Developing Engaging Content
In today’s internet, tap-you-on-the-shoulder content doesn’t win anymore. To expect real content engagement, you need to have slap-you-in-the-face content that over delivers on all fronts. Visitor fatigue plays a much bigger role in the average surfer nowadays, so it’s harder than ever to make a first impression.
So how can we as marketers create engaging content that fulfills our visitors needs, and doesn’t get dismissed under the “just another website” assumption?
Making your content valuable should be a given. This is the single most important part of content engagement-and content in general for that matter. By creating quality engaging content, your visitors can come to view you as a commodity and even feel proud to be a part of your community.
However, this is much easier said than done. For your visitors to want to be engaged, your content has to offer something more exciting than your competitors. Using storytelling, polls, infographics, charts, are all ways that you can use your content to engage visitors.
Woot.com is a good example. By simply leveraging the power of words in their quirky product anecdotes, they’re able to draw you in and make you a happier visitor. This, in turn, makes for a much more engaged user and eventually customer.
Anyone can write an article and fill white space, but an article that is creatively written and beneficial will provide returns in the form of more links, more opt ins, social mentions, better rankings, etc.
Engagement from your visitors in certain mediums is like being the popular kid in class. You’re cool, so others want to be your friend and talk about you. But just because you’re the most popular kid in band, doesn’t mean you’re going to have the same meteoric rise as a football player.
The content that you publish needs to be given to your visitors in the medium that will yield the most amount of engagement. Yes, blogs are the most common medium for content delivery, but there are many instances that information served via podcasts, video, or social-specific avenues would do a better job of engaging your visitors.
If you’re a golfer, you might use the information on Golflink’s Youtube channel to help improve your back swing or learn how to get out of those sand traps easier. This type of instructional content has much more value delivered as a video instead of a how-to blog post.
The first step to having a great tone in your content is knowing who your visitors are in the first place. Are they the technical in nature? Local? Old, or young? Male or female? Each market has a general demographic, once you establish who your target market is, you can better determine what voice you should be using.
As long as your jokes don’t fall flat, entertaining and humorous tones usually aren’t a problem with general audiences. Humor has the most effectiveness when it’s short, and in line with your brand, but be sure not to cross into the realm of controversial with your humor. Humorous religious, political, and big brand comments can backfire if used carelessly.
Unlike content that takes advantage of comedic relief, controversial content can have disastrous consequences if used improperly. No matter what you’re going to make someone unhappy, so be sure to ask yourself if it’s worth publishing.
How do you know what your visitors want if you don’t constantly evaluate their wants and needs? Remember, engagement is not one-sided. Visitors that recognize that they have a voice and presence are much more likely to be engaged.
On a regular basis, ask visitors for their input with a survey, poll, or in your newsletter. Educational institutes, retail giants, and software companies all use these methods to help connect with their visitors and make improvements. Listening and responding to visitors needs will help establish a genuine relationship with them.
Some companies that are large enough even create forums dedicated to solving problems and posting updates. Some forums such as Mozilla Thunderbird, consist mainly of volunteer users and can be just as beneficial for the company as for the consumer.
Be In It For The Long Haul
Whether your goal is to sell more products, teach, or increase brand awareness, your first step needs to be creating engaging content for your visitors. Since there are so many businesses that still insist on “taking the easy way out” by populating their site with poor content, imagine how far you will be in the long run by giving your visitors quality content.