Capturing your audience’s attention begins with providing emotionally resonant content. If they have a choice between two articles on the same topic–from a B2B thought leadership blog post to a DIY how-to infographic–a person will almost invariably choose the one that is more engaging and emotionally resonant. People are looking more and more for content that connects, whether it strikes a funny bone, raises an eyebrow, or hits on a pain point.
The challenge of how to create this content is an exciting one for marketers and writers. Here are a few ways to engage and connect with your readers and drive the results you’re looking for:
1. Empathize with Your Reader
Like a good conversation, online content flows better when the niceties are observed, which means understanding where the other person is coming from. After all, it’s hard to get to know your neighbors if you never say hello!
Empathizing online means understanding why your reader visits your blog or other written content–and then talking to them in a way that makes them comfortable and interested enough to keep reading. Doing so shows that you know why they came to visit your site and care enough to give them what they’re looking for.
One of the leaders in this online area is Neil Patel. If you read through his blog posts you will notice that he always seems to know what his readers need to hear about that week. He employs keyword search software and uses a ton of data mining to accomplish this level of empathy, but you can do this, too, gleaning from sites like BuzzSumo or simply keeping up with trends in your industry.
2. Accentuate the Juicy Details
Bring your writing alive with sparkling descriptions that pop off the page. Many writers miss this opportunity to win their readers over thinking that their audience will be bored by small things–but sometimes it’s the smallest things that make a difference. Don’t give too much away or unintentionally describe the intricacies of a kaleidoscope, but get really descriptive in your content and give the reader a warmer, richer experience. Not only will they keep on reading, they will remember your content better! And rather than perceiving your content as cumbersome, your readers will view you as being more beautifully generous with your words and advice–a good thing for readers (and search engines) who want to learn specific things as they peruse online content.
3. Ask Relevant Questions
One thing is for sure: the art of getting to know someone isn’t lost on the online consumer. As Dale Carnegie says, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” This ties into the first point about empathy, but also into good old-fashioned, two-way engagement.
Your content can literally ask a question to pull readers in. Lots of great search queries and blog post titles are a simple question. Your content can also invite people to share their thoughts. Note that much of the top content today is interactive and filled with consumer commentary that is responded to by the content owner. Isn’t that what makes social media so compelling?
What is emotionally engaging–and share-worthy–is different depending on the audience. For a home renovation or decor brand, it is often that unique “pop of color” that sets off readers to comment, like, and share. On mom blogs, personal stories about overcoming difficulties can spur online connections and even more story sharing. A business software vendor can inspire the sharing of customer success stories that bring hope to the weary IT decision-maker!
How can you create engaging topics for your reader? Planning is a key to success here. Like Jodi Harris of the Content Marketing Institute says in Road Map to Success; Creating the Content of Your Audience’s Dreams, you can learn to align and craft your content into a larger marketing plan with some careful research, making the content more accessible to the readers. The less they have to work to grasp and relate to your content, the more they can engage.
Speak to customers in their language, meeting them where they’re at with content they want to engage with. Be descriptive, draw them in with questions, give them a chance to speak up and share…and consider them connected!
Alexandra W has written extensive copy, including product and category descriptions and landing pages, for online retailers with multi-billion dollar clients in the line up. Her experience is mostly in fashion and consumer goods, with shoes and skincare being the largest categories.