(Photo by Pixabay/StartupStockPhotos)
To create engaging content means entertaining or helping your reader so well that they feel compelled to share your content with their network. Although it sounds simple enough, many content creators find that the content that they have created is not engaging enough.
The reason for this, more often than not, is not that the created content is necessarily bad. It is because the content has not moved the reader.
The creator of content has to keep good SEO practices such as using the ‘Rule of Three’ in mind. However, the content also has to be written for a real person to consume, not just for an algorithm.
The content has to provide value to the readers. It has to address their pain points and provide them with solutions. So how do content creators gauge the engagement of their content?
To measure the engagement of their content, the content creators have to define the engagement they are looking for before they create their content. Once the metric is defined, the engagement of the content can be measured.
Key performance indicators (KPIs)
Key performance indicators are parameters or metrics that are used to measure the success of a marketing campaign.
These parameters can also be, and should be used by content creators to measure the performance of their content. KPIs are measurable and will allow creators to accurately gauge the engagement of their content.
KPIs give you a chance to improve or change your content if your engagement leads your audience to take an action different from what you had targeted.
Define what kind of engagement you are looking for from your audience. Would you like social media likes, shares, comments, clicks, fill forms, subscriptions or a buy action?
Once you have defined your goal you can engage your audience and lead them towards achieving your target.
There are different KPIs that content creators can use to measure and analyse the engagement of their campaign. Let us take a look at some of them.
- Social media likes/shares
Most content creators, even informational bloggers, would like a high count of social media likes and shares. After all, who doesn’t want a larger audience and following?
- Social media comments
Whether the comments are good, neutral or bad, they indicate a sense of engagement. It means that readers are showing their interest in your content.
It is now up to you to reply to their comments and make sure that they visit your content again.
The above two KPIs are a good measure for a pre-launch marketing campaign and help marketers gauge the engagement of their campaign and the interest shown.
Along with sessions and users, pageviews are the best indicators of the engagement of a site. This metric lets you know how many visitors you have had on your content.
- Unique visitors
The unique visitors KPI give you an idea of the reach of your website and content. It gives you the number of people that visited your content/website during the monitoring period.
- Time on Page
This metric is used to gauge the time that visitors spend on the page. The more time a visitor spends on the content page, it is assumed, the more engagement there is.
- Pages per session
This gives you an idea of how many visitors have visited other than the page they had intended to when they visited the site in that session. The more number of pages that visitors visit indicate that they like the contents on the website.
- Bounce Rate
Bounce rate is a measure of how many visitors exited your website after reading just one page versus how many visitors ventured to other pages on the site. A low bounce rate suggests that visitors are also interested in the other pages on your website and is good news.
- Page scroll depth
You would like to know how far a reader has been through your content. That would give you a fair idea of the engagement your content has had with the visitor. Page Scroll depth metric gives you that measurement.
- Conversion rate
Conversion is the ultimate aim of the content creator. It is the ratio of visitors to your page and the number of them that have taken the action you intended them to take.
You can pat yourself on the back if you have a high conversion rate as it means that your content is very engaging.
- Cart abandonment rate
This tells you how many people have abandoned the deal just before confirming their purchase. You should aim for a very low car abandonment rate. This would suggest that your content is very engaging.
There are many more KPIs that you can measure to gauge whether your content is engaging. You should analyse the KPI that you had targeted to gauge the engagement of your content.
How to create engaging content
Having selected the type of action that you want your audience to take, it is time to create the content. Every content creator’s aim is to create engaging content every time.
The response to the content will vary widely depending on the type of action you intend to lead your readers to take. If your content is truly engaging and enticing you will get likes, shares, comments, opt-ins and purchases.
Research the product/service
Research the product or service that you are trying to sell to your audience. Once you have decided to sell the product/service, study its pros and cons and everything there is to know about it.
To sell the product/service to your audience, you have to know it inside out. That will help you reply to even snide comments from the readers, further increasing your engagements. It will also help you write engaging content and present it to the readers in a convincing way.
Research the keywords and outline your SEO strategy
Though this goes without saying, it is an important action to take. The efforts and time that you spend on these two aspects will determine how many times your content is selected by search engines and how many visitors you will get to your content.
Write down several headlines. It doesn’t matter if some of them don’t make sense now. You will get several more ideas for headlines when writing the content. Not them down and keep them aside.
Outline how you are going to create the content
Write down the subheadings and whatever sub-sub headings you can think of. Only remember that the content in each heading should lead the readers to the next subheading in a natural flow.
You can add subheadings, split them and delete some of them as you write and then revise the content. This exercise will enable you to lead the readers through your content and to the desired goal.
Remember that you are telling the reader an interesting story about the product/service. If it is an existing product/service that your audience is familiar with, you are going to convince them to look at the product/service with new eyes.
There is competition for every product/service in the market and all of them are offering value for their products/services. You will have to offer more than just value.
You will have to offer your audience a new perspective to your product service. Throwing in a few freebies like upgrades always help.
Start with the readers’ pain points. Point out what problem they are having with the current product/service they are using and empathise with them.
Later you are going to offer them your product/service and point out how it can solve the problems plaguing them.
Write a good Meta Description
A meta description is a content that is immediately below the heading of the content that a search engine displays in a search. Search engines usually display below 180 characters of meta content.
There has to be one sentence in your introduction that broadly outlines your content. Try and keep it to less than 20 words.
In your introduction ask some awkward questions. Remember that you need to have answers or remedies ready for them later on in your content.
Address the reader as the second person
Always address the reader as ‘you’ or ‘your’. The reader should feel that you are his best friend trying to help him make an informed decision.
Instead of using ‘I’ try and use ‘us’. In doing so you are making the reader your companion going through the content. Like in:
“Let us see how we should address the reader when writing engaging content.”
When you want to write ‘we’, imply that the reader is a part of that ‘we’ rather than your colleagues like in:
“We will now address the essentials of writing engaging content.”
Write your content in a simple language
Readers don’t want to strain their brains going through corporate or technical language. Remember that they are reading your content because they want the product/service explained in a simple language.
Writing in simple language gives the content creator an advantage too. Instead of dwelling on the technical specifications, you can teach the readers how the product/service is going to solve their nightmares.
Lead the reader into the next section of your content
Use ‘bucket brigades’ to lead the reader. Bucket brigades are intermediate words or phrases that convince the readers that they have to read further into your content.
They help you guide the reader to the next section of your content. This will help to keep the reader on the page and ultimately to positive action.
Short phrases like those below are often used to encourage the reader to read on.
“This case study will help us gain more clarity: “
“This should interest you:”
“You may find this interesting…’
“You won’t believe this…”
These bucket brigade phrases will help keep the reader on your page for much longer instead of them just abandoning your website.
Find shareable quotes related to the topic
Insightful or funny quotes by industry leaders or famous personalities are a great way to increase the engagement of your content. They are a favourite of Twitter users.
They are also a good bait to get readers to share your posts. In doing so, you not only increase your readership you will also increase your followers on social media.
Insert block quotes so that when readers share the quote they will direct others to your page and website.
Add social share buttons
In order to enable readers to share your content on social media include social share buttons on the webpage. That makes it easier for readers to share your posts rather than having to copy your URL and sharing it.
When a social media user receiving the share clicks on the quote he will be able to read your metadata which might entice him to read your page. And voila, you have another follower.
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, with their millions of users, are mega drivers of social media traffic. You will get more followers through social media than you will get through people searching the web with the keywords.
Add a content upgrade
Offer an irresistible content upgrade that addresses the readers’ pain points. If, for example, you get a comment on your content, offer the reader an alternate product or service in an upgrade.
The reader will be compelled to give you his email address in order to receive the upgrade. You will get a chance to add another follower to your already bulging list.
Assuring readers of an upgrade will also mean that many readers will fill out the contact form and you will soon be adding addresses to your email list.
Add internal links to your website
This is a nice way to increase the time a reader spends on your website. You can improve on two important KPI’s by including internal links in your content.
You can reduce your bounce rate and increase the number of pages per session while also increasing time on the website.
Internal links also serve to keep the visitors on your website till they make a purchase or contact you about your product/service.
A tool such as Link Whisper is brilliant for finding places in your content where you can add an internal link to an existing piece of content without having to find it on your blog – I wrote an extensive article about Link Whisper that will be sure to help you.
Such links also serve to increase traffic to the ‘orphan pages’ on your website. Orphan pages are pages that have no external links and therefore see very little traffic. It also enables the reader to know more about what you are offering.
Write the title of the content
Once you have finished writing your content, you will be in a better position to finalise the title of the content. Your title has to be impressive, contain a keyword as well as convey to the reader what he is likely to find in the content.
In other words, the title has to be concise, form the SEO point of view, and at the same time entice the reader to proceed to your content. Check your meta content.
What Does Create Engaging Content Mean? – The Conclusion
Creating engaging content takes a bit of planning and patience. You have to determine the metrics of engagement and create content to entice the reader toward your target.
Monitor your performance regularly and update your content as required. If you’re not achieving the results you want, it’s time to change your approach!
This can be the hardest part when it comes to creating engaging content, as often our ego gets in the way. However, this is the most important step.
Those who can honestly assess themselves and pivot when required are the ones who will reap the greatest rewards for their content efforts.