Let’s face it: nobody likes boring content. If I don’t grab your attention now, there’s a chance you’ll click off the content. That’s the power of content engagement, or the lack thereof, as you might say.
Low interaction across web pages is a problem common to many businesses. You put time and energy into developing “top-shelf content,” but your audience is just not where you want them to be. But don’t despair; there’s an art to crafting engaging content you need to generate conversions. You’ll learn some of those secrets in this post.
1. Personalize Content for Your Target Audience
You need a deep understanding of your target audience before you can create a content strategy. Your target audience should ideally be your potential customers. The ultimate goal of your content, after all, is to engage and get them to pay for your services or products ultimately. It wouldn’t make sense to create content for people who are not interested in your services or products in the first place.
Customer personas, also called buyer personas, are partially fictional archetypes that illustrate the critical attributes of your target audience. This includes pain points, drivers, interests, and more to help you form a deeper understanding of your potential buyers.
You’ll need to collect user data from web analytics, interviews, surveys, and user research to create your customer persona. A great way to start identifying the background, demographics, and demeanor of your customers is by analyzing the user-generated content (UGC) they produce. Practice social listening by monitoring what your customers already post about your brand and get to know your most passionate fans.
Check out this example from Old Navy. A look at the site’s UGC gallery page shows the brand has different content categories targeting subgroups within their larger target audience. This also shows site visitors a diverse range of customers, so they can more easily identify who they relate to through authentic content.
You can see that Old Navy has taken the time to investigate and define its audience. That work will help with product development and marketing efforts.
2. Optimize for Interactive Content
Interactive content like Instagram polls, asking questions in your social media captions, and hosting live streams are great ways to engage with your audience. Over 80% of marketers say interactive content helps grab the attention of their audience. You can use different types of interactive content depending on your marketing objective, the campaign, and your target audience. A prime example of interactive content is hosting a social media contest. Encourage fans to share their experiences, or even photos with your products specifically. Check out our definitive guide to running a social media contest for ideas on incentive and ways to launch your campaign — because it doesn’t have to be expensive!
Jones Soda runs an ongoing label contest on-site, and offers participants the chance to have their photo used on one of the brand’s physical soda bottle labels. This is a brand-specific and unique way to create buzz within the company’s target audience.
The ever-pressing need for measurable results makes engagement tracking through interactive content even more valuable today. With well-planned and expertly crafted interactive content, you can help identify potential conversion points and encourage engagement on your website.
3. Encourage and Celebrate User-Generated Content
If it isn’t clear, UGC is perhaps the most powerful tool when it comes to engagement. 64% of Millennials recommend a product or service on social media at least once a month, and asking your audience to share their experience with your brand can skyrocket that engagement.
People like to be celebrated and called out, especially by brand accounts with big communities. The more UGC you share, the more your customers will be inclined to engage with your brand and post more UGC. Additionally, knowing the content your brand shares comes from real people just like your audience will increase brand loyalty more than any branded content might.
Custom poster brand Mapiful values its strong emotional connection with its fanbase, and harnesses that connection through sharing UGC on-site, on social media, and through other marketing channels. The brand saw a soaring 38.76% engagement rate on its website gallery of customer photos.
Mapiful frequently celebrates its customers through posts like this one, even quoting this couple’s Instagram caption to share their unique story with the brand community.
4. Respond to Comments and Engage Back
Your audience will always have a thing or two to say in response to your content or the products and services you provide, which is a perfect opportunity to create dialogue. So, make the comments section the place where they can share feedback.
You should promptly read and respond to comments across your various channels. Try to provide feedback within 24 hours. Let people know you’re listening and considering their views. If someone criticizes your brand, show some appreciation for the honest feedback. Then let them know you’ll seriously consider their points and take action if warranted.
A simple reply from furniture brand Article’s social media team shows not only this customer, but all of the brand’s social followers that Article genuinely cares about community feedback.
Taking time out of your busy schedule to answer questions and comments speaks for itself, and people will take notice.
5. Have a Consistent Publishing Schedule
If you wish to boost content engagement, you have to publish new content consistently. You don’t want to keep your audience waiting by continuously changing your publishing schedule. Chances are they will switch to your competitors that are more organized and consistent.
Thus, if Tuesdays are your publishing days, hit that publication date. The responsibility lies with you to develop an effective content calendar and stick to it religiously. Putting yourself out there will keep your brand relevant and direct traffic to your site.
But how often should you publish? Answer?
That depends. The most important thing is your audience finds the content valuable. Just bear in mind that the more frequently you post, the more opportunities you have to engage with your audience.
6. Embrace Authenticity Through Real-World Stories
Everybody loves a good story, and using real-life examples to support your points will help tell more compelling and relatable stories. Plus, they lend your statements more credibility. You can also include data and stats from previous research in your content to make your points.
Try to create visual assets for your content as well. Research indicates that people prefer visual representations over numbers. Plus, you can share these assets through various channels, like social media, for example.
In this post, pet insurance brand Trupanion shares pet safety practices with its community to help pet owners keep their fur babies safe during the summer.
Engaging content has that “pull” factor that gets your audience naturally interacting with your business. Fortunately, the days when you published and prayed for the best are gone, never to return.
After implementing these strategies, interactions across your content channels should begin to increase. However, you’ll need to manage expectations, knowing that these tips won’t work any overnight miracles. Instead, consistency over time will see your engagement metrics make positive turns.
David Pagotto is the Founder and Managing Director of SIXGUN, a digital marketing agency based in Melbourne. He has been involved in digital marketing for over 10 years, helping organizations get more customers, more reach, and more impact.