Want to Create Engaging Content? Tell a Good Story
You don't have to be older to tell a good yarn.
A good story has the power to bring people together, to change opinions and to spark conversations. Whether in the form of a tweet or a blog post, the content that your company peddles can have a huge impact on how people engage with your brand.
But so much content from businesses -- both new and more established -- winds up boring and lifeless. While you don't necessarily need to have lived through World War II to tell a tall tale -- let alone, produce content that resonates with customers -- you do need to do know your audience and be authentic.
As a long-time journalist, I've picked up some handy tips that I keep in my writing toolbox. Here are four:
- Know your audience. The most crucial ingredient to creating engaging content is to first know who you're talking to. Where is your audience located? Are they primarily male or female? Older or younger? Younger and older generations engage with content in very different ways. While a young person may tweet about it, older people may use email primarily. And depending on your audience's location, news about certain areas may be more attractive.
- Determine the right content. Consider topics that your audience wants to know about -- even if they don't know it yet. Interior-design enthusiasts, for instance, would likely also care about architecture if it's local enough. Budget fashionistas will want to keep an eye on the Oscars and other red-carpet events, in addition to sales and retail news. To better pinpoint your audience's proclivities, check out their influencers by seeing who else they follow and "like" on Twitter and Facebook.And as far as actual types of content go, stick to the following three principles:
- Timeliness: Nobody wants to see outdated content. You're more likely to get comments, likes and retweets if your content is relevant to something that is currently happening in the world.
- Controversy: Will you discuss controversial topics? While this can turn some readers off, it can also spark a lot of engaging conversation and debate.
- Format: Pick the right content format for the right outlet. Obviously, a concise, pithy thought is best for Twitter. But offering up tantalizing product images is appropriate for Pinterest.
- Be yourself. Authenticity can't be overstated. If you're sassy and clever, your voice should reflect that. As far as your brand goes, spend some time thinking about how your company's tone and "voice" should sound. Should it be authoritative or serious? Or comical and lighthearted? To help you decide, consider your target audience and then pick what would best appeal to them.
- Create a distribution schedule. We've all "unliked" or "unfollowed" people and companies on social media and "unsubscribed" from email newsletters simply because they post too much too often and clog our feeds and inboxes. You don't want your fans and followers to feel overwhelmed, so plan your distribution calendar to balance the level of engagement and size of your community.
What are your best tips for creating engaging content? Let us know in the comments section.