Set Course: Engage! Building an Audience with Engaging Content

bigstock-Group-of-people-in-D-glasses-82238132-1024x910Forget your metrics, forget your revenue streams, and forget your corporate goals.

Before any other aspect of your marketing becomes relevant, your content has to be engaging.

Knowing how to engage your readers can be challenging, though. The constant stream of advertisements coming from the television, Internet, and radio have made your audience accustomed to tuning out content they don’t want to see.

Fortunately, your content doesn’t need to fall into that category.


1. Marketing Yourself

A recent study by the Content Marketing Institute showed that in 2014, business-to-consumer marketers believed so strongly in the value of content marketing that 86 percent of organizations utilized it in some form.

Content marketing is all about creating and distributing material that provides value to your readers. It should be interesting, engaging, and make them want to come back for more. Your goal isn’t just to sell a product; it’s to create a meaningful relationship with your market, educate them with your content, and address their concerns in a helpful way. Once you’ve established an audience of engaged viewers, it’s only a few small steps to generating subscribers and monetizing your content.

So how can we build content that reaches a critical mass of engagement?


2. Knowing Their Journey

Engagement starts with relevancy. Customize your material to each stage of your customer’s journey through your marketing cycle. This funnel may take different forms depending on your industry, but the fundamentals are the same:

  • Entry-level content should be designed to inspire and promote interest in your industry. Your goal here is to nurture your relationship with your customer without “selling” too hard.
  • As they progress further down the funnel, your content can be more specifically targeted to address pain points and audience needs that arise. Provide more in-depth information to demonstrate that a long lasting relationship with your brand can provide them value they can’t find anywhere else.
  • With your customer relationship growing, you can begin priming them with content and offers that will deliver continuing value in the form of email subscriptions or downloadable content. Increased customer retention through subscriptions was one of your goals from the beginning—you just had to get your customers to the same level of enthusiasm as you.

3. Your Content Marketing Foundation

Engaging content relies on a simple idea—if you want your readers to be excited about it, you need to be excited about it.

Choose your content based on what knowledge you have and what you’re passionate about. Once you’ve determined your area of expertise, you’ll need to put an original spin on it to set yourself apart from your competition. There are millions of blogs out there, and if you want your content to generate buzz, you’ll have to offer up something that users can’t find elsewhere.


The impact of blogging on inbound ROI, as found by HubSpot.

Once you’ve established your uniquely-spun content brand, create a “content base” to serve as the primary generator for your material. This is a framework involving a consistent platform, delivery time, and posting schedule to provide a steady flow of value-driving information to your readers. This will form the foundation for your content marketing strategy. Don’t neglect this step—Hubspot’s 2014 Inbound Marketing report showed that marketers who prioritized blogging were13 times more likely to see a positive ROI.

4. Distribution

But as many struggling content marketers and Youtube artists can verify, simply having content isn’t enough. You need to find ways to deliver your content to your growing audience:

  • Utilize social media outreach, particularly for younger populations.
  • Do research on SEO—including long-tail keywords, tags, and appropriate headings to help you rank well in search.
  • Encourage sharing, comments, and reviews of your online content or services.

Each distribution channel will offer specific kinds of outreach to further your message. Assess your organization’s needs to determine which channels will reach the most viewers and which are best at delivering your message.

5. All Eyes on You

Original content encourages engagement. Engagement drives your readership. Your readership powers the success of your content marketing.

If you want to get more eyes on your material, make sure you’re providing original, steady content from an established marketing base. It may take some time for your efforts to show the engagement impact you want to see, but once your viewership increases, the benefits to your customer retention and subscription rates will be hard to ignore.

How else have you created content to maximize its engagement value? Tell us about it in the comments below!

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