Writing content without engagement is like speaking to an audience that is not interested in your narrative.
Sustainability of your content marketing efforts largely depends on your ability to get the audience to engage with your content –– leave a comment, share it on social media, subscribe to your newsletters, download a digital asset, send an inquiry, and so on.
If your content marketing isn’t yielding any encouraging engagement, you’re not alone. A TrackMaven study in 2015 revealed that the content marketing output rose by 35 percent while engagement dropped by 17 percent. A year later, the Content Marketing Institute conducted a study and found that the effectiveness rate of B2B organizations went down from 38 percent in 2015 to 30 percent in 2016.
When your content gets little or no engagement, you’re unlikely to see any ROI for your content marketing efforts. Ultimately, you will run out of your limited resources and risk becoming an endangered species in the highly competitive business world.
But, I’m not going to let that happen to you. So, here are some smart tactics to help you increase content engagement and boost your content marketing ROI.
Improve Structural Clarity
When your visitors land on your page, they spend a couple of seconds to scan the content and figure out if it’s relevant to them. If your page has a confusing layout, it might deter them from consuming your content. In fact, many would simply click on the back button and leave your site.
Therefore, improving the structural clarity of your website can boost your engagement to a great extent.
Here are a few tips to boost scannability of your content:
- Writing short paragraphs for easy scanning. Don’t hesitate to write one-paragraph sentences whenever necessary. Whenever you do so, try to use emotional words to keep your readers engaged and connected to your narrative.
- Make your content visually relevant and attractive. Be careful of using irrelevant images. Use images that support your statement and narrative. More importantly, optimize your images to boost page speed.
- Use creative heading, subheading and bullet points to offer your content a hierarchy and connect different parts of your story.
Recommended Reading: How to Improve Readability for B2B Audience
Write an Intriguing Introduction
Apart from the structural clarity of your content, and the captivating title of your article, a gripping introduction motivates your readers to read further.
In order for your introduction to capture your reader's attention, it needs to have at least one or more of the following elements:
Use Your First Sentence to Build Curiosity: Does your opening paragraph make the reader curious about a problem? As Joe Sugarman puts it, the purpose of your first sentence is making your readers read the second sentence.
Use Related Humor to Describe Challenges: Many of your visitors land on your content via Google Search, meaning they wanted a solution to their “problem”. However, if your opening paragraph isn’t enticing enough, they wouldn’t be able to make it to the end of your post. How about using “relatable humor” to describe their challenges! This makes them stay engrossed in your narrative while being entertained at the same time.
Use Numbers to Make a Statement: It’s no secret that facts, figures, studies, and stats can boost credibility and authority of your content. Citing your sources and supporting your claims with links to the popular sources make your narrative reasoning while keeping your audience engaged.
Ask a Question or Two (or More)
Using questions (both actual and rhetorical) throughout your story can help keep your reader engaged with your narrative.
The beauty of posing questions in between your paragraphs also breaks the potential monotony your readers are likely to experience. Questions make them think differently and reflect on what they’ve read so far.
Likewise, asking questions at the end of your post creates an opportunity for your audience to think of your narrative critically and be willing to share their thoughts.
Both Brian Dean and Neil Patel have unique skills to use questions to keep their audience engaged. Here’s an example of how Neil Patel has asked a question to build curiosity.
Stir up a Controversy (But, Be Careful)
Back in 2013, author Seth Adam Smith wrote a post on his blog, which received a whopping 30 million views!
The post was entitled “Married Isn’t For You”
The massively popular article was engaging and thought-provoking that it was translated into over twenty languages.
What’s more, it also landed him three book deals!
Well, technically, nobody wants to stir up a controversy on purpose. However, when you question an established practice or challenge a status quo in an industry, and back it up with a powerful argument, it can attract attention from the tribe.
And, that’s exactly what my point is.
Why not analyze your topic from the perspective of brands, people and the ecosystem as a whole!
Earlier this year, André Staltz, a Finnish programmer wrote a blog post entitled “The Web Began Dying in 2014, Here’s How”.
As you can see, the title implies, it’s not a regular topic we read on the Internet. Understandably, it wins him immense tractions and engagement.
Need I say more?
Leave Them with an Impact
A great narrative often takes its audience on an emotional rollercoaster ride and leaves them on a thought-provoking note. As a result, it sets up the mood for conversation and exchange of ideas.
Lack of a fitting conclusion or CTA can deprive you of the engagement your content deserves.
There are various ways to make your conclusion engaging: summarize your story, ask the right questions or invite your readers’ views.
More importantly, be sure to add your call to action as close to the conclusion as possible. If you want to your visitors to subscribe to your newsletters, or share your content, use the widgets close to your conclusion. As a rule of thumb, don’t create too many CTAs around your conclusion. This dilutes the whole purpose of your having a CAT in the first place.
Engagement comes in many shapes and sizes. While some content marketers aim for increasing social media tractions, others focus on pageviews. The bottom line is engagement metrics should be closely tied to your sales funnel and ROI.
When you plan to write your next article, ponder over the points I’ve shared with you, and make a blueprint for your blog post.
What tricks do you use to improve your content optimization? Let me know your thoughts.
About the Author
Susanta Sahoo is founder and chief content marketing strategist at Top League Technologies, a digital marketing start-up in Bhubaneswar, India. By offering SEO consulting services, he helps SMB’s build their online presence and boost ROI. Follow him on Twitter: .