“What’s your engagement rate?” “How can we get more people engaged?” “Look at how many people are engaging with that post!”
Ever heard any of these in conversation? Or said any of these things yourself? If you’ve ever developed a content writing strategy, written a blog post, social media post or any other type of content, you are probably well-aware of how important it is for the content to be interesting and engaging.
After all, the whole point of writing and sharing content is to share your knowledge in a way that attracts potential customers who are looking for exactly what you are offering. According to a Semrush survey, 91% of respondents achieved success with their content marketing efforts, and even more compelling is this statistic from the Content Marketing Institute: Content marketing generates more than 3X as many leads as outbound marketing at a cost of 62% less.
But it’s not just any content that will get you this kind of results. It has to be engaging. What does that mean, you ask? It’s pretty simple… engaging content refers to written or visual materials that inspire readers to react in some way. This reaction can include anything from continuing to read past the first sentence, to “liking” or commenting, to sharing on their own social networks.
This engagement is what will ultimately lead to a loyal audience that will become paying customers.
Let’s explore why content must be engaging, and then we’ll move onto content writing strategies where you’ll learn how to improve your content writing skills – so that you too can write engaging content.
Why is Engaging Content Important?
No one wants to read boring content. Period. End of story. You need to make sure that you are publishing interesting, engaging content in order to draw people in and keep them coming back for more.
Even if the ultimate goal of your content writing strategy is to convert more customers and make more sales (which are perfectly reasonable goals for any business), it’s fairly unlikely for one piece of content to result in an immediate sale. What will result in those sales numbers going up is an ongoing process of building trust.
Unless you’re writing about something very obscure, chances are your topic of choice is covered by your competitors. A great way to differentiate yourself from them is – you guessed it! – by writing better, more engaging content than they do. You may ultimately be offering up the same information, but it’s all about the style, tone and your ability to connect with your audience.
It’s impossible to please everyone all of the time. Some people may not appreciate it if you inject a sense of humor into your content, while others may especially connect to personal anecdotes. The most important thing is to find your voice and be authentic – this way you will attract an audience that can relate to you. The more engaging your content is to that audience, the more they will look to you as a source of information and continue to seek out your posts. And then of course, when they are ready to make a purchase, you will be at the top of their mind.
Understanding the need to make your content engaging is just the first step. Next is putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and actually getting the words out. Following are our best tips on how to write effective content.
How to Write Engaging Content: Top Tips
There are three stages to writing content: preparation, writing, and editing. At each stage, there are different elements to consider in order to set yourself up to ensure you are producing the most engaging content possible.
Prepare for Success
Before you, or your hired writers even begin to think about starting to write, there is a significant amount of prep work to be done. You need to fully consider the following:
- Who is your audience? Take out a blank piece of paper or open up a blank document on your computer and start brainstorming. Write down everything you can think of to describe the person you picture at the other end of the screen reading your finished piece.Here is an example of what your target audience brainstorm may look like, but you can customize it to be in line with your specific niche.
Of course, you will actually (hopefully!) have a large number of readers, but as you prepare and then write, it’s helpful to imagine that you are speaking to just one individual.
- What is the audience’s objective? Once you’ve identified who your audience is, you next need to consider what types of topics and information they will be looking for, and why. You want to make sure the content you write is aligned with their needs, otherwise they will click away from your site and may never return.
- What is your business objective? Don’t make the mistake of getting so caught up in what your audience is after, that you forget that the primary purpose of producing content is ultimately to increase sales. If your expertise is in an innovative new technological solution for the automotive industry, don’t get sidetracked writing about race cars just because your audience might also be interested in that topic.
You’re looking for that sweet spot where your audience’s objectives and your business goals meet.
Write for Human Readers
Once you know who you are writing for and what you are writing about, it’s time to actually sit down and do the work. In practice, you may have to do a significant amount of research – including choosing the type of content – before you actually start writing, but for the purposes of this article, we will focus on the writing itself.
Some of the following may sound extremely simple, but that’s actually the point. Writing engaging content does not need to be complicated! In fact, one of the major benefits of content writing is that you get to share your expertise in a natural way and draw in customers organically.
Following are our top tips on how to write effective content:
- Be Conversational – Push that sound of your high school English teacher out of your head (mine is often very loud!). Especially when writing blog posts and other online publications, you most certainly don’t need to be formal (note my use of “don’t” rather than “do not” – my English teacher may not be impressed, but doesn’t it sound better to the average reader?).
- Make it Personal – Speak directly to the reader. Say things like “You may be wondering…” or “You’ve probably experienced…” This will create a rapport between you and your reader. By acknowledging certain things they may have experienced or felt, you are building a connection and trust.
- Keep it Simple – Short sentences are much easier to read and absorb. Bullet points are fabulous, and blank space is not something to fear. Keep in mind that most people will skim your article no matter how good it is, so make it easy for the eye to catch the main points.
- Include Visuals – While I personally will always read the words rather than look at a graph or an image, there are plenty of other people who will skip the paragraphs and go straight to a colorful picture. Adding images is a great way to break up the text and add visual interest to a piece as well as capture both types of readers.
- Stay Focused – It can be easy to go off on tangents and try to cover multiple topics in one post, but this should be avoided. There’s always more to say than you might think on any given topic. If you find yourself veering on to other subjects, make yourself a note somewhere that you’ve got the topic for your next blog! It can help to write an outline listing out the main points you want to cover and then don’t deviate.
- Choose Words Carefully – While being conversational is important, you don’t want to sound too bland. It’s always good to spruce things up with powerful descriptive words when necessary. This is true when it comes to headlines and subheadings as well – the idea is always to get people to continue reading, so piquing their interest with a catchy title is one way to go.
- End on a Strong Note – Don’t discount the importance of the conclusion. By the time you reach the end of writing, you may be tired and want to just finish it off already (I am guilty of this more often than I care to admit). But remember that some people will actually skip straight to the conclusion and not read anything else. It’s actually pretty valuable real estate on the page and a great place to make your main point one last time.
Edit to Perfection
Well, “perfection” may be pushing it and is probably not really necessary, but remember what I said about catchy titles?
When you’re finished writing, there’s still a bit more work to be done before you can hit that publish button. One of the best ways to improve your content writing skills is to get feedback on your work as well as edit it yourself. The editing phase should include the following:
- Use Tools – A plethora of tools exist that help make your content better. We would, of course, be living on another planet if we didn’t mention ChatGPT (it’s a topic for another time… remember my tip about staying focused?), which can certainly help when it comes to brainstorming ideas and catchy titles in particular. Other tools we recommend include:
- Grammarly – to make sure you haven’t made any inadvertent typos or grammatical errors.
- Copyscape – just to confirm that you haven’t accidentally plagiarized any existing content.
- Hemingway – to ensure that your content is readable and easy to understand.
- Get Another Set of Eyes – Never publish anything without having someone else read it over first. This can be another person in your business, a friend, a customer, a family member – anyone you trust to be honest with you (and bonus points if they happen to be a member of your target audience). Another reader can pick up on small typos that you may not have noticed as well as bigger issues like points that need more explanation or re-wording.
- Look for Places to Add Quotes/Statistics – Including interesting and useful statistics or a quote from an industry leader (or any inspiring and relevant quote) can also elevate your content and make it more interesting and engaging to readers. You may have found some of this information during your research phase, but it can’t hurt to look over your piece once it’s finished and see whether there’s any place that lends itself to adding in a quote or statistic.
- Update and Refresh – Content can sit on your website forever, but you don’t have to let it get stagnant and stale. Let’s say you post about the top 10 trends predicted for your industry for 2024. Guess what you can do as 2024 starts to wind to a close? That’s right… Update the same article for 2025! Half the work is already done for you (as you won’t have to change everything) and your content remains relevant.
You’re On Your Way to Writing Engaging Content
TL;DR? Here’s what you would have learned if you read this whole article!
Knowing how to write engaging content is all about being properly prepared, implementing some key writing tips, and then reviewing and editing your work. Most important is understanding who your audience is and how the information they may be looking for intersects with your expertise and what you can offer.
Once you’ve got that information down, the writing is the easy part as long as you keep some principles in mind. You’re not writing an academic thesis – use simple but intelligent language, short sentences, and use bullet points, and paragraph spacing to make it easily skimmable and readable on screens.
It’s always good to have a second set of eyes look over your writing – this is one of the best ways to improve and learn how to write better content. If you don’t have anyone else to read it, you can be your own editor, but it’s best to let the article sit for a day and then go back and read it again. It’s very hard to catch mistakes in your own writing, but returning to it after a good night’s sleep can make it easier.
Of course, there’s always another option if you don’t want to write your own content… that’s exactly what Purple Chia is here for! Rather than telling you how to write engaging content, why not just let us do it for you? Content experts specializing in quality content creation, Purple Chia’s goal is to create content you can be proud of. Reach out and learn how we can help grow your business through the written word.