What is Engaging Content and How to Create It. Believe me: I understand that creating legitimately engaging content isn’t exactly easy. Define ‘engaging’ Create with intent Make it too valuable Stay creative Lean into your strengths and passions Create action-oriented content Alright, now that that’s out of the way, let’s get started! Define ‘engaging’ To be fair, coming up with a clear definition of engagement as it relates to content marketing is not particularly easy. Understand what your audience needs from you. To put it simply, hoping to stumble into great content is not how you end up with an impressive catalog of memorable content. When you’re creating content for your audience, be their industry friend. From an analytics perspective, trying new styles of content will provide you with more data and a stronger understanding of what your audience responds to. The next time you’re putting a piece of content together, figure out a way to start with a story. You can’t have truly engaging content unless your audience engages with you in some way by the end of it.
I am not a big fan of buzzwords.
Fluff is fluff, no matter how trendy it is.
Throwing around the word ‘engaging’ has almost become a staple of the content marketing industry these days.
Heck, I’m guilty of using it as well.
And at first glance, that seems like it’d be great news.
Brands and business owners are finally starting to understand the shift in consumer culture.
They’re creating content that serves the next generation of audiences, right? Sign me up!
But there’s a big problem with the new status quo.
Forget about the fact that the definition of engagement seems to change depending on who you ask.
What really worries me is that, despite our apparent fixation on engagement, most of us struggle when it comes to consistently creating engaging content that has the potential to go viral.
And I’m not here to throw stones.
Believe me: I understand that creating legitimately engaging content isn’t exactly easy.
That’s why I’ve decided to do something about it.
By the time you’re done reading this article, you’ll have an actionable checklist that you’ll be able to apply to any piece of content you create from now on.
No more guessing.
No more crossing your fingers.
Armed with this step-by-step checklist, you’ll know once and for all if your content is truly engaging.
If you’re struggling with any specific area, feel free to jump ahead and tackle that first.
But you’re absolutely going to want to come back and check every section.
I’m not a huge fan of fluff. Which means that everything here serves a purpose and is a crucial aspect of creating engaging content.
Here’s the checklist for those of you who are interested.
- Define ‘engaging’
- Create with intent
- Make it too valuable
- Stay creative
- Lean into your strengths and passions
- Create action-oriented content
Alright, now that that’s out of the way, let’s get started!
To be fair, coming up with a clear definition of engagement as it relates to content marketing is not particularly easy.
That’s partly because there’s so much information out there already that it’s difficult to separate the relevant definitions from the irrelevant ones.
It’s also because the term has taken on a variety of different meanings during its time in the marketing ecosystem.
Even Facebook’s Insights section doesn’t try to give a definitive answer, and I certainly don’t blame them.
So I’m not going to unravel every definition that’s floating around the Internet. Instead, we’re going to keep things simple, accurate, and straightforward.
For our purposes today, here’s how we’re going to define engaging.
In order to qualify, the content has to trigger a measurable response in people as it relates to your content.
In other words, your content needs to be impactful in some meaningful way to be considered truly engaging.
Are you hoping to get hundreds or even thousands of shares?
Here’s the bad news. In an ocean of content, being memorable to the average consumer is a challenge.
The good news?
With the right approach, you can regularly create content that leaves one heck of an impression.
Create with intent
Engagement is all about how you well you manage to communicate with your audience.
While you may want to jump straight into a conversation with them right away, the more effort you put into the preparation phase, the more likely you are to actually get through to them.
Before your next piece of content, take some time to consider the intent of your content.
You can’t expect to hit a target if you don’t know where it is.
What are you wanting to accomplish with this particular piece of content?
Is it designed to be for entertainment? For education?
What are you hoping to accomplish with your overall marketing strategy?
Are you focused on raising brand awareness? Increasing conversions?
Creating goals is about more than just having a way to measure whether or not your marketing strategy was successful.
Having clearly-defined, actionable goals ensures that your content marketing strategy will improve — one way or another.
Experimentation is the way we improve our marketing strategies, whether it’s with visual media, content marketing, or even SEO.
Have you published content that wasn’t very engaging? No problem. You can rework your understanding of your audience’s needs and try again.
Did you create intensely engaging content? That’s great! Now you can review your goals and determine exactly why your content was so successful.
From there, you slowly start to isolate the key components that translate into engaging content with your particular audience.
And once you’ve done that, it’s only a matter of time before you’re blowing your competition out of the water and creating nothing but impactful content.
Understand what your goals are. Understand what your audience needs from you. But most importantly, understand why you’re creating that next blog post.
To put it simply, hoping to stumble into great content is not how you end up with an impressive catalog of memorable content.
Make it too valuable
Okay, I’m sure that sounds weird. But hear me out!
I know you want to increase your traffic. It’s the reason you’re reading this article, and it’s why you’ll watch the video below.
At this point, I don’t need to tell you that the content you’re making should provide value to your audience.
You’ve heard it all before.
Except I don’t think your content should just offer value.
Because everyone’s offering value these days.
Heck, my Twitter is basically designed to keep you updated 24/7 on how I can offer you value.
Your competition is out there right now, trying to figure out how they can provide more value for the least amount of effort.
And they’re not alone. When it comes to content marketing, you’re typically encouraged to offer as much value as you can with as little cost to you as possible.
But let’s play devil’s advocate for a second.
What would happen if, instead of trying to determine the bare minimum that you could give to your audience, you did the opposite?
What if you created a piece of content that was in-depth, heavily researched, time-intensive, and genuinely valuable to your audience and then just gave it away?
I can already hear the screams of protest.
“I’m running a business! I can’t afford to give away that kind of content!”
And I’m not asking you to. I completely understand that most business owners simply wouldn’t be comfortable doing this.
What I’m really getting at is the concept of leverage. What can you offer people that…