Engaging Content: How to Grab and Hold Audience Attention
When it comes to the must-have characteristics of content, you can often hear the word “engaging”. What does engaging mean and how do you define it? What elements can you make content engaging? We will take a look at these and other issues in this article. Let’s start with the definition of “engaging” in order to understand the concept better.
Engaging content implies a certain interaction with the user audience. This can be likes, reposts, mentions of a company, filling out forms, or questionnaires. Any active feedback has a positive effect on traffic.
Creating engaging content plays a significant role in any business and is one of the most important goals of any content marketing and SEO strategy. It helps you increase reach, attract new audiences, retain existing customers, and continually fuel interest in what you create.
It should be known that informative, interesting, or inspiring content will not always be engaging to different audiences. Let’s consider the main characteristics of engaging content.
1. Relevance to Users
The content must have a certain value and meet the needs of the audience. It can then become engaging. The time a user spends viewing content should pay off with tangible benefits for you.
2. Attractive Headlines and Visuals
To get acquainted with your message, the user must first catch on to something. Analyze your behavior on the Internet. You will click on the article only in two cases when scrolling through the feed. Attracting attention is another characteristic of engaging content.
3. Value at the Time of Reading
The value at the moment of reading is when you have not guessed what is interesting to the person as a whole but also fell into their mood and needs at the moment. This is producing something that is exactly what they need right now.
4. Emotional Impact
Engaging content interacts with the audience on an unconscious level. When faced with something that causes strong emotions and it is impossible to remain indifferent. It is extremely difficult to refrain from discussing socially significant issues or past experiences.
A scientific article is unlikely to be engaging content no matter how interesting and useful it is. If you leave the main idea behind, retell it in a narrative form, and add infographics, the chances of success will significantly increase. Diversity maintains attention at all stages of interaction.
We figured out the “engaging” meaning. The following question arises. How do you determine the degree of content engagement? Are there metrics to measure it? Can content be considered engaging only by the number of likes, or do you need reposts too?
How to Measure Audience Engagement. Basic Metrics
When you invest effort and money in content creation, you need to track and analyze the results. There are special marketing performance indicators for this.
1. Likes and reposts on social networks
The most obvious indicator of content performance is the number of likes and shares on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Pinterest, and other social networks. Each platform has its own analytics tools that you can use to determine the relevance of topics for the target audience.
2. Comments on social networks
Comments are a source of strength for organic reach. Social media algorithms work in such a way that each comment under a post raises it in the feed. They increase the chances of reaching a large audience. Many comments are an indicator of the effectiveness.
3. Number of views per page
Analyze your site to determine which pages are the most visited. This will make it possible to draw conclusions about what content is in demand among the target audience.
4. Session time
The average time users spend on a site indicates interest in the content. If this is low, you might need to work on engagement.
5. Depth of views
If you managed to grab the user’s attention, and they stayed on the site for a while, this will most likely have a positive effect on the depth of views. If some of the content resonates with the reader, they are more likely to continue their journey around the site.
6. Bounce rate
If users leave the site after viewing the first page, you are doing something wrong. Analyze existing content and develop a plan to improve it.
7. Number of new and returning visitors
When users return to the site and the audience expands, this is hitting the target audience and about the correct construction of a content marketing strategy.
8. Conversion rate
The ultimate goal of the content is to sell or to perform the targeted action by site visitors such as subscribing, filling out a form, requesting a callback, or purchasing. Conversion rate is an important metric for planning further advertising campaigns, analyzing the effectiveness of sales strategies and the state of the site at the moment. You must understand why you are writing content, what it should push the user to, and what metrics you expect to increase.
How to Create Engaging Content
There is no set of rules that is one hundred percent guaranteed to help write engaging content. It all depends on the situation. Posts that no one has bid on can provide amazing reach. Let’s take a look at guidelines on how to write engaging content that can get you closer to the result.
1. Get to know your audience
For more accurate targeting, getting the expected result and good feedback, understand who you are creating content for and what does content mean for your audience. All the details such as gender, age, geography, area of employment are important, so it will be easier to identify the pains, experiences, problems, and desires of people in order to offer them a solution. Communicate with people, ask them questions, create an account on Reddit and Quora.
2. Be confident and bet on your strengths
To create engaging content, you need to be well versed in the topic you plan to cover. The text should be persuasive, not abstract and detached. If you show your awareness of a specific issue, it is more likely to resonate with people interested in the topic.
3. Engage experts
The expert opinion of specialists always makes a positive impression. You can bring in experts with different points of view for more interaction in the form of comments and discussions.
4. Ask questions
Even the banalest post can be a reason for discussion. Encourage users to start a discussion by inviting them to comment, and demonstrating how valuable their opinion is.
5. Choose topics responsibly
If you write a post that gives you good reach but doesn’t give you the expected conversion, it won’t get you any closer to the desired result. Also, black PR is bad and is not the best choice for a brand’s reputation.
Let’s look at examples: you are a womenswear brand that decided to support the wave of combating domestic violence and asked the stars and subscribers to share their experiences on your social networks. This is a good initiative with a clear hit to the target audience.
Opposite example: you are a conservative baby goods business and decide to write a post about your lack of support for abortion. This will give you greater reach, but it may not reflect in the best way on the brand’s reputation. People whose views go against yours will not want to interact with you in the future. When covering high-profile topics, you need to be very careful. Match the ideology of the brand with the point of view that you express on social media.
6. Plan ahead
Inspiration is essential, but a complete strategy also requires planning. If you write from time to time, when you are in the mood, you should not expect a high conversion of efforts. You will have to plan at all stages, from a single post to a complete content plan. Let’s say your content is engaging and you get great reach. What’s next? You need to act quickly so that users remember you. Therefore, in the absence of a further plan, you can lose potential customers.
7. Structure the text
In order for the reader’s attention to be held throughout the entire text, you need to structure it well. Use introductory phrases such as: “I wonder what happened next?”, “Want to know how …”, “You won’t believe …”, “ This is the only one …” and so on. These text fragments will warm up and maintain the attention of users, and facilitate the perception of information. Don’t oversaturate the text with them, everything is fine in moderation.
8. Add block quotes to the text
You’ve probably noticed that when users share an article or material on social networks, they often use a quote from the preview material or as a constituent element of their introductory text. The presence of block quotes in the content that readers can use automatically increases the chances of reposting.
9. Add “share on social networks” buttons to the site
If the user likes the material on the site, and they want to share it, it is necessary to do the following. Copy the link to the page, save the image, and transfer it all to their page and arrange. It is better when under each of your materials there are social media icons to share information. You can use popular social networks such as Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, and Pinterest.
10. Add CTA
Remember to add call-to-action buttons wherever appropriate. This can be a call to purchase and an offer to subscribe in return for receiving informative material on a topic of interest by mail.
11. Add internal links
When a user is interested in a topic, they will want to see similar content. Offer them this option by using internal links to your other materials. This will help in increasing the depth of views and reducing the bounce rate. Read the related article – What is a Good Bounce Rate?
12. Add videos and images
We have already written that engaging content attracts and retains the attention of visitors. Text alone is usually not enough. Use videos and images inside materials, infographics, and any other interactive that will facilitate the perception of the text. Work on and improve the presentation.
13. Learn the basics of storytelling
Storytelling is the ability to tell even the most boring stories in a way that engages the audience. There are special techniques and courses for mastering storytelling. It is very useful to have this skill and is actively used in marketing.
The quick guide on how to write engaging content is ready. We hope you can successfully apply it in practice to increase reach and improve conversions. We suggest looking at some inspiring examples of engaging content that you might also find useful.
BuzzFeed is very familiar with storytelling. They know how to keep readers’ attention and do great with loud headlines. When you go to the site you just want to click on at least some news. Their tests deserve special attention and the title of most of them sounds like a challenge, for example: “Only Kids Who Grew Up Without Cable Will Be Able To Identify These PBS Kids Characters”. Users run the risk of hanging on the site for a long time.
The well-known magazine Bon Appetit decided to bet on a niche branch called Healthyish and made the right decision. The idea was to create a platform that would be different from the main website of the gastronomic magazine and cover the needs of a part of the audience. The global trends in healthy and organic food. The site came out bright, colorful, and useful for readers.
If you have the ability to create custom content for a specific segment of your audience, use it.
Original SEMrush blog article covers are a good way to grab attention. This is the first thing a user encounters when entering a website. The article descriptions are well thought out and give ideas on how useful they can be. Everything is done for the convenience of the audience. Articles can be shared on social networks A repost button is available under each of the materials.
4. Wall Street Journal
The American business daily WSJ has an essential mission to report on current events in politics, economics, and business. Not very suitable topics for jokes and entertainment. The editors manage to do their job at a level. Complex information is presented in various forms of interactive infographics, allowing the reader to delve into the course of what is happening from the first seconds and better absorb the information.
5. National Geographic
At National Geographic, stories are magically brought to life with interactivity. Does reading history books seem boring to you? How about taking a virtual trip to the days of the Roman emperors and interpreting the images on Trajan’s Column? Sounds exciting to us.
Imagine that you have conceived a renovation in an apartment but do not know how to implement it. You find yourself on a site where you can choose the right color for the floor and furniture according to the type of your home, calculate the cost of repairs, and much more, all in the format of a simple game. London-based company Snagg has successfully brought this to life. Fascinating content even for those who are not yet ready to renovate.
We hope the examples have inspired you to create something unique, new, exciting, and impressive. Save and share this article so that you can create truly fun and interesting content at any time.