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Content Marketing 19 min read

How to Write Engaging Content: 8 Actionable Tips

How to Write Engaging Content: 8 Actionable Tips
How to Write Engaging Content: 8 Actionable Tips

James Njoya
Сontent strategist and blogger at BloggerKenya
If you want your content to receive more eyeballs, you need to write engaging content.

Look, marketers, agencies and bloggers are producing an insane amount of content every day.

According to Letter.ly, approximately 7.5 million blog posts go live after every 24 hours. That means, before you finish reading this sentence (reading at an average speed of 350 WPM) there would be approximately 401 that would get published.

That's huge, right?

Which implies that, if your "amazing" piece does not attract and engage your readers, it can easily get lost in the noisy crowd in a blink of an eye.

Imagine your 3 hours of writing a compelling blog post going to waste.

Painful right?

But how do you write engaging content? What defines engaging content? That's what we are going to show you in this post.

What Exactly Is Engaging Content?

Clicks, social shares, and comments are not enough metrics to measure content engagement. Though these metrics are important in evaluating how people interact with your blog content, they are not accurate to term your content as engaging.

After all, you create content to improve your brand's affinity and build authority in your space. You want to connect with your audience. Then, if your content does not stick your readers around and maybe nudge them to take action, it makes no sense to publish it.

Nevertheless, engaging content is tailored to meet these four objectives.

  • Attract readers;

  • Help your readers;

  • Retain them;

  • Evoke readers to take action depending on your business goals.

So, how do you write content that achieves these four objectives? These eight strategies are your way to go.
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1. Hook Your Readers Right Off the Bat

Listen, just because you created a catchy blog post headline doesn't mean that your readers will engage with your content. Actually, the purpose of writing a great headline is to attract your readers to your resource. A catchy headline means higher CTR (Click-Through Rate).

10 Tips For Increasing Click-Through Rate On Your Organic Search Results

But to engage your readers with your content, you need to do more than just creating a captivating headline.

You need to craft a seductive post introduction.

When you can't hook your readers with a great introduction, it's easy to lose them. For once, an introduction tells your readers what to expect from your piece.
If you are struggling with creating captivating post intros, I have a quick formula that you can use. Trust me, it works across all industries.

While creating a blog post introduction, consider these three things; the opening sentence, the problem, and the transitioning.
The opening sentence is the critical part of your content. To keep everything super simple and interesting, make sure that your opening sentence is short.

For example, your opening sentence can be:

  • controversial to trigger curiosity:
"Your favorite blogger is a liar"

  • a cliffhanger sentence:
"Imagine"

  • or even a question:
"Are your cold emails getting ignored?"

The purpose of the opening sentence is to lead your readers to the next sentence of your introduction.
What's next is showing them that they are in the right place. That's by addressing their issue right away.

Jump right into the main agenda. That's because readers take their first five seconds reading your introduction to know if your content will solve their problems. If you begin beating around the bush, you give them a reason to bounce back to the search results page.

Give your readers a short preview of your content. Just as how your favorite Netflix show begins with gunshots or romance before diving into the deeper tissues of the story.
Finally, don't leave your readers hanging. Connect them to the body of your content. That's done by transitioning.

Here are good examples of transitional phrases:

  • Let's get started.

  • Let's jump right in.

  • Let's dive in.

  • Right off the bat, let's delve into it.

That way you'll have your post introduction perfectly polished. And you would have perfected the most critical parts of creating engaging content.

2. Use Data to Make Your Content Engaging

Data is expensive to collect.

But if you already own a business, trust me you have massive data at your disposal. For example, say you want to publish a blog post on how to boost your affiliate income, and you own an affiliate site.

Instead of hopping into content mills to hire cheap freelancers who will only write rehashed content, it's you write out of your own experience.

That is sharing your techniques from developing a better content marketing strategy, optimizing your sales funnel to tracking how users interact with your site.

That extra effort of mobilizing data out of your marketing success and sharing it with your readers will make your content credible.
For example, in his post "guest post ROI" Tim Soulo does something that you could do as well. Instead of writing an article on how to guest post, he decides to gather data to measure the return on investment for guest posting.

Here's what he does:

He contacts over 500 bloggers to share their guest post-experience.

Guest post ROI (Source)
In which he compiles all the responses he got from bloggers.

And this post got a good chunk of backlinks, which I doubt he would get by just publishing the same noise found out there about guest posting.

3. The Content Beam Balance

You want your post to rank on Google and get massive organic traffic, don't you? You don't want to write a post, and after a week or so see traffic fall like a rock from a cliff, but for it to rank well on search results and enjoy evergreen traffic, right?
You need to know one thing – it's crucial to write for search engines as well as for readers.

That's keeping a balance between the readers and the search engine bots. Like a beam balance.
If you write for readers alone, the bots won't understand your content. On the other hand, if you concentrate on making the search engine bots "excited", your content will sound robotic to your readers. That will make them exit your web page as if they were standing on hot coal.

If you are just getting started with SEO content writing, balancing these two variables can be tough.

SEO Writing For Newbies: How To Attract Readers And Search Engines

So in this section, I'll show you how to write engaging content that's optimized for both readers and bots.

Begin by writing the best piece for your readers. Use an engaging writing tone, use short sentences and pack your piece with actionable tips.

Then, on your natural sounding piece, make it understood by search engine bots. Well, how?

Firstly, naturally sprinkle your focus keywords in your blog post. Say you have a post on "best SEO tools". You can try including your focus keyword (best SEO tools) in your post introduction or in one of your subheadings.

Lastly, use the LSI keywords. LSI keywords tell Google how comprehensive your blog post is. Finding them is super simple.

Just head over to Google and type in your keyword, say "best SEO tools". Then scroll down to the bottom of the SERP. You'll get some ideas of LSI keywords worth including in your piece.
Google SERP
Google SERP
If you work on a bigger project, or several of them, and especially if you want to dive deeper, doing it manually might not be that efficient and convenient. In this case, go to Serpstat's Keyword research tool, type in your keyword, and you'll get a full list of keywords for your titles, meta tags, text body, etc.
Here's how the Search Suggestions section looks like:

4. Add Sparkle to Your Writing and Turn Boring Content Engaging

See, a blog is an important tool to connect with your audience. It's the most effective way to tell your audience that you understand their problems.

Though, if you come across as those boring professors back in college, nobody is going to read your blog post.

You need to make your writing gleam in the eyes of your readers.

Instead of readers seeing you as the white-collar guy sitting in his office, make them see you as a friend in his casual faded jeans. A person they can crack jokes with to make the conversation lively.

Well, how do you engage readers in writing?

Write for one person. Assume you are writing to your friend sitting next to you on the couch. Don't get trapped in "what others think". As you converse with your friend, do you ever think of what others will say?

Of course not! You are very confident about your opinions. In the same case, an engaging writing style is all about you and your reader. Not a group of readers.

Therefore, begin by addressing your reader as "you". Not "them" or "him/her".

Then make your blog content engaging by getting rid of the passive voice. Passive voice is just… boring.
Instead of saying "Most readers want engaging content, but most of the content on the internet is boring", rewrite it into something like "Do you want to read engaging content? Unfortunately, most of the content on the internet is very boring"
That way you would have made your conversation lively.

Finally, spice your blog post by adding interjections to make your content more casual as well as induce some emotions.

Here are perfect examples in action.

  • I wrote a poem to my girlfriend yesterday and oh boy! She just loved it.

  • All headlines are clickbaits. Ouch! Did I hurt yours also?

5. Employ the Bucket Brigades

Have you ever come across a post and when you are about to leave, there's always something holding you back to read the content?

That's exactly what the bucket brigades do. They are kind of mini cliffhangers that lure your readers to the next sentence and the next, and the next. Before they realize it, they would have read a huge portion of your content.

So, how do you use bucket brigades to write engaging blog content?

Take a look at this example.
This sentence pretty much acts as a bucket brigade. Try adding such curiosity-triggering phrases to keep your readers engaged.

Here are phrases that you can use as bucket brigades.

  • Here's the deal.

  • Here's the truth.

  • What does that mean to you?

  • On the other hand,

  • But wait – there's more.

  • Let's fix this.

6. Make Your Content Easy to Digest

People online don't read, they skim. According to a study by Go-Gulf, on average, a user reads about 20% of the text on a web page. That means if you bury most of your gold deep down in the text, nobody is going to see it.
Go-Gulf​ study on How People Read Content Online
Go-Gulf study on How People Read Content Online (Source)
Would your content have achieved your content marketing goal? Absolutely not! After all, you write that blog post with something in your mind. Maybe you want to educate your readers, entertain them, or gently push them to take action after reading the post.

If you gave them all the information they need on a silver platter, even better.

Before everything else, make sure that your piece is super easy to read. Run away from technical terms. Use short sentences. Break down the wall-like paragraph into 2-3 sentence paragraphs. Lengthy paragraphs trigger fatigue.

Lastly, use visual content. The screenshots, videos, infographics, charts, name them all. Don't hesitate to use pretty much any of them.

7. Break Monotony Through Storytelling

So, you have done everything to stick your visitors to read and engage with your content. But as they sail down in the ocean of words, their skimming speed increases.

You risk losing. It's at any second that they will go for the back arrow. That's because their attention fades as they scroll down.

The good news is you can slow them down. And that's through storytelling.

People love stories. The reason being stories are relatable. They show how experienced you are in the field. They place a virtual arm around a frustrated reader, telling them they are not the first to face that kind of challenge.

For example, say you have a post on how to lose weight. Giving your reader a short story of the challenge you faced as you tried losing weight will make your content credible.

Though, the story shouldn't necessarily be yours. You can share a story of a person who inspired you as well. Provided your story is relevant to the topic that you are talking about. Then make your story short and sweet. That way, you don't want to bore your ever hurrying readers and give them a reason to bounce back to the search results page.

How To Write Better Blog Posts: 12 Experts Share Their Best Tips

8. Use the Content Upgrades to Turn Readers into Leads

Engaging content potentially turns readers into leads. Obviously, you want to grow your prospects list and turn them into buyers.

If people loved your blog post they are pretty much likely to share it and even sign up for your newsletter. But not all of them will interact with your newsletter at the sidebar as they read. For mobile users, quite a small percentage is going to scroll to the bottom of the page to where you've placed your signup form.

The solution – the content upgrades.

A content upgrade is, let me call it a bribe that you use to attract your readers to sign up for your email list, try your product among the rest.

For example, say you have a post on how to guest post. You can offer a content upgrade in the form of a PDF copy of a list of over 600 websites that accept guest posts. It's much easier for that person to sign up to your email list than telling them "Hey, signup for our newsletter and get updated when we publish a new post".

9 Lead Magnet Ideas For Every Stage Of The Buyer's Journey

Finalizing

Writing engaging content is not a joke. It's a problem that even professional content writers struggle with. This is because if people don't interact with your piece, no message would be passed. And if people can't get the purpose to read your article, then your business wouldn't achieve your marketing goals.
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The opinion of the guest post authors may not coincide with the opinion of the Serpstat editorial staff and specialists.

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