4 Little Secrets for Creating Engaging Content Every Time
In a digital world full of content of all different shapes and sizes, how do you make sure yours stands out from the rest? The answer: make sure it’s engaging. As Google’s algorithm continues to evolve to better serve the needs of the user above all else - encapsulated by the EAT algorithm update implemented in August 2018 - providing genuine value to the reader through high-quality content has never been more important in driving competitive organic search performance and, as a result, high levels of engagement.
But how do you achieve this? Though there’s no set definition for what engaging content actually is, it’s best understood as content that has an impact on its audience, driving genuine forms of interaction.
Whether that’s lengthy session times that prove the reader has delved deep into your post or social shares that reinforce your audience’s desire for both themselves and others to engage with your piece, audiences will interact in different ways. With engagement metrics having an impact on your overall search performance, though, positive engagement data is a coveted prize for any content marketer.
So, with that in mind, let’s look closer at the ways you can create engaging content that appeals to both humans and search engines alike, ensuring you’re posting valuable and strategic digital content that continues to drive relevant organic traffic to your site.
With over 4 million blog posts published every single day, it’s fair to say that the internet is saturated with content. As such, releasing your creative flair and focusing on originality is an effective technique in separating yourself from the rest and giving your content a competitive advantage.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of a repetitive content plan, particularly if you’re posting regularly. Whether it's a tried and tested template for your blog post layout or a favourite topic you just don’t want to stray from, repetitive content is a sure-fire way to lose the interest of your readership - after all, your audience is likely to be able to spot generic fluff from a mile away.
Therefore, look to focus on varied content to achieve originality, mixing your topics and content style to remain fresh and innovative. For example, mix general advice posts with personal narratives to engage your audience in different ways - in this instance, providing actionable information and evoking emotional responses respectively.
After all, this ability to consistently create diverse yet relevant content is an effective way of displaying your brand’s expertise and establishing yourself as an authoritative voice within your sector - two key contributing factors in Google’s almighty algorithm.
Elsewhere, look to hone your originality by establishing a distinctive brand voice that fuses character and personality with your brand’s image. To do this successfully, it’s vital that you fully comprehend both your audience and your industry, adopting a suitable tone to create a natural relationship between the author and reader. It’s important that this remains consistent across all content formats to ensure this voice becomes closely associated with your brand.
Understand user intent
The ability to tailor a voice to its audience first requires a thorough understanding of intent. This is because, ultimately, creating content that engages the reader first requires you to understand what the reader wants to get from the piece. As a result, step back and consider what the aim of your content is before writing - do you want to inform, entertain or promote, for example?
Asking yourself these questions throughout the writing process will see you creating content that is specifically tailored for your readers’ desires. Naturally, this should have a direct influence on your writing style and tonality - whether it’s a formal, data-backed piece when writing informational content or simple, actionable tips for an advice post.
The fundamental focus of engaging content is value, so considering how your content adds value to the reader in relation to their desired intent is a good means of distinguishing the quality of your content. In an informational piece, for example, all statistics should be up-to-date to add genuine value to the information you’re providing.
Additionally, ensure the content stays relevant to the core topic and search query, focusing on quality over quantity in line with what the reader actually wants to discover. A good means of measuring this is through observing bounce rates in Google Analytics. If the bounce rate for a particular page is high, this means the user is quickly clicking off your page and, as such, your content is not aligning with the intent of said user.
Focus on visuals
With 32% of marketers saying images are the most important form of content for their business, it’s little surprise that visual content marketing is rapidly on the rise. Of course, engaging content should always be created in line with the latest trends (after all, they’re only trends because they yield results), so ensure you don’t overlook the importance of aesthetic value in your content strategy.
To add the most value and subsequently drive the most engagement, focus on media that serves a purpose within itself. While stock images are great for improving the visual quality of a page or blog post, more informative media such as infographics and videos will go further in improving engagement with a post. Of course, relevancy and user intent is, once again, key - so ensure your written content matches your media content, either by offering further insight, interpretation or commentary on the data presented.
That’s not to say there isn’t value in considering the aesthetics of a piece of content, though. On the contrary, this can play a significant role in the readability of a post, affecting valuable engagement metrics like bounce rates and session times as a result. With this in mind, be sure to write in short, digestible paragraphs - after all, there’s nothing more off-putting than a large block of text.
Elsewhere, no content marketer should underestimate the power of an eye-catching heading. Ultimately, this is what drives the initial engagement, so look to strategically optimise this for users and search engines through some strategic keyword optimisation and creative wording. Be sure not to stray into the realms of clickbait, though, as misleading the user is guaranteed to have a negative impact on engagement.
Keep it relevant
As we’ve already touched on, relevance is a fundamental factor in the creation of engaging content. As such, ensure this remains at the forefront of your considerations in relation to your target audience.
To do this accurately, first obtain a thorough comprehension of your audience. Google Analytics enables you to break down traffic by specific demographics including gender, age and location to name just a few, so do your research in order to gain a better understanding of who your content is being read by and what you can do to more accurately tailor it to them.
A useful practice to assist with this is to create audience personas: fictional customers who possess the prominent characters of your target audience. By tailoring your content in topic, voice and style to these audience personas, you should, in theory, be more accurately customising your content to your target audience and creating more authentic, engaging content as a result.
Creating engaging content is a vital part of any modern marketing strategy. To judge whether your content is currently up to scratch, focus on a range of engagement metrics such as social shares, click-through rates, bounce rates and session times, as these are the best indications of how exactly your audience is interacting with your content.
As you begin to focus on what value you’re offering to the reader, you’ll begin to see this engagement improve across all your content - making these tips your golden ticket to digital marketing success.