Don't Just Create Content; Create Content That Engages Your Audience
By Wendy Jacobson, Owner of Incredible Content
It’s one thing to create content, but it’s another to engage your audience altogether. And, if you’re not engaging your audience by educating or entertaining them, then what’s the point of creating content in the first place?
The answer is, there isn’t one.
You don’t want to create content for content’s sake, but that’s what happens if you fail to engage your audience.
So how do you ensure your content compels the reader to want to invest their time in consuming what you have to say?
You have to capture them.
Maybe you’ve heard it said that the average human has the attention span of a goldfish, which is eight seconds. Couple that with the massive amount of messages being thrown at us on any given day, and you quickly realize the challenge in gaining the attention of your audience.
But fear not; the challenge is not insurmountable. You can reel in your audience and keep them engaged by following a few content rules:
Know your audience – When you know your audience, you not only understand their challenges, but also you understand how they talk, the words and phrases they use and what resonates with them. In addition, you know where they consume their content, be it specific social media platforms, trade publications, blogs etc., and can meet them where they are.
Write to one person – Who is the person you want to help the most? Where are they when you sit down to write, and what is their biggest challenge you’re hoping to help them overcome, now or at some point in the future? How does that challenge impact that person, and what would its resolution mean to them? Get that person in your mind as you create your content and write to them and them only.
Tell a story – As mentioned, the goal of your content is to engage your reader and storytelling is one of the most powerful ways to do so. Not only have humans been communicating via stories for thousands of years, but science also tells us that our brains release chemicals when we watch, read or listen to a story that makes it seem as if we are experiencing it ourselves. This helps us better relate to the characters within the story and appreciate the outcome. Telling a story about how you helped a customer with a similar challenge as your target audience, for example, is an effective way to demonstrate your value in an objective and relatable way.
Use “you” – Try to avoid writing in the third person and instead write in the second. By using “you” rather than “their” you make your content more personal. It speaks even more clearly to your target audience.
Dare to be different – Let’s face it; a lot of the content out there says the same thing in different formats. After all, there are only so many ways to skin a cat. But that doesn’t mean your content has to blend in with everyone else’s. Use your content as a vehicle to stand out from the crowd by sharing thoughts or ideas that are a bit different. For instance, if you disagree with an industry standard, explain why in a blog post. If you think you know the second-most common issue your customers experience, tell them so in a social media. Rather than share a story about how you helped a customer, share one about how you couldn’t help a customer and why. By shaking things up with your content, you give your audience a different perspective as well as a reason to remember you.
Creating content isn’t difficult. Creating content that draws your reader in and keeps them engaged is the challenge. If you put these tips to use, you will overcome that challenge and create an engaged audience that can’t wait to see what you have to say next.
About the Author
Wendy Jacobson is a content writer and strategist with more than 25 years’ experience in the business world. For the past 13 years, she has worked as an independent contractor, helping businesses plan, craft and distribute their content.
Her company name, Incredible Content speaks specifically to how she views content: as a vehicle for businesses to build and maintain their credibility. Over the years, Wendy has helped businesses in the healthcare, wellness, food, and technology industries foster their credibility via content such as articles, emails, web content and case studies.
Wendy has always loved to write and has a BA in History and English from The George Washington University. She lives in Minneapolis and when not working, she enjoys spending time with her husband, two teenage kids and dog. She also likes to jump rope, bike, hike or do just about anything outside.