You put a ton of work into producing a piece of content. You labor over it and spend hours making it just perfect. You align the content with your client’s marketing strategy, you optimize it for search engines, you add a touch of visuals here and there, and then you publish it with great expectations and all the excitement it deserves. And then, you wait. But nothing happens. So you wait some more. And still, no likes, no follows, no conversions, no comments, no traffic. And you watch all your efforts go down the drain, and your content die a slow and painful death.
If you have never had this happen to you, pat yourself on the shoulder and consider yourself really lucky or very talented (whichever strikes your fancy). But, if, like most of us, have been there and have shed a tear or two over the content graveyard, then you need to keep reading and take notes.
When a content piece fails, it is usually because your audience does not find your content interactive and engaging enough. Remember, you are competing with an endless pool of content out there, and your content rarely receives more than 10 seconds of attention before the reader decides to move on or stay put. Engage your readers upfront, and you will succeed in keeping them long enough on your piece to actually finish reading it.
Easier said than done, how do you make your content more interactive and engaging?
1. Know Your Audience
It’s not rocket science. If you want to write engaging and interactive content for your audience, you must first know what your audience will find interesting. The only way to do this is to get to know your audience. Research your buyer personas and revisit them often. Buyer personas are never static; they keep changing as the world around us changes. If you have not reviewed your buyer personas since Covid entered our lives and turned everything upside down, maybe it is time you do.
2. Personalize Your Content
Content marketing is all about your audience. What many writers do wrong is trying to do covert advertising and pass it on as content marketing. Whereas your aim is essentially the same, conversion, the approach is different. When you advertise, you commit the error of putting your needs before that of your clients. Your content, however, should be personalized around your audience. And more than that, it should be targeted at a specific segment of your audience. You can’t please everyone at once, so pick the audience that will yield the highest return and personalize your content around their needs.
3. Add Visuals
Quick question. Do you prefer to read a dozen paragraphs or skim through an infographic? Do you prefer to read a detailed description of a place or view a photograph instead? I am willing to bet that, like most people, you like pretty pictures, and when given a choice, you will prefer the pictorial stimuli over the written one. If you prefer to look than reading, then why not your readers as well? So, make your content more engaging by adding visuals. A well-designed infographic, a chart, a picture, even a small video will go a long way towards getting your content liked and shared.
4. Add Interactive Tools
Sure, you are writing for an educated audience of professional adults, but truth be told, we all hide a little kid inside us. Nothing excites this inner child more than interactive content. Convert a blog post into a quiz, or have your readers take a test that will spark their interest. Kick it up a notch and have your audience see how their results compare to that of others (we all like to win, and if you can appeal to this vanity, you have a win-win situation). Put a grin on your audience’s face with a simple interactive tool, make them feel smarter, better, fitter than everybody else, and voila! You have them hooked and ready to spend their precious time on your content.
5. Use Compelling Headlines
Engaging content begins with compelling headlines. To be a successful content writer, you must develop attention-grabbing headlines that will hook your readers and incite their curiosity and interest. To make your content more interactive, use questions as headlines to force your reader to at least implicitly interact with you by formulating an answer to your question in their minds. Headlines also break up your content into smaller pieces making it easier to read and digest.
6. Use Emotion
Engaging content reaches your reader at an emotional level. When you trigger emotional reactions in your readers, you instantly make your content captivating and riveting. People get easily bored, and blunt content that elicits no reaction will quickly be discarded. You can elicit positive or negative emotions. The result is the same. If you make people smile and feel happy when reading your content, they will read some more. If you anger them and appeal to their angst, you bet they will stay put until the negative emotions are resolved.
7. Use Humour
Never underestimate the power of humor. Humour is our last survival tool. Humour makes the unbearable bearable and turns a dull, hard to read content into riveting and engaging. Use smart punchlines, funny similes, quirky metaphors, and don’t be afraid to make fun of yourself. Humour gets you a long way, and it is a compelling method to get your content read, shared, and liked.
Back To You
A failed content piece does not define you as a writer. We have all had our shares of failures. Some of us have a niche for a specific style of writing that may or may not be a perfect match for your client and may or may not appeal to your audience. It’s ok. You can never please everyone. However, you should not rest on your laurels and accept this as a fact. You must keep trying to improve your content by making it more engaging and interactive. What separates good content from excellent content is a willingness to learn and keep trying.