5 Ways to Write Engaging Content
Creating great content is the bar that we all strive for – we’d like to think that everything we put out on the web, in our printed collateral, podcasts, videos – that all gets consumed by our eagerly awaiting customers. Or potential customers. However, that’s not always how it goes. In many cases, we create content that goes unnoticed, doesn’t speak to your ideal customer, or worse, sends the wrong message to your ideal customers. That’s a problem. If you struggle with coming up with great, engaging content, you’re not alone. In fact, according to HubSpot’s State of Inbound Marketing report, only 30% of B2B marketers say that their organizations are effective at content marketing, down from 38% the previous year (Content Marketing Institute, 2015). That means that they aren’t reaching who they want to reach with the content they are publishing.
So, how do you create engaging content?
Engaging content doesn’t always mean pages and pages of text. Just as you wouldn’t rely solely on a single print campaign to reach and convert would-be customers into paying clients, you need to mix up the kinds of engaging content that you serve to them. For instance, DPi Graphics relies on our blog to reach our customers with insightful and helpful posts to assist in their marketing efforts; we use Facebook and Twitter to further spread our message, current and past projects and to engage with our followers. We offer ebooks and whitepapers on our website to show our website visitors that we are experts in what we do. Does the content we create work for us? You bet. Could it be better? Absolutely. Could we do more things to get our message out? Yep, and we are.
The point I’m trying to make here is that you should never rely on a particular form of content as your ENTIRE content marketing plan. Let me repeat that: You should never really on a particular form of content as your ENTIRE content marketing plan. If you don’t have a content marketing plan or strategy, you should come up with one. Today. As in right now.
But how you do know how to create engaging content? Here are 5 ways to get you started on creating content that engages your audience:
1. Keep it conversational
Do you like reading the dictionary? An encyclopedia (yes those still exist)? Chances are, if you don’t like reading some dry, uninteresting, long content, no one else does either. It’s important, in addition to keeping your topic interesting, to avoid sounding like a textbook spouting regurgitated facts in the same uninteresting way. Rather, make your content a conversation – how would you explain it to your spouse? A stranger? Nobody likes being talked at; everyone I know likes being talked to. Keep jargon and industry specific terms to an absolute bare minimum and make your content conversational.
2. Keep it fun, but appropriate
In addition to being conversational with your content, make your topic fun. That said, one man’s fun is another’s inappropriate shenanigans. Remember who your audience is – you don’t have to appeal to everyone, just to the person that you want as your best customer. In most of my content for DPi Graphics, I try to keep a fun, lighthearted approach to the services we provide, information about the company, the industry in general and this blog. If you stay down-to-earth and have fun with your content – and by the way, content doesn’t just mean written text – think outside the box with podcasts, videos, social media, etc. Keep it fun, but keep it appropriate. Sometimes there’s a fine line and you should know what that is before you cross it.
3. Make it about them not you
We all want to tell our potential customers how great we are, what we offer, basically everything about us but, let’s be honest, our customers don’t care about who we are or what we do. Most people are interested on what we, the folks offering the product or service, can do for them. What are the benefits of purchasing Product X or how is your service going to change their lives? By using language that focuses on them, I try to use “you” when speaking to customers and “I” when referring to my business instead of “we”, you’ll not only get their attention, but you’ll also let them know that what you’re saying is all about them, not you. The more personal you can make it, the more believable and relatable it becomes.
4. Demonstrate and show value
I can write all day about how people can benefit from the work I do – how it’ll save them time and money and that they’ll never want to go back to the way they were doing it before. But, what I really need to do to convince them to purchase or sign up is to show them – show them the value of your services whether through testimonials, success stories, things to get people’s trust like guarantees and secure payment processing. Show them why your product is better – or the best – value for their money through pictures and video. Compare pricing or features to a competitor to show where you shine and they fall short. Make it easy for your customers to see why your product or service is the best for them and make sure there’s a call-to-action near your where you’re showing them value to get their business.
5. Keep it real but make it interesting
Keep it real but interesting? Yep. Make sure that what you’re saying is factual, true stuff but make it interesting. Even if you sell solder paste, there’s a way to make it interesting, and in some cases fun. Yes, there’s actually a company that sells solder paste that keeps a blog and it’s got some great posts that use video, test and images to get their point across (Indium Corporation, www.indium.com/blog/). Make it the kind of thing YOU would want to read. Authentic enough to show that you’re an expert and that your company can be trusted but interesting enough so that it’s not like reading a dictionary. Show you have a distinct voice while communicating your message.
There are definitely more ways to make your content more engaging, but these are the top five that will get you started. Considering mixing some of these methods with podcasts, videos and online courses to help increase your reach.
It’s important to note, though, that the key to engaging content also lies in consistency – blogging on a certain day every week, releasing a podcast regularly, and posting on social media frequently all contribute to your content’s consistency. Create whatever you want, just make sure it’s consistent.
Lastly, feel free to experiment with your content, just give it enough time to determine whether it’s working or not. Change up your publishing schedule, your voice (it’s important to find an appropriate voice for your content), and your method of delivery (blog, social posts, podcasts, etc.)
What kinds of content do you use? How well does it work for you?