How to Write Engaging Content: 8 Actionable Tips
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.
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?
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.
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1. Hook Your Readers Right Off the Bat
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.
While creating a blog post introduction, consider these three things; the opening sentence, the problem, and the transitioning.
For example, your opening sentence can be:
- controversial to trigger curiosity:
- a cliffhanger sentence:
- or even a question:
The purpose of the opening sentence is to lead your readers to the next sentence of your introduction.
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.
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.
2. Use Data to Make Your Content Engaging
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.
Here's what he does:
He contacts over 500 bloggers to share their guest post-experience.
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
That's keeping a balance between the readers and the search engine bots. Like a beam balance.
If you are just getting started with SEO content writing, balancing these two variables can be tough.
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.
Here's how the Search Suggestions section looks like:
4. Add Sparkle to Your Writing and Turn Boring Content Engaging
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
8. Use the Content Upgrades to Turn Readers into Leads
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".
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