With such a wealth of information at our fingertips in various forms from the web, it is becoming so essential to ensure that the web content you create thoroughly engages the attention of your intended audience and stands out from the crowd.
THINK ABOUT YOUR OWN EXPERIENCE WHILST ON THE INTERNET.
What makes you engage with a particular piece of content above others vying for your attention?
What is it that maintains that engagement? Or, conversely, what causes you to lose interest and click away?
What aspects of the content encourage you to share it with others?
If you’re searching for something online, what encourages you to click through to one result above another?
With no shortage of competing content out there, all pleading for our time and attention, you have to ensure your own content engages your intended audience which by the way is no mean feat. But with a few key elements in mind, it can be achievable.
So what helps create such engaging content?
What ensures a piece of content not only grabs your attention in the first place, but holds it and makes an imprint on your mind?
A survey was carried out recently on a group of people interested in content marketing and based on the answers received, the following list represents what may be considered to be the nine essential elements of engaging, attention-grabbing content.
1: AN ATTENTION-GRABBING TITLE
Whether your content is an article, a blog post or a video, the title plays an absolutely fundamental role. Your title needs to both ensure your content stands out from the crowd, and appeals to your intended audience.
Your title should be;
- Specific: what exactly does the content offer?
- Intriguing: how can you rouse the curiosity of those you are hoping to attract, so they’re almost compelled to click through?
- Offer a solution: where there’s a problem, there’s a desire or need for a solution — how can your title tap into that?
2: DELIVER ON ITS PROMISE
Have you ever clicked through to a website or blog only to find it doesn’t provide what you thought it would?
Once you’ve engaged someone’s attention in the first place, you then need to maintain their attention in order for the content to ultimately benefit.
The goal here is for someone to visit your website, share the content with others, link up with you on social media, as well as generally raise the online profile of you and your business.
If someone is clicking through to your content from Google, and then rapidly clicking back to the search engine results to click through somewhere else, it tells Google something about how to rank your content. If your content is not delivering what their search users are looking for, its rank will deteriorate. On the other hand, if your content grabs their attention and holds it, it will help your content to rank higher.
3: MEETS A NEED
Your content largely exists for one reason only — to grab the attention of potential prospects for your business.Your content must therefore meet a need that audience has in order to grab their attention and engage with them.
What are the needs of your marketplace?
What problems are they facing?
What questions frequently arise?
What are they looking for assistance with, or information about?
There are various ways to find out, such as direct feedback from existing customers and prospects, social media, forums, industry publications, and so on.
People like to connect with people like themselves. Show through your content that you are a real person just like them, with real thoughts, opinions, feelings, and ideas. Ok, you may turn some people away, but try to please everyone and you end up pleasing no-one. Instead, be authentic and open, and you’ll attract an audience who will resonate strongly with you, engage effectively with your content, and be very responsive because of the connection you have with them.
A SMALLER BUT RESPONSIVE AUDIENCE IS FAR MORE VALUABLE THAN A LARGER BUT INDIFFERENT ONE.
Offer A Unique Perspective. If your content is simply a rehashed version of similar content elsewhere, it’s not going to grab anyone’s attention or stand out from the crowd.Instead, offer them the benefit of your own unique knowledge and experience,thoughts and expressions and put your own unique stamp on your content.
6: IMPROVE LIVES
OK, it’s not quite in the same league as discovering a cure for cancer or eradicating poverty, but none-the-less your content should aim to improve the lives of your audience. By helping others through your content, you make your content memorable for them. They will also remember you, and more readily connect with you, whether by signing up to your e-mail list, connecting over social media, or looking out for your content in future and referring you to others.
By making your audience think, even if they don’t always agree with you, you’ll engage more easily with them, stick in their minds for longer and raise your profile. Don’t be afraid to challenge your audience or go against the grain: controversy sells.
8: FLOWS EASILY
Unless your content flows well, people will rapidly disengage and click away. Take time to carefully review every piece of content, or have someone else go through it for you and highlight any sticking points or parts they don’t understand. You’ll be surprised what you can improve by leaving your content for a few days after creating it, and then carefully reviewing it.
Ensure you are using correct spelling and grammar. Basic spelling mistakes, typos and poor use of English reflects badly on you and gives a poor impression.
Use effective formatting, such as bullet points, and short paragraphs for easy online reading.Ensure you use language your intended audience will understand. Avoid the use of jargon that is only like to alienate those you are hoping to attract.
9: ENGAGE EMOTIONALLY
Various studies have shown that emotions are key drivers for human activity. That includes choosing whether to engage with or disengage from your content, and whether or not to share your content with others. Often such decisions are entirely subconscious.
Content that becomes viral nearly always makes some key emotional connection with its audience.Speed is also important, and is one reason why images are so prolific on social media and generally have higher levels of viral activity than other types of content.
Try to engage emotionally with your audience within the first few seconds of them finding your content, and you’ll both hold their attention for longer and increase the benefits your content delivers for your business.
It won’t always be possible to incorporate all these elements into every piece of content you create. But by trying to incorporate as many as possible, you will undoubtedly create more engaging, attention-grabbing content, and improve the results you achieve from your content marketing activities.