6 Awesome Tips on Content Engagement

Anna Talerico, ion interactive's EVP and co-founder

Anna Talerico, ion interactive's EVP and co-founder

Like you, engaging content is always on our minds. Creating engaging content is one of the top challenges listed by content marketers this year. And it’s one of the main challenges we help customers overcome everyday. 

Yes, interactive content (what we do) helps solve many of the most pressing issues around engagement.  BUT, engagement is so much bigger than the content experience itself. You have to hit the fundamentals—target the right audience, drive quality traffic, be contextually relevant, have a great story, provide a unique perspective and add in a dash of great measurement to understand content consumption & audience behaviors so you can continually improve. 

There is a lot to consider when you reflect on how to produce engaging content—starting with what content engagement means to you. To get you started, we’ve rounded up a few links to great articles to help you in your quest for content engagement. We hope these tips provide some inspiration and insights. 

1. Be clear on what content engagement is. 

In one of our favorite articles on content engagement, we love Neil Patel’s crystal clear definition of content engagement.

“To keep it simple, I define content engagement as real people responding in measurable ways to your content. There’s a lot of overlap between social engagement and content engagement, but I’m focusing on the actual interaction with the content itself as opposed to how that content is distributed on the social web.” Neil Patel @neilpatel 

2. Know your audience. Really well. 

In an article on Search Engine Land, Carrie Hill points out that you can’t create engaging content if you don’t know your audience, where they are arriving from and how they are behaving. She says,  

“Knowing how users interact with your pages is as important as knowing users are getting to your pages. Whether you share recipes or sell computers, understanding how your users behave once they land on any page of your site helps you write the content that best suits their needs. You cannot know or understand user behaviors without analytics. Try one, two, or all of the methods shared above until you find the piece that fits with your site and your setup. Once you understand the type of content users engage with, and what form or shape they’re most likely to read, you can write and share more content more efficiently.” Carrie Hill @CarrieHill 

3. Define your objectives. 

In The Ultimate Guide for Boosting Content Engagement, Brian Hughes reminds us to set clear objectives.

“You want readers to be more than readers — you want them to interact with your content in a meaningful way. But you may also want to boost brand awareness, increase leads, and/or increase page views. Your objective goal affects which engagement metrics will be most important for your website.” Brian Hughes @BrianHughes116 

4. Focus on action. 

Australian consultancy i-SCOOP interviewed Joe Pulizzi on engagement and he provided this gem on how you can’t have engagement without great content, and vice versa: 

“There are all kinds of definitions of great content. However, if we think about it from an engagement standpoint, great content is information that makes people take an action. In the social media context, we like to think about great content that people are willing to share with their networks through outlets like Twitter, Facebook or other social communities. If, as a business, you develop content that is good enough for people to share with those that matter most to them, you’ve created great content”. @iscoopcontent and @joepulizzi

5. Focus on the progression of actions, too. 

And, Jen Evans recommends we think broadly about engagement, rather than as a one-time metric. 

“Think about engagement as a progression. A favourite on a tweet leads to a click on a link, which leads to an email opt-in, which leads to a download from an email newsletter. How do channels and content influence behaviour and weak ties? By capturing and auditing this data you can start to develop a picture of prospects' digital relationship with you over time.” Jen Evans @nejsnave

6. Remember, it’s all about the story. 

In summarizing things she learned from Ann Handley Margaret Dawson says,

“We need to tell stories about people rather than products. Tell stories well, while making your customer the hero of your story. In developing content for engagement, think beyond single pieces of content and focus instead on a content ecosystem – using a theme and pieces of content across your integrated marketing channels and programs. She asked this question: What would your marketing look like if your customer signed your paycheck? Ironically, at a startup, I think you actually feel like your customer does sign your paycheck! To gain engagement, your content needs to combine empathy, relevance, inspiration, and usefulness.” Margaret Dawson @seattledawson 

What do you think about content engagement and what have YOU found that works?