B2B Enterprise Content Marketing report from Content Marketing Institute reveals that 50 – 60 percent marketers found creating engaging content very challenging in 2016.
For latest updates on content marketing industry, download their 2017 report here.
This article talks about a four steps approach that will ease the process of producing engaging content for your audience and amplify the results. Information provided here has supportive industry insights, stats, and videos.
What Does Engaging Content Mean?
Industry leaders have different perspectives on this.
For example, Colleen Jones, CEO of Content Science believes that an engaging piece of content should compel the audience to think.
It should encourage them to think about an old topic in a new way. It should be unique and focused on the readers’ need.
They all agree on the fact that a compelling content should be inspiring, valuable, knowledgeable, attractive, and must tell a good story.
Most Important is that your content should address your audiences’ needs and concerns.
How Do You Create Engaging Content?
You can not create helpful content for your audience until you understand their struggles, challenges or need.
Some experts believe content creators should try to understand customers’ journey if they wish to develop engaging content for them.
What is Customers’ Journey?
Marcia Riefer Johnston is the author of “Word Up! How to Write Powerful Sentences and Paragraphs”.
According to Marcia, if we want to create helpful content, we have to understand what audience expects when they interact with a brand.
We have to understand their behavior, goals, lifestyle; in other words, their overall journey.
Marcia recommends creating a customers’ journey map like the one below –
Create a customer’s journey map like this one to understand audience segments. Decide on which segment your business wants to focus.
You will gather information about your audience when creating this map. This information will help you create content that can improve audience experience with your business.
So, now you know what audience expects from an engaging piece of content.
Let’s discuss the four steps course of action so that you can craft a content your audience will love.
4 Steps To Creating Engaging Content
Before you start working on your content, you have to follow a strategic approach.
1. Identify current industry challenges.
2. Choose a challenge where you can help with your expertise.
3. Develop the type of content that your audience would like.
4. Make sure the content correctly addresses concerns and offers a solution in a smart and cohesive manner.
Step 1: Identify Industry Challenges
How can you do that?
- Listen to industry experts and thought leaders. What challenges they are talking about?
- Read posts from top industry websites voraciously.
- Subscribe to industry newsletters.
- Download industry reports from the leading research and consulting companies.
What I prefer to do personally?
- I follow industry experts in my niche
- I read their blogs and other published content.
- I study industry reports.
- I invest a lot of time in studying industry trends, changes, threats and opportunities.
Simple Google search also can yield tons of valuable insights.
I like to study consumer psychology and learn more about engagement marketing. So I have subscribed to sites like Content Marketing Institute, Social Media Examiner, Marketing Land, Business Grow by Mark Schaefer, etc.
I find latest industry reports and updates from those resources. I use those reports and updates to identify top industry challenges.
Step 2: Choose a Challenge Where You Can Offer Help
Pick a problem that you can help with your expertise.
Here you should be as concise as possible.
You do not need to address problems of a vast amount of audience. Aim to help a group of audience who is desperately looking for help with one specific industry challenge.
Step 3: Develop Content That Audience Would Like to Engage With
I would like to assume social media marketing is part of your overall content marketing plan.
So you have to research extensively to understand what type of content your audience likes to consume on different online networking platforms.
Here are some stats and facts for your research –
- Your website or blog content should be mobile savvy, as almost 80 percent of total time spent on social media happens on audiences’ mobile.
- Your content should have images and links if you’re planning to write it for LinkedIn. 98 percent of posts with great pictures received more comments on LinkedIn. Content with links created 200 percent higher engagement on LinkedIn.
- According to statists, 57 percent of total social content sharing happened on Facebook.
- Video posts on Facebook create 62% more engagement than images.
- Tweets receive 150 percent more retweets when it includes images.
So when you choose a platform to promote content, take a note of these influencing factors.
If you want more content engagement on Facebook, create posts including video and images. Create content with links and photos to get a better response from LinkedIn.
Besides making a content very informative and valuable for the audience, you also have to make the content visually appealing to make it more engaging.
Step 4: Make Sure Content Offers Solution Without Losing Its Value
Engaging content is informational, educational, helpful and non-promotional. Bombarding the audience with tons of worthless content every week will not ensure engagement.
Here are two interesting things to remember –
Age of Content Shock is Coming
Mark Schaefer wrote a fantastic post about content shock.
In his post, he said that 2009 was still a great year when the web was relatively uncrowded. During that time audience used to be hungry for blog posts and other content for information and knowledge.
But 2014 onwards the state of content space changed dramatically. Now audience has access to a volume of information material which is larger than they can consume.
Supply of content is exploding when the demand for content is flat. So Mark thinks the world will enter the state of content shock soon when the human ability to consume content online will reach its peak.
Audience Will Win
The huge competition for small human attention span and increasing content volume is going to act in the best interest of the internet users.
Small, medium and big business will have to prioritize quality and valuable content for creating engagement.
So make sure you offer only and only value to your audience through your content.
I believe creating an amazing engaging content is about creating a perfect integration of knowledge, value, and solution. This video from Content Marketing Institute also conveys the same message.
Here are two interesting blog posts about creating engaging content.
- Neil Patel’s post: Why a Content Goes Viral.
- Moz post: If you love to write, learn about the impact of content length on engagement. As experts often see lengthy content gets more engagement on social media.
You can also download BuzzSumo Research Report to study a complete analysis of 1 million posts. They collected, evaluated and analyzed those posts to find out the key driving factors for content engagement.
If you wish to create engaging video content, listen to Neil Patel’s Marketing School Ep: #172. How to keep your audience engaged with your video.
Before you think about putting money in content advertising, read Mark Schaefer’s post.
Increasing content load on social media will eventually bring the age of content shock. Your target audience will quickly ignore or forget your content no matter how good it is.
So here are few things that you should do –
- Craft content to help your audience.
- Use your expertise to help the audience get over a challenge.
- Gradually build trust.
- Expect no sales through your content.
- Content should be for value addition. It is not for your product or service promotion.
Sales and ROI will eventually come when you set your intentions right.