You know the struggle is real when 54% of B2B marketers find it difficult to create engaging content. Add a noisy and crowded marketplace to the mix and you’ve got yourself a marketer with lots of content but poor ROI.
What is engaging content and why is it so important?
There are many definitions but I’ll use this one from the Content Marketing Institute and Newt Barrett:
“Engaging content is so attractive and appealing that it disarms you from your very first encounter…and makes you want to linger to learn more. When it really connects with you, it will take your breath away. It’s a little bit like love at first sight.”
Engaging content is important because it’s compelling to your audience, encourages social sharing, and Google likes it too (from an SEO perspective).
How can you create more engaging content?
I’ve assembled expert perspectives from across the Web on this very topic. The result? Here are the eight questions you should ask when you want to create content that truly engages your audience.
1. How visual should you get when creating content? Visualization solves problems for people. Research has shown that viewers tend to interact more with infographics, charts and presentations that resonate with them. In 2014, 39% of B2B buyers identified that they share infographics on social media frequently and the use of video increased to 58% in 2014.
Tip: Include more than one visual element to keep the flow of interaction moving from beginning to end. Break up text heavy posts with images and videos.
2. What experience is this creating for your reader? Danny Brown posted about Pure Blogging and The Experience We Give our Readers, in which he asks readers to consider the last time that a piece of content touched them emotionally, or inspired them to action.
Tip: It’s ok to pat yourself on the back for a great piece of content, but until your audience has seen it and done something your job isn’t finished.
3. Is this story compelling enough to keep the attention of the reader? Telling a story can keep your reader engaged enough to continue interacting with the content. We hear often that everyone loves a good story. Jonathan Gottschall tells us why storytelling is the ultimate weapon.
Tip: Find material for your stories from customers (they always have something to say), your company history, and the latest newsworthy tends.
4. Is there a clear purpose and call-to-action your audience can follow? According to Neil Patel the human mind expects the CTA. But Tommy Walker may have said it better: the best CTAs “are the ones that promise your story only gets better after you sign up”.
Tip: Before creating your content identify the most important thing you want the audience to do and turn it into an appealing call-to-action.
5. Will it resonate with my prospects? Brian Solis notes that empathy is an important building block in meeting the needs of your audience. Grant Tudor corroborates in this article, that empathy is often what’s behind strong emotional content.
Tip: Check out Robert Plutchik’s “wheel of emotions” and think about what you can do to bring out more (or less) of a particular emotion in your prospect. Can you “pump up” the language? Or use more dramatic graphics?
6. Is the content actionable? Your content should solve a problem for your readers. Neil Patel consistently publishes content that is useful. This includes “giving them the ability to ask you for help through comments and social media—and getting a useful response.”
Tip: Deliver at least one thing your reader can implement now.
7. Is your content adaptable to social networks? Garrett Moon from CoSchedule describes adaptive content as the idea of creating once, then publishing everywhere. Noz Urbina describes it as being omni channel – understanding and optimizing for the entire journey across all channels. It doesn’t matter which definition you choose, engaging content can be adapted for lots of different formats and placements.
Tip: Turn a blog post into a Slideshare presentation. Highlight tips from your video into a nifty checklist. The possibilities are endless. Use them.
8. Is this content building trust with your readers? Trust takes time to build but you don’t have to go it alone. Use social proof such as testimonials and reviews.
Tip: Dr. Carmen Simon goes a step further by encouraging you to: “invite your audience to process information deeply by invoking the senses, asking questions, and provoking conversations”.
Now it’s your turn
As you continue to learn and interact with your audience, allow them to guide you as you create content. After all it’s for them, isn’t it? Share with us in the comments below how you’ve been creating content that engages your prospects.