Let’s do a short experiment.
We’ll present you with two distinct article introductions. Your job is to rate which you find more engaging. Here’s the first.
“In today’s media-rich environment, creating engaging content is critical. A recent study found that 65% of Millenials will ignore content they don’t connect with. Another study found that one in three companies never get the engagement they’re looking for. There are several strategies you can employ to build content that engages your audience.”
And now, the second.
“People want to hear from you. They’re looking for the information you have to share. They may not realize it yet, but you have the answers they’ve been searching for. But here’s the rub. You’re one of many vying to supply those answers, and unless your content is more engaging than your competition, your future customers will end up in the pocket of someone else.”
So, which draws you in? Which gets you interested in reading the rest of the article? Which promises to be a more exciting, interesting experience?
If you said, “number one,” you’re likely an accountant, an actuary, or an android.
Number two is more engaging because it tells a story. It’s not just a bunch of statistics. It humanizes what could be a dry topic and creates a desperate situation in the mind of your readers. By the end of the paragraph, people are primed to find out how they can avoid losing customers.
Engagement IS critical. That’s certain. And there ARE many strategies you can employ to build engaging content that pulls eyeballs and converts prospects. The first introduction isn’t wrong. It’s just BORING! Here we present some of those strategies in a much more engaging format.
Have Something Original to Say
Take any given topic and run a Google search. You’ll find dozens, if not hundreds of articles covering a wide range of perspectives. So why should someone read your content?
If you spout a bunch of statistics, likely the same statistics that every other article quotes, your content will melt into the background. Instead, find something original to say. Or say the same things in a novel way.
The easiest way to do this is to find your voice. You may be circling a well-traveled topic, but no one else that’s written on it is you. And they don’t represent your company. You have unique experiences and a perspective that’s uniquely yours.
So leverage that. Inject your personality into what you’re writing. Be personable and speak with confidence. If you write persuasively, people will naturally engage with you, even if they don’t agree with what you’re saying.
Spend Time on Your Headline
You can’t possibly engage with someone if they never click through to your content. Clickbait headlines work because they tug at deeply-rooted human motivations. Their authors understand human psychology, and they use that knowledge against their fellow citizens.
We’re not saying you need to write clickbait. But there’s a lesson there. A compelling headline, one that begs a basic human motivation, will help drive traffic to your content.
Instead of “Five Ways to Improve Your Resume,” you might write, “These Five Resume Tricks Will Help You Land Your Dream Job.” The first is…a headline. A dry statement about the purpose of the article: the second makes a promise, one that is very motivating for people out of work or unhappy at their current jobs. To badly quote the ghosts whispering in Costner’s ear, when it comes to strong headlines, “If you write it, they will come.”
Tell Your Readers a Story
Humans are built for narrative. We define our existence based on stories. The stories we tell ourselves about other people and the stories we narrate to ourselves about ourselves. Storytelling is, in many ways, one of the foundations of human culture.
So if you want to create engaging content, it needs to tell a story. It needs to take readers/viewers on a journey. Just like a novel or a short story, you want to build dramatic tension. You want your readers to sense that there are stakes and that they’ll be better off for having engaged with you.
And this doesn’t just apply to written content. It applies equally to memes, infographics, reviews, videos, and every other type of content possible.
Paint a picture in your reader’s mind that brings your topic to life. Placing your content in a context that’s immediately appealing to your target audience will give them something to connect with emotionally. The narrative is a hook, and the right hook will catch plenty of fish.
Be Passionate About Your Subject Matter
If you don’t care about the content you’re creating, why will your readers? Passion is contagious. If your content drips with excitement, your readers will be hard-pressed not to get excited, too.
This doesn’t mean you should end every sentence with an exclamation mark. And it certainly doesn’t mean you can’t be professional in your composition. But you want to try and convey why people should get jazzed about your topic.
Think back to your favorite teacher in school. You likely appreciated them because they made the subject matter come alive. They were enthusiastic in their teaching, and that enthusiasm was infectious. Because they found the subject interesting, they were able to craft lessons that made it interesting for their students as well.
The most engaging content is created the same way. Before you begin building your own, try and remember what it is that makes you love your subject. If you don’t love it, do whatever you need to do to fall in love with it. If you can, your passion will flow naturally out of the content.
Find a Partner That Creates Engaging Content
Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. Some people are naturally-inclined toward creating engaging content, and some people can’t, no matter how many practical yet profoundly-entertaining articles they read on the subject.
And there are plenty of people that don’t have the time to create the content they know they need to. There’s no shame in admitting that you need help. We’re here for you. We can create engaging content that will drive customers into your arms. Sometimes the best way to get something done is to have someone else do it.
Give us a call, particularly if you’re reading this last sentence. It means we kept you engaged for over a thousand words, straight through to the exciting climax. Which is now.
Jazz hands! Drop the mic. Costello out.