The Rules of Audience Engagement
Nothing boosts your credibility as a writer better than connecting with your readers on a personal level. It isn’t enough to write fresh content. You need to go beyond day-to-day writing and get your target audience to care about what you are offering. Your ability to create engaging content could be the difference in landing long-term clients and earning a comfortable paycheck.
Mastering the art of hooking an audience involves knowing the rules of engagement:
Identify Their Needs
You can’t write content to engage a specific audience without an idea of who they are and how they think. Before doing any writing, ask questions about the people who fit into your target audience. Map out details such as age, occupation, education, cultural background, interests, and religious and political views. These things will help you to shape content that identifies and meets their needs.
People will embrace content that speaks to them and contributes information that is useful and applicable to their lives. A content writer can only understand how to deliver to the right audience when he or she understands that audience.
Keep It Fresh
Recycling is a good concept when it comes to the environment. Writing is a whole different animal. A content writer who recycles stale ideas and concepts will find it difficult to draw interest from readers and will make it virtually impossible to land clients for their content services.
There are few new ideas under the sun. Still, a good writer knows how to put a fresh spin on a familiar idea. The best way to do this is to be familiar with what is already out there. Do your homework on a topic and see what angle or idea has not been covered. Originality and creativity are rewarded. Readers will gobble up content that offers a fresh take on a particular topic or subject.
Look Beyond SEO
One of the biggest mistakes a content writer can make is to worry about optimizing their content at the exclusion of everything else. SEO is an important tool and should not be ignored by any means. Using the right keywords to rank higher in search engine rankings opens the door to more exposure for any writer. More exposure means an increase in readership and a greater number of clients.
An unbridled focus on SEO can damage a writer if an equal amount of attention is not focused on producing quality content. Keywords boost search engine rankings and help a reader find content. Creating content worth reading will convince them to return again and again.
Timing Is Everything
Creating evergreen content is good for long-term viability as a content writer. Still, it is important to not ignore short-term opportunities. Pay attention to current news and social media trends to help with inspiration. Getting a handle on the topics generating the most buzz right now can be valuable in what you choose to tackle in your content.
Timeliness helps a content writer land short-term projects along with long-term projects. Both are needed to make a writing career viable.
John C is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.