Whether you are working on your personal blog or writing for a business, non-engaging content is a massive spot of bother.
Imagine uploading a picture on Instagram and getting no likes or comments for over 24 hours.
You will end up refreshing the notifications page all day to make sure the app is not glitchy…again.
As writers, we’ve all experienced that ‘WTF’ feeling when you write a kick-ass article that garners no engagement whatsoever.
What is happening? Why are people not reacting to this fantastic post?
The honest answer is that the nature of content writing and marketing is constantly changing. Those tricks that used to work in the past might not be the best options today.
So, let’s go through the most useful tips to improve your content creation and marketing strategies.
Prioritize quality over quantity
Quality should always drive your content creation strategy. Any post or article, no matter the size, should provide unmatched quality to the users.
Don’t mind the current speculations about Google’s preference for long-form content. If readers find your content interesting, your site’s traffic and subsequent ranking will increase.
Instead of filling your content with ‘air’ to meet some word count or keyword specification, write what makes sense.
Instead of stuffing your posts with keywords, conduct extensive research to gather valuable information.
Offer fact-based content
Adding links to authoritative sources makes your content more appealing. In this era of alternative facts, readers want to get information from reliable sources.
Let’s say that you are writing a health-related article; a link to the official WHO website bears more value than any random website.
Besides, Google’s ranking algorithms use crawlers to verify the links in your post. Subsequently, the credibility of these sources improves your site’s overall index.
Most importantly, back up every ‘arguable’ fact with evidence. Include links to statistics and infographics in your content.
By doing so, the reader will trust your website or blog as a reliable source of information.
Get to know your audience
Every writer makes this mistake at first: we try to impress everybody at the same time.
This follows the shotgun principle — try everything until something sticks. Although this content marketing strategy works for some companies, it is wasteful in general.
Why spend time and resources on people that don’t care about you?
Instead of using a broad content strategy, narrow down the approach with the sniper principle. Find out the most relevant topics for your audience using the following fact-finding techniques:
- Questionnaires and surveys
- Comments and suggestions
- Data from Google Analytics
- Top search terms
- Best performing content
- Trending topics
When you combine these factors, you will develop an overall reader profile and streamline the content to that figurative person.
Study the competition and outperform them
Competitor research is another overused term in content creation.
In my experience, most marketers analyze the competition just to mirror their strategy. They simply copy the same content structure and keyword cluster.
This technique is for losers. Start thinking like a winner.
The famous Michael Jordan stays ahead of the competition by ensuring that he is the last person to leave the gym after practice. If his rival is shooting 50 free throws after practice, he will take 100 extra shots.
Use this Jordan Mentality when analyzing your competition.
For instance, if their post offers 10 tips, provide 15. If their content strategy involves only text, add some media content into the mix.
Put in that extra effort to stand out, and you will see the results soon enough.
Keep your content fresh
A content’s life cycle never ends unless you delete it from your website. As long as the post is on your site, you can always update it.
Google often changes ranking criteria. So, you should read these new guidelines regularly to discover avenues to improve existing content.
Use analytical tools like Ahrefs to monitor the content’s performance — engagement, ranking, and conversion. The data will suggest the necessary changes to make the post rank higher and generate more traffic.
So, you should have at least one evergreen content on your page that you can update regularly. Some examples of evergreen content include:
- Tutorials (How-Tos)
- User guides
- Tips and tricks
- Industry secrets (advice)
Also, add new images and metadata to the content and publish them on new platforms.
Add visual content
Images, videos, animations, and infographics make your content more engaging. No matter how elite your writing skills are, visuals convey more information to the reader.
Besides, you can compress a 500-word piece into a short video clip or use a few illustrations to make the text digestible.
So, instead of posting only long, boring blocks of text, use graphics and visual cues to spice up the reading experience.
Stock photos and funny animations always add that x-factor to your content.
And by the way, videos and images are good for SEO since you can insert metadata and add a link to the written content.
Structure your content
Long lines of texts and paragraphs make the text too ‘academic’ and difficult to read.
Don’t bore the readers with this stoic structure.
Make the content scannable. Break the text into parts and use headlines to separate each segment.
Also, use numbered or bulleted lists to outline important points instead of writing them in one horizontal block.
Most importantly, don’t forget to introduce and conclude the topic. Use clear sentences to provide background information from the onset.
Use a catchy headline
Headlines are vital in your content strategy because they create a lasting first impression. An excellent headline draws in the reader, while a lackluster headline pushes them away.
Imagine going to a record store to buy a record, and the title just says ‘An Album’ without any additional information.
Will you spend your dime on that potential masterpiece?
Absolutely not! If they don’t care enough to work on a catchy title, the album is probably wack anyway.
So, if you want people to read your posts and articles, spend enough time on a catchy headline that highlights the article’s central message.
You can always use online headline analyzers to find out the score of your headline.
Stop flexing your vocab muscles
It might surprise you, but most people are not reading your content because it “contains too many big words”.
Yes, that’s a real thing. The average reader wants to go through an article as fast as possible without using a dictionary.
Besides, nobody wants to read an article that makes them feel out of the loop.
So, save your amazing words for your Scrabble club.
In real life, big words are just annoying. And people who use them are showoffs — no one likes them.
If you can say what you mean using simple expressions, go for it.
Use relatable examples in your content
Consumer-focused content writing and creation works when you understand your audience better. Your strategy will now focus on a specific group instead of everybody.
And through user engagement, you can gather more consumer-specific information for your written content.
So, come up with examples to which every user can relate. Tell a funny story about a popular current event making the rounds online.
Besides, you can also provide behind-the-scenes content and blooper videos for your audience. This type of content adds the human factor to your business and website.
Get more readers through social media
It is okay to be unsatisfied with the size of your audience. Always embrace every opportunity to reach a wider audience. After all, more brand exposure means more revenue.
Use platforms like Quora and Medium to promote your content. Facebook and Instagram are also great for creating awareness because they have business management portals. At the same time, you can use Twitter to preview new posts and notify readers about recent additions.
Creating outstanding content requires proper insights and constant updates. Use analytical tools to spot avenues for improvement.
Focus on knowing your audience better and providing better quality content for them. Also, study the competition and outdo them in every aspect.
Try to keep the content fresh. Use graphics and media content to improve readability. Don’t forget to make your headlines engaging.
Ultimately, keep it simple and share your content with a broader audience tailored to your demographics.
Who wrote this?
As the owner and editor of SomebodySays, Ugo Ezenduka shows readers the fundamentals of content writing and blogging to help them adapt to the ever-changing landscape.
He has collaborated with several IT and publishing companies to create articles and blog posts that customers crave. When he is not in front of a screen, Ugo can be spotted somewhere with a camera or on a football pitch.