Even though it seems humans’ attention span is shrinking to less than a goldfish’s, all hope should not be lost. This is because engaging content still garners quite a bit of attention.
For instance, 7 out of 10 podcast listeners say they don’t multitask while listening to podcasts, and more than 8 out of 10 listeners spend 7 hours binging on podcasts weekly. And that’s just one kind of content.
That’s why you should stop putting down content creation as a fad and get serious about it. Read more to learn the tips and tricks on how you (yes, you) can start writing engaging content that readers will want to consume.
The first rule of content creation is always to use real-life stories to create a connection with your reader. Humans like reading about other humans. Everyone’s curious about and interested in learning about the other humans that occupy this blue planet with them.
So why not give them what they want? Even if you are a business creating content, you are made up of many humans, aren’t you? Tell the stories of those humans.
For example, your founder could share the story of how the business came about. Or the CFO could talk about the time when the business almost went bankrupt (or made oodles of money in one day).
Don’t hold back. You are not sharing any sensitive information here, just heartfelt stories that create a bond between you and your customer/reader that will last through the ages.
Check What Your Readers Like to Read
Your website or blog comes with analytic tools that you can use to check which blog articles are doing best with readers. Look at the topics and content of those with the highest views, and think about how you could write more articles on that subject matter.
If it’s worked once, surely it will work twice, right? There’s a reason why your readers liked the article and the topic you chose. So why not take advantage of it by brainstorming some more article ideas?
Don’t overdo it, of course. But looking at the top 5 blog posts or articles on our website should give you enough collateral ideas to write content for a long while.
Another way to develop content ideas is to scan through all the questions your clients or customers ask on your social media channels or customer service calls. You need to take advantage of these prime article opportunities, especially if certain topics come up repeatedly.
Not only can your customer service rep or social media person direct folks to the article when answering their questions, but it also shows your customers that you care and are listening.
Use Simple Language
No need to break out the thesaurus or dictionary to start using complex, complicated, and intricate language (you see what I did there?). If you wish to relate to your reader, you will want to speak in simple terms.
Use language that’s not too high-level, with simple day-to-day words and a bit of modern slang thrown in (depending on your business).
This way, your users won’t have to pull out a dictionary of their own to understand what you are saying, and they will be more interested in reading your content.
Create Content That’s Scannable
Just like this article that has many headings and paragraphs that are no longer than 3 sentences, you need to write engaging content that is scannable and easy to read. A lot of people will drop onto your website/magazine and will scan through your content to see what you have to say.
If you write in a way that makes it easy for them to get the gist of your content, then hurray for you. There will be others who will consume your content in full, and that’s fine. But you need to cater to both categories of customers.
Insert Images to Boost Engagement
Visual imagery is crucial when creating engaging content. Sometimes folks believe that engaging content cannot have words, but should only have videos or images. That’s not true.
Ideally, you would want to create content that has a mix of it all – images, videos, GIFs, and words. This way you can break paragraphs up using visual content, which keeps your readers interested, and scrolling. And you can use visual content to introduce infographics, statistics, and other interesting information.
Also, an appropriately placed image or GIF can be highly humorous and can help give your reader the comedic relief they seek.
Use Your Employees
No, it’s not about using and abusing your employees. We are not living in the 18th century here. It’s about utilizing the stories, hobbies, and lifestyles that your employees bring to the table.
For example, you might have an employee who spends her free time riding beautiful motorbikes around the country. You could showcase her story in your magazine or digital publishing platform. Or you might have an employee who creates miniature dollhouses out of matchsticks, selling them on Etsy.
Your employees can help you give that human connection to your business when you share their stories with your readers and customers. It will humanize your business and help you build a stronger connection with your employees. A win-win situation.
Make Your Readers Think
Earlier we said that you should use simple sentences in your content. But that doesn’t mean that you are dumbing down your content. You should try as much as possible to make your readers think.
You can use thought-provoking questions or motivational quotes from celebrities or celebrated activists. What will happen when you use these thought-provoking questions?
It will make your customer feel more engaged, as they use their mental faculties to answer your question. Their attention to the content will also increase.
Even if this means that they reply using short answers, like yes, no, or maybe, it’s still better than them being completely brain dead and zombie-like while consuming your content.
Don’t Shy Away from Controversial Topics
There’s no need for you to skirt around controversial or touchy subjects. Many businesses out there were able to garner a lot of customer attention and loyalty by facing controversial subjects head-on.
This especially applies when you made a mistake with your customers and you need to own up to this colossal screw-up. Create content right away that apologizes and corrects your error (whatever that means).
This way you will be able to look your customers in the eye as their respect for you doesn’t tank rapidly. They might even admire you for your forthrightness, helping you gain a long-term loyal customer.
Avoid Typos or Other Grammatical Mistakes
No one likes to read a document chockful of punctuation and grammatical errors. It’s not the way any customer or reader wants to spend their precious time.
Not only does it show them that you don’t care about creating a good piece of content, but it even makes them wonder what errors you might have in the products you create.
Take the time to run your article or content through Grammarly and get it quality-checked by at least 3 other people in your company. They will catch something you missed in your several read-throughs.
Also, if you have a legal department, then you might want to run the important content pieces by them as well. Just in case
Write for Your Audience
Do you know what audience you are writing for? You might have a clearcut idea of your audience cross-section or you might have several groups of people that you cater towards.
Either way, remember that you are writing for your audience. They are the ones who are going to consume this content, so it has to be geared towards them. This means using the language they use and the ideas that they care about.
For instance, if your audience is a Millennial crowd, you are going to want to create content that has hints of going green, having an impact, doing good in the world, etc. On the other hand, if your audience comprises primarily of boomers, then you will want to focus on health care, saving money for retirement, and related topics.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t be creative, but you will want to speak to your audience in a language that makes sense to them. For example, don’t start using modern slang terms like bae and fam if your audience is older than 50.
What Is Engaging Content? – Content That Matters to Your Audience
It’s easy to create engaging content if you put your audience first, and follow the tips laid out above. It might take you a bit of time to put all the tips into practice, but eventually, you will surely start writing engaging content.
If you are interested in learning more about how to create an all-in-one digital publishing platform, check out our landing page, where we explained in details how Universal App can help you publish your own digital publication, guides, checklist and other support. It’s time you used your PDFs to create engaging content that generates more traffic, readers, and revenue.