Read this now! – A guide to writing engaging content in 5 steps
Krista Sylvester - Writer
Some call it an art, some call it a science – and you know what, it’s a bit of both.
There’s no magic bullet to writing engaging content but there are definitely ways to spruce up your copy that makes people want to read it.
People today are inundated with content; content in their emails, content on their social media feeds, content in advertising, content on their phones – content, content, content. But are they reading it? It’s important for your brand to create compelling content that inspires people to read it and if you do it right, they won’t only read it but they will share it, too.
There are dozens of tips out there that provide useful tools to writing engaging material but there are five that should be at the top of your list when it comes to your content.
It all starts with the headline – Sure, a good headline might catch their attention but a great headline will keep it. According to the copywriting website copyblogger, 80 per cent of people will only read a headline before moving on. That means only 20 per cent of people will give the rest of the content a chance. The headline should be concise and provide insight into your story. Sometimes it’s useful to provide urgency. For example, something intriguing like “This New Advertising Secret Is Changing The Game” makes people want to know what the secret is and how it can help them. Audiences welcome useful information that will provide them with a positive outcome and you should be the one to deliver it.
Tell a story – Storytelling is a useful way of connecting with your audience while engaging with them on an emotional level. It creates the compelling “what next” factor that resonates with an audience. Telling a story about how you started your business and how it grew to become successful or telling a story about a specific employee helps your clients connect with you on another level that humanizes your business. Whether you weave your storytelling into the fabric of the content or start with an anecdotal story, you will connect with your readers on a deeper level and keep their interest.
Use visuals – This is the icing on the cake! Whenever you can, it’s encouraged to use visuals including pictures, stock images, graphs, charts and more. Not only do visuals break up the content and make it easier to read, but it helps the audience visualize the information. According to HubSpot, when people hear information, they usually only remember 10 per cent of that information three days later. However, they add, “if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65 per cent of the information three days later.” That’s a stark contrast and one worth striving for.
Break up your paragraphs – Much like the above, it’s important to break up the copy into different sections so it doesn’t look too dense. Write in short paragraphs, add numbered lists, use sub headlines and don’t be afraid to break some rules. Italics, underlines,
strikethroughs and bold print don’t hurt either and provides a nice visual for the audience. Break up your paragraphs and give them a breather!
Provide value – If you can provide a service, useful tips or information to your clients’ without trying to sell them on anything, you’ll earn their trust. It starts with knowing who your audience is and what makes them tick. What do they care about? What problems can your content help solve? What will your audience share with their peers? You don’t want to create boring, unoriginal content that doesn’t provide value. For example, if you are a homebuilding company, you could create story topics that revolve around things people often want to learn more and that can range anywhere from home renovations to mortgage tips to what to look for in a new home.
Trying to incorporate these five steps into your content strategy can make an immediate impact. Start practising by writing witty headlines that don’t start with “the” or “a” and go from there. Once you go from “good” to “great” content, you’ll know it because people will share your content, and then share it some more.