Has this ever happened to you?
Standing in the hallway, I was wholly engrossed in my phone, oblivious to the world around me, I kept on reading this blog on my favorite marketing website. And I didn’t look up once, not until I finished reading the entire blog. Yep, the whole thing! While one part of my brain was marveling at its flawless, captivating style, the other half was loathing myself for being unable to create engaging content like that.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if I could miraculously create content that magically pulls customers to my brand? Unfortunately, it seems that I’m not even at the level one of the engagement game.
Other questions flirting my mind at the moment were:
Why do I suck at creating engaging content, even when I put a ton of effort into every piece?
What secret magic potion do these digital-marketing-artisans have that I don’t?
Will I stay stuck here forever?
If you’ve had the same thoughts, welcome aboard.
There are many people entangled in similar notions of self-doubt. So, go easy on yourself. According to s research by Content Marketing Institute, 54% of B2B marketers find it hard to produce engaging content. (So, do you. That’s precisely why you are here.)
Yes, it’s common for B2B marketers to feel like their brands are being overshadowed by others, especially when you’re competing with giants that have a bigger advertisement and marketing budgets than yours. Although it may seem challenging to create mesmerizing content at times, it isn’t impossible.
But let’s get one thing straight. I’m do not shy away from a challenge. And neither should you!
Status: Challenge accepted!
I’m here to rescue you today. In this comprehensive guide, you’ll find the answers to all your content engagement dilemmas, and that means knowing how to create the most engaging content so that it delivers results for your business.
It’s time to get started and untie the first knot…
Just in case you’re having some doubts, here’s the push that will kickstart your motivation.
Why do I need to focus on producing engaging content?
B2B marketers typically focus on SEO-optimized content to ensure high visibility in search engines. However, this is only half the battle.
Brands are aware that to remain profitable, they need to drive more traffic to their websites. If your target audience doesn’t find value in your content or take action on the website, your hard work will be wasted.
Engagement is what leads to higher conversion rates, which then equates to more sales and revenue. But the harsh reality is that, according to Gallup, only 29% of B2B customers are fully engaged.
Let me put it this way to drive the point home. 71% of your customers are not entirely interested in your company. Shocking isn’t it.
The scarier part is that these customers, at this very moment, maybe actively seeking out other businesses. And you could be losing potential clients to your competition.
This is a wakeup call for you.
You need to do something NOW. It’s time to win them back and keep them hooked. Hence, get down to the business and put all your efforts into generating engaging content.
Define ‘engaging’ please
Anyone can produce content. However, if it’s not engaging your target audience, then it is of no use. If readers don’t consume and retain the information, you’re wasting time, money, and resources.
The problem is that the definition of engagement changes depending on who you ask. I found that the Search Engine Journal offers the best explanation:
“Engaging content is content that entices people to take some action, however broadly defined.”
For most B2B businesses, it’s all about getting the right results. It means any action that will guide your potential customer towards a conversion. According to zoominfo.com, 63% of marketers agree that customer engagement includes repeat purchases, renewals, and retention.
The question now is: ‘Is your content engaging?’
Your goal should be to turn passive readers into excited customers that are ready to take action.
It begins with knowing which KPIs are crucial to monitor and measure engagement. An increase in any of the following could be a sign that you are on the right track:
- social shares
But you know it doesn’t stop here. There are tons of other ways to tell how potent your content marketing ideas are. Moreover, there are various areas where you can increase engagement, whether it’s on social media or through email.
And remember, every business is unique. So what’s a good indicator for one company may not be ideal for another.
What makes a content ‘engaging?’
OK. Let’s be honest; all of us want to learn how to create engaging content. So, let’s get to the juicy part – learning best practices of content creation.
1. Create a content outline
Without a plan, you’re not going to get anywhere. According to Convero.com, over 50% of companies don’t have a customer engagement program, and 60% didn’t know how many customers were lost in the past year.
Knowing what you want to achieve at the end of the day helps keep your team members stay focused. But more importantly, you need well-thought-out, organized content that guides readers towards the intended action. The last thing you want is to confuse them or steer off-topic.
To ensure you stay on track, think about the following:
- What value is your audience expecting to find?
- What questions/topics do you intend to cover?
2. Select the right topic
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but if the topic you choose isn’t aligned with your target audience, you’re setting up for a disaster. You need to craft content that they will stick around to read and engage with.
Having difficulty finding ideas that readers will find irresistible? No problem. Hit the social platforms and discussion forums to see what your readers are asking about on those platforms. Their queries will give you content ideas.
You can also use tools like Filament and BuzzSumo to explore new content ideas. Moreover, they can offer deep insights into metrics that matter, such as bounce rate, time spent on a page, scroll length, and much more.
3. Know your audience
Read this on every marketing guide? Well, that’s probably one of the most important ways to align your brand with your customers.
You should be clear about who are you pitching your content? Since B2B marketing targets people working within businesses, you need to create a buyer persona of people who will be reading your content and using it to make business decisions.
Understanding their needs, pain points, and problems will help you address them head-on. 72% of marketers say content marketing increases engagement if you are armed with the right information.
4. Divide and conquer
Delivering world-class content for everyone may drive traffic, but will it get you enough conversions to remain competitive? Probably not.
42% of marketers don’t use the power of segmentation, says higherlogic.com.
Segmenting your target audience and personalizing your approach can keep readers interested. For instance, sending a newsletter with industry updates tailored for the recipient can improve engagement.
Research shows an email campaign personalized according to interests can experience up to 10% higher open rates. You can also segment based on geographic location, jobs, and roles.
5. Dazzle from a distance
About 80% of readers only skim online content before diving in deeper.
According to thoroughline.com, you have a mere 7 seconds to make a killer first impression. To boost the scannability, use aspects that instantly engage a reader such as:
- A catchy headline. According to Ted Nicholas, 73% of buying decisions are made from the title.
- Text that is easy to consume, i.e., short paragraphs, bullet points, font size, subheadings, bolding, etc
- Attractive visual content (more on this in a moment)
- Designing a layout where long content is broken up with visuals
6. Lure readers in
Here is the good news: once you can snag the reader’s attention, you have their attention for the next 7 to 10 minutes. So make the most of it.
Instead of diving straight into the topic, set the stage with your intro. Mention the main points that you intend to discuss. It allows your readers to gauge whether the content aligns with their likings.
7. Keep them hooked
If you want readers to read your content from A to Z, then you must know how to write engaging content. So it’s time to bring your A-game and pump up your content writing skills.
Neil Patel advises to visualize one person as the “targeted reader” and write content as if this one person is reading it. It helps to add a personal touch, making the content more engaging.
Sure, blogs with tons of information and useful tips are invaluable. Hubspot reports that blog content creation is a top priority for 53% of marketers. A variety of techniques can help keep readers more engaged. Consider using:
- Humor and entertainment
- Conversational style
- Ask questions to jumpstart the thought process so that they continue reading
- Use bucket brigades to invoke storytelling and hold the attention
- Add examples or case studies to demonstrate what you’re talking about and build trust
- Encourage readers to leave comments at the end of a blog post so that they are tempted to come back to your site to look at replies
But what’s important is ‘readability.’ I’ve read countless blogs that are too hard to comprehend. They’ve made me run the other direction and never look back.
So if you think using difficult words will make you sound like a professional, think again. Try using a writing style appropriate for the general audience (an 8th-grade reading level), even if you aim to reach out to B2B companies.
8. Make it visual
Admit it; you like looking at pictures more than reading text. We all do! So it’s no surprise that by merely incorporating visuals, you can make your content more engaging.
The list of visual content is endless, including photos, infographics, slideshares, video walkthroughs, annotated images, memes, GIFs, etc. So make sure you create a healthy mix of visual content to ensure you reach more users and increase engagement on all platforms.
Brands are using several creative ways to create engaging content. Some of these methods are:
- YouTube videos
72% of B2B marketers already use video content. According to Optinmonster, the latest trends show that 48% of marketers are making YouTube videos a priority. Brands are creating tutorials, review videos, and Q&A sessions to boost engagement. And because they are shareable on other social platforms, video content brings in a ton of likes and comments.
Displaying statistics and research findings in picture format not only makes it easier to digest the information but also increases engagement. OKDork states that infographics are the most shared type of content.
- Interactive content
A simple way to improve engagement is to convert your blog into a quiz or poll. In a survey conducted by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), 81% of respondents said that interactive content is more effective than static content in capturing consumers’ attention.
Statista claims that 40% of Americans listen to podcasts. As a B2B marketer, here’s your opportunity to provide unique ways of improving engagement
9. Build a social community
I’ve fallen in love with Twitter’s shareable quotes. With a mere click, I can share content with hundreds of people, driving social shares and expanding the reach of my content.
Where would any brand be without social media, I wonder?
Take advantage of this and incorporate social share buttons to increase engagement exponentially. So make sure to include icons of top drivers of traffic and engagement such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
Most of us struggle with creating engaging content. You want something that will blow your readers away. But to be memorable, you need to step out of your comfort zone. Get ready to pack some extra punch into your content.
Now that you have your hands on the secret sauce, you’ll find it easier to transform the ordinary content into an extraordinary one.
At the end of the day, consistently producing engaging content is what matters.
But let’s leave this topic for another day, shall we?
Status: Challenge completed.
Over to you:
If you have anything to add on how to make content engaging, I’d love to hear about them. Share your thoughts below in the comments section.