve audience engagement is by turning the blog or a portion of the blog into a quiz or assessment. Such content is unique and feels far different from standard marketing. It turns your audience from passive readers into active quiz takers. That transition from passive to active is only further increased if you allow the audience to see how they compared to or faired against other readers.
Quizzes not only provide a fun interactive component to your blog, but the benefits of quizzes allow you to:
- Gather valuable information and user data on your visitors
- Obtain new emails via an opt-in, which you can use for email strategy
- Build content to utilize in a social sharing strategy
People like sharing their thoughts or opinions. By encouraging such behavior, you can interact with or reach them without your audience even considering that they’re being sold as good or service.
Write with Feelings in Mind
Humans are emotional beings. Whether we’re conscious of it or not, the vast majority of us respond to tugs of the heart far more readily than we do logical appeals. Therefore, you need to engage your audience by getting them emotionally involved.
The purpose of your blog should be to stir up emotions in your audience, so much so that they feel as if they must act upon those feelings. It’s one of the reasons why you almost always end a blog with a call-to-action. For example, if there’s a problem you’re seeking to address, you should instill fear in the beginning, then alleviate those worries by providing solutions as you go, and then finishing with the ultimate answer.
In her own blog, Patsi Krakoff writes about the importance of taking your audience down an emotional pathway. She writes, “Your content should follow a sequence, touching on the following emotions:
- Negative – a painful problem, a fear
- Positive – relief from a problem, benefits, imagine a better future
- Neutral – rational, logical, analysis of facts
- Curiosity – desire, imagination
- Objections – reasons why and why not
- Trust – social proof, statistics, case studies, personal stories
- Scarcity – urgency, fear of consequences
- Call to action – clear next steps, reassurances, guarantees, security
There are 5 simple steps that will help you write quality content that connects and engages with readers:
- What is the problem (pain, predicament)?
- Why hasn’t this problem been solved?
- What is possible?
- What is different now?
- What should you do now?
Each of these steps appeals to a different part of the brain, evoking either negative or positive feelings, or to the imagination or the rational brain centers.”
By focusing on these aspects, you can create great content that speaks powerfully to your reader.
Make it Shareable
Engagement on your site is important, but it shouldn’t ever end there. Ideally, you want to go viral, but in a good way—where your readers love what they read so much that they feel the need to share your content with others. If you accomplish this, you’ve successfully transformed a reader into a brand ambassador, which is a priceless conversion; you get a cheerleader who goes to bat on your behalf without having to pay them a dime.
Typically, dissemination is most readily accomplished via social media. Therefore, it would be wise to incorporate share buttons or easy image/text posts for users to share on their own social media feeds. This extends your reach far past what you’d be able to accomplish on your own and allows you to speak to readers that you’d never encounter naturally.
Provide Plenty of Facts and Links
Blogs provide the opportunity to flex your brainpower and showoff your knowledge on a certain subject. If done right, you’ll be considered an authority on the matter and others will keep coming back to you for your thoughts. One of the optimal ways to support your opinion and build trust with your audience is to include plenty of facts and links in order to buffer your content with credibility. This can include:
- News articles
- Relevant studies
- Scientific evidence
- Factual sources
The more proof you have to back up your claims, the more trust you will instill in your reader. On top of that, linking to other credible or highly trafficked sites improves your own SEO strategy by association.
As you set off to start creating engaging blog content, remember that the cherry on top is to write passionately. If you’re truly interested in a subject, that rubs off on your reader. They can tell whether you’re writing just to check off a task or doing so because you like the subject (better yet, if you believe in it). Passion is infectious. Write passionately, keep these tips in mind, and you’ll find that your blog content becomes more and more engaging.
Meeker, M. Kleiner Perkins. Internet Trends 2018. https://www.kleinerperkins.com/perspectives/internet-trends-report-2018/
Wistia for Marketing. Out Videos Dramatically Increased Our Visitor’s Time on Page. (2016). https://wistia.com/learn/marketing/video-time-on-page
Canna Pet. Common Behavioral Problems in Older Dogs [Infographic]. (2016). https://canna-pet.com/common-behavioral-problems-older-dogs/
Eisler, M. The Chopra Center. Infographic: 10 Ways to De-Stress Your Mind and Body. https://chopra.com/articles/infographic-10-ways-to-de-stress-your-mind-and-body
Krakoff, P. Writing on the Web. Writing Better Content: An Emotional Pathway. https://writingontheweb.com/2010/09/22/writing-better-content-use-emotions/