There are 500 million active blogs and websites around the world and about 2 million posts are published every day. You don’t have to be a content marketing genius to figure out that that leaves little room for competition. That’s why it’s important to make your content as engaging and as unique as possible.
Part of that is sticking to the basics, and part of it is establishing a unique style and voice. However, most of it boils down to effort, time, and patience. If you consistently adhere to certain tactics, you may beat the competition when it counts. So here are 10 ways to engage your audience through content writing.
1. Structure Your Content
When a visitor stumbles upon your site through a Google search, they’ll most likely not read through your entire article. They will search for what they’re looking for and promptly leave if they don’t find it. Hence, you need to make it as easy as possible for them to find their specific content. Here are a few ways you can do that.
Use Headings and Sub-headings
Clearly labelling what you’re writing about is a simple way to point your readers to their desired content. Google’s algorithms now actively crawl through blogs and websites to single out the content being searched for.
Increasingly, searches display results through snippets that highlight a body of text or a heading that answers user queries. Clicking on the URL takes the visitor to the exact paragraph or sentence they need to read. You need to make it easier for Google to crawl through your posts and find that content.
Stick to Short Sentences
The more complex the sentence, the harder it will be for readers to understand. While writing for a specific audience is perfectly fine, you need to add simplicity to content for Google to find it. Long sentences over twenty words in length, as well as run on sentences, can ruin your post’s readability.
What’s more, it can turn off readers if they don’t understand your content without much difficulty. Try using a tool like Grammarly to identify sentences you can cut down or words you can replace. It’ll help your content’s engagement in the long run.
Use Small Paragraphs
Small paragraphs also add structure to your content. They split individual topics, thoughts, or opinions into separate blocks. This not only helps Google pinpoint the paragraph that contains the most relevant answer to a query, but helps readers too.
Skimming through a document, readers can easily find pertinent information through a combination of headings and separate paragraphs. Just reading the first few sentences of one paragraph can tell them if the answer to their query is there.
So remember to structure your content with paragraphs that address different topics and subjects.
Lists are a Great Way to Improve Audience Engagement
It doesn’t matter whether you love or hate BuzzFeed type listicles; they are extremely engaging and generate a lot of hits. Why? Because they have a specific structure that makes understanding them and skimming through them very easy.
They satisfy the basic requirements of engaging content. They’re laden with bright, popping images; they’re structured into small, readable paragraphs, and they’re filled with headings and sub-headings.
2. Edit Content
No one likes reading fluffy, repetitive articles. They give the impression of being filled with useless information and regurgitated ideas. So here are just a few ways you can make your article more readable and engaging by eliminating fluff.
After you’ve written your article in full, go through it carefully and highlight any points that show up more than twice. Then, eliminate the repetitive paragraphs or sentences where they’re not needed. Some repetition is fine if it calls back to a relevant topic, but otherwise it’s just taking up space.
Also, watch out for paragraphs that are explaining in detail what has already been addressed. Replace them with a callback of one sentence at the most.
Stick to Useful and Actionable Content
Google keeps revising its SEO policies and updating its algorithms to look for unique, actionable info. Hence, making your articles more technical, relevant, current, and actionable is in your best interest.
Don’t worry about being subtle or building up to your point. Simply come up with a heading and get to the point. Readers aren’t in the mood for reading a novel but they want the quickest answers they can get.
3. Identify Your Niche Audience
No matter how good your writing skills are, if you’re not writing for a specific audience, your effort will be wasted. Remember that point about cutthroat competition? Well, the only way to overcome that is to write for a very specific audience. It can be businessmen, entrepreneurs, stay at home moms, soccer players, etc. Just pick and audience and focus on getting their attention.
Track Analytics for Content Popularity
Apart from using the right keywords to attract your niche, you need to track which posts are getting hits. They will help identify what your audience is most interested in. You can then spin off those posts into further topics or do follow ups. This approach will retain your audience’s attention and keep you on track towards growth.
Write at Your Audience’s Reading Level
Remember that every audience member doesn’t have the same reading level. A budding soccer player won’t recognize the same terms a licensed broker does. Hence, you need to write at the level that your audience reads.
Write above their reading level and you’ll force them to find something easier to digest. Write below their reading level and you’ll lose authority with them. You can’t guarantee that everyone in your niche audience will digest your content, but you can significantly improve your chances. Try reading high authority blogs or websites that attract your type of audience to ascertain their reading level.
Take Regular Surveys
Ask your audience what they want to read. This is where tracking analytics is useful. Use the most popular posts in the survey to find out what people will like to read about. You can also ask open-ended questions on your social media handles to find out what your audience is interested in.
Read the Comment Section Regularly
If any post has an active comment section, it’s probably generating the most engagement. You can pillage that comment section to generate more content. If, for example, someone takes issue with something in your post and proposes a counter, you can post about that.
If someone builds on your post in the comments, you can acknowledge them and do a detailed article on that. There are so many ways you can use your comment section to generate more content. So keep your eyes open.
4. Use Storytelling to Your Advantage
Writing dry content for your readers that is just filled with technical information can lose their interest overtime. Instead, use storytelling to drive your point home. There are myriad examples of real-life events and fables that can engage people and emphasize your point.
Parables and Fables are Extremely Effective
There’s a reason that so many myths and legends still affect us today. No matter what culture or country you’re from, no one can resist a good story. Most of those old fables and stories are in the public domain, so you don’t even have to worry about copyright. Even modern tales can be useful; of course, you need to acknowledge their authors and publishers.
Using these stories to drive home your message can be very effective on your audience. Just make sure that you condense the story, or just extract the part that your topic pertains to. Narrating the whole story can undo the main objective i.e. engagement.
Stories Make Posts Special
Not only do stories and fables engage your audience, they make posts special. That’s why it’s important not to overdo them. Your audiences will remember that rare post which addresses a topic near and dear to them. However, if you consistently use stories to make your point, it will seize to have an effect on them.
5. Use Authentic Sources
Establishing authority on your own is very important to establish an audience. Making claims that are backed up by authentic sources not only makes your website more authoritative, but also more searchable.
Use Backlinking for Better SEO
Using authentic sources and trusted links to back up your claims helps your website’s SEO. Google’s algorithms recognize your blog as trusted and more authentic due to backlinking to other trusted sources. Doing this consistently will eventually boost your website’s SEO so that it becomes authoritative in its own right.
Establish Your Own Authority Through Accurate Information
Consistently using accurate information to make your point will eventually establish you as an authoritative author. Not only will people trust your word, but search engines will display your articles and posts atop the search results.
Add Lots of Facts and Stats
Who doesn’t love facts and statistics? Adding them to your blogs and articles will help boost your authority. Just make sure you link them to their original source.
Make Your Own Contribution If You Can
Remember that people coming to your site want to hear your own thoughts too. Simply building on others’ research and commentary isn’t going to cut it in the long run. You don’t have to give your own opinion every time. However, slipping in your own thoughts once in a while will establish your own voice.
6. Use Buzzwords and Keywords
Buzzwords and keywords help search engines find your website and posts. It’s very important to insert them into your content to cater to your audience. Here are a few ways to pick out the most effective and relevant keywords.
Use Keyword Search Engines
There are myriad keyword search engines out there. Even Google is one. There is SEMrush, Ubersuggest, AnswerthePublic, etc. Also, looking at the “People also ask” section by Google search beneath your query is a good source of keywords.
Don’t be afraid to use longtail keywords either. They’re becoming more common as voice search volume increases. Place these keywords in the content body, headings, image titles, etc. Every little bit helps.
Pay Attention to Google Analytics
Google Analytics and Google Trends are great sources to help you find keywords and topics to write on. Focusing on what is driving search currently is a great way to serve your niche. It also helps to bring in more unique visitors to your site.
Use Keywords Popular With Your Audience
Don’t disregard your loyal audience when it comes to keywords. Look at the posts that are generating the most traffic from unique visitors. Focus on the keywords within those posts and capitalize on their search volume for future posts.
7. Consistency is the Key to Audience Engagement
Look at any of the most successful creators and bloggers out there and you’ll find that they post consistently. They don’t necessarily post all the time, but their posts consistently going out retains their audience’s interest. It’s just like a regularly broadcast television show on a specific time slot. If the time slot changes, a huge chunk of the audience goes with it.
Plan Your Posts in Advance
It’s important to plan what you’re going to post at least a week in advance. This doesn’t just mean knowing what you’re going to write about. It means doing all your research, collecting keywords, structuring, etc., beforehand. This will make writing the content much easier when you finally sit down to write it.
Create a Posting Schedule
Make sure you have a regular schedule that you stick to. If you post once or twice a week, adhere to it as strictly as possible. This will not only build up your audience, but retain their interest.
8. Remember to Add Your Own Voice
Creating your own voice is essential to capture a loyal audience’s attention. Chances are thousands of people are writing about the same things you are. Your audience should have a vested interest in your opinions for you to stand out.
Read the Best to Inform Your Own Opinions
Forming your own voice requires that you read other people that are already informed. They don’t have to be the foremost authorities on the subject, though that is an added bonus. Just make sure you’re reading authoritative authors and respected voices. That way, even if you disagree, you’ll be able to form better arguments to counter.
Work on Creating Your Own Unique Style
Your own voice will only come out if you work on it. You’re not going to get it right the first time, but you’ll grow into it if you consistently work at it. Just remember to read other sources, form your own informed opinions, and write with a firm voice.
Don’t Be Afraid to Go Against the Grain
Going against convention is always a risk, but then that’s what will set you apart. Don’t do it for the sake of argument, but do it if you feel strongly enough and have a solid argument. Your audience will respect you all the more for it.
9. Use Images and Video to Engage Better
Videos and images are both more engaging than text. Employing them liberally in your articles will appeal to your audience, no matter who it is.
Video is the Most Engaging Medium
Video is without a doubt the most engaging medium on the internet. Streaming services and YouTube have proved that wholeheartedly. So using even a short clip to get your point across along with your article will engage your users better.
Images Help Readers Understand Your Argument
Text accompanying an image can help drive your point home much better than a simple paragraph. Use images liberally in your content to communicate to your audience better.
Infographics Condense Detailed Information
Infographics are a boon to technical articles that bear a lot of statistics and facts. They condense that detailed information into colorful pictures and popping text. Infographics make content much easier to digest.
10. Original Research is Always Appealing
This relates to the point about finding your own voice. After establishing your website or blog, you need to contribute some original research or content too. You can’t piggyback on other people’s content forever.
Take Your Time With Original Research
You don’t need to pump out figures every week, but you do need to contribute research of your own occasionally. Make sure that it’s well-sourced, backed up by other sources, and builds on something of importance.
Make Sure Your Research is Relevant and Current
Doing research on something irrelevant or old isn’t going to get you clicks or hits. It’s better to carry out research on new topics and subjects that are currently trending. Also, publishing figures and original content on topics relevant currently to your audience is paramount. That will engage your audience more than generic topics taking the world by storm.
Using these 10 tips, you’ll be able to rake in your audience’s engagement overtime. Be consistent, adhere to these tactics, and good luck.
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