November 10, 2017 (Updated: May 16, 2023)
Content is king in today’s online world, but many companies aren’t keeping up with producing fresh and engaging pieces. When you have an online presence, it’s important to make sure the content you’re sharing is appealing to your followers. Without engagement, followers often drop off and you end up wasting time sharing stuff that no one is reading. Follow these helpful tips to create content that people want to read.
Before you start typing into a blank document, you’ll need to think about what your readers want to read. The pain points are aspects of life that cause people to feel frustrated or discouraged, but they vary depending on what type of goods or services your business offers.
For example, if your company delivers groceries, customer pain points are probably focused on the time it takes to make a list, shop at the supermarket, and find items on the shelves, along with the frustration of having to visit the grocery store at least once a week or so. Identifying these pain points will help you determine what your readers want to read, as your content should be helping to alleviate the pain and frustration they experience as well as why they’re not getting the results they want from other options.
Once you’ve identified the pain point, the next step is providing a solution. Too often, content creators come up with helpful content that identifies a problem, but then they end the post without helping readers solve it. Come up with tips or an action plan that these readers can use to solve the problem on their end. People want to read content that informs, educates, and/or entertains, so make sure your list of helpful tips is informing and educating readers on how to fix an issue they face regularly.
If you’re working on content that will help to solve a problem, head to your favorite search engine and start typing in related topics to see what keywords are coming up. People search for answers to questions in unique ways, so targeting a variety of keywords will help increase visibility and draw more people to your post. Steer clear of stuffing your post with keywords since this can make the content feel inauthentic. Instead, look for ways to incorporate words that people might search for without going overboard.
Even if you have the most engaging content in the world, you have to grab the reader’s attention to get them interested in reading it. This is where an engaging headline comes into play. According to research, 80% of people read a headline, but only 20% will click to read the copy. Wonder why? The headline didn’t grab their attention. Use online tools to analyze your current headline and get a rating. You can also tap into resources like headline template builders to craft better options.
Unless people know who you are and that you’re an industry star, they won’t necessarily trust what you have to say. Demonstrate your authority and establish credibility with your readers from the start of the content. When you make a claim, back it up with quotes from known leaders or statistics and sources from your research. Add links to authoritative posts and articles that further strengthen and back up the points made in the content.
Too often, content creators and managers rely on their opinions of what people want to read. Maybe they’re basing those opinions on what they want to read, or perhaps they just feel like they’re the authority on creating and sharing content. However, instead of relying on a single person to determine what your company is sharing, use analytics and data to find out what content followers are engaging with most.
If you have a blog or social media accounts, look at the clicks and shares on the posts you’ve put out over the last year. Analyze what topics and formats are working and what isn’t, and use that as a steppingstone for your content strategy. Looking through the data may surprise you; for many content creators, it comes as a shock that the random holiday-themed post they put up on the site is one of the most popular.
Every business has competitors, so it’s important to stay aware of what they’re putting out there and how it compares to your content. If you notice that a certain topic is gaining a lot of traction and engagement, think about how your business can write something unique and appealing on a similar topic. While you’re researching, take a look at forums and message boards to see what people are talking about and how it relates to your industry.
Your company doesn’t have to stick to exclusively sharing fresh content. Other contributors and writers put out great articles and posts every day, so keep the conversation going and improve engagement by sharing what others have written as well. If you’re using social media to share content, make sure to add your own two cents before you post it. For example, quoting a tweet with a brief message about how it relates to your target audience, or your brand is a better option than simply retweeting it with no commentary.
As you share content from others, make sure to tag them for better engagement and visibility. Followers of the author may end up seeing your post, which could boost your engagement and encourage discussion among people who have never interacted with your brand before.
Every element of creating compelling and engaging content has a single purpose: to get the reader to read the next sentence, and the next one, and the next one after that. By creating more interesting content that speaks to your reader and helps them solve a problem or entertains them, you can improve engagement and increase your following.
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