Last Updated on by Karl
Writing a blog post and creating engaging content is a more difficult task than you might think. You must engage the audience and find compelling topics, as well as consistently (and quickly) provide high-quality information.
To truly maximize results, you must publish or update material on a regular basis. To get a lot of readers you need to follow some important rules.
There are plenty of tools that can increase your productivity and save you time. However, you need to handle the bulk of the work and understand the process to create engaging content.
- Use headlines and subheadings
- Involve the audience
- Keep it short and simple
- Do your research
- Use content creation tools
- Include visual elements
- Grab attention with the first sentence
- Stay focused
- Use precise and powerful language
- Include though-provoking questions and quotes
- Use analogies
- Don’t let the haters bring you down
- Take breaks
- Use pop culture references
- End with a bang
Use the following tips to get started. Discover what methods work best for your individual needs, and begin to implement them into your daily routine for increased overall engagement.
1. Use headlines and subheadings
Don’t just include a headline and subheading; create a unique and attention grabbing one. Your content title is important. Headline or subheading allow you to grab attention at the very beginning.
According to Upworthy co-founder Peter Koechley, tests show that traffic to content at Upworthy can vary by as much as 500% simply because of the headline (Moz.com)!
Check out this post:
17 Easy Tricks How to Write Catchy Titles and Headlines
2. Involve the audience
Write engaging content. Don’t just give them the information.
One of the most important things you can do to engage the audience is to write directly to them. You the writer will talk with the reader. The reader is one person. The reader should feel that you understand what their problems are and what they need.
Ideally, that one person is you as you scratch your own itch.
For example, addressing the universe instead of your reader looks like this: Many businesses are always looking for ways to get more people to sign up for their email list.
Be personal: You are always looking for ways to get more people to sign up for their email list.
Ask your audience questions that get them thinking. Make them feel like they are part of the article and the community you are writing about. If you are writing a blog post on gardening tips, ask your readers what some of their go-to tricks of the trade are. Make the article feel like a discussion, rather than a lesson.
3. Keep it short and simple
People reading online have shorter attention spans than say reading a novel. Readers want information, and they want it fast. So be sure to keep your content short enough to maintain attention, and long enough to provoke thought and intrigue.
Statistic Brain reports that on average only 28% percent out of 593 words are read on any web page (statisticbrain.com). This means the majority of the time people do not read every single word included in your content. So make your words count, make your paragraphs 3-4 sentences, and maximum 5 to6 lines.
4. Do your research
Never publish content without fully researching it. It’s easier than it used to be to complete adequate research, so take the time and the effort and get it done.
For example, gathering and updating the right data increased the traffic to some of our posts in dreamgrow.com more than 10-fold.
Sites like Buzzsumo will give you access to key influencers and the most shared content on the web. And news resources like Huffington Post and Buzzfeed are also excellent resources for the most current information.
You don’t want to publish incorrect information because it’s over a year old. Try to find the most recent original updates and sources.
5. Use content creation tools
Content Idea Generator – Portent’s Content Idea Generator is a fun and easy way to get headlines and engaging content ideas. Simply enter a phrase or keyword and receive unlimited ideas. The automated system offers catchy and humorous headlines and is easy to navigate. Check out a review by AdWeek about this tool here.
Copyscape – You never want to publish copied or stolen work online. Content must be 100% original, or you risk to ruin your reputation and losing viewers. Scan all material with Copyscape before publishing to be sure you work is properly referenced and always unique.
Grammarly – Grammarly is probably the best spelling and grammar checker around. Apart from being able to spot errors other grammar-checking apps can’t, it will also help you optimize your text and make it more readable. Make it a habit of running your text through Grammarly; it will turn you into a better writer.
Blog Topic Generator – HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator allows users to enter in up to 3 phrases or nouns, and receive endless blog topic and title ideas that jumpstart your engaging content writing. You can use what they offer, or take part of their suggestions and make it your own.
Google Trends – Google Trends is an important place to look to discover what is trending in your niche, and what influencers are talking about. Use their search tool daily to stay on top of movements in social media.
Hemingway – Like Hemingway himself, this app and editor focus on short sentences and profound thoughts. The app highlights suggestions for correction in areas like overuse of adverbs, hard to read sentences and run-on or repetitive language.
Check out this post for more content writing tools:
35 Tools to Make Your Content Writing a Breeze
6. Include visual elements to create engaging content
You don’t want to publish content that is only text. Include photos, or videos and even consider infographics or pictocharts. For SEO and social sharing reasons add at least on image to every article.
Some people absorb information better this way, and it will give you a chance to make your content original, engaging and memorable. According to Hubspot, researchers found that colored visuals increase people's willingness to read a piece of content by 80%. Simply adding colors can almost double the chance that someone will stay on your page. And visual elements can also create a more interactive experience for viewers, making them more likely to return.
- How to Plan Your Visual Content Marketing Strategy
- How to Boost Traffic with Visual Content Marketing Strategy
Get millions of free images:
Free Images for Blogs and Marketing
7. Grab attention with the first sentence
Like with your headline and subheadings, the first sentence of your content should be a stunner. You want readers to say “WOW” and then get excited to keep reading your material. This can be hard to do consistently. However, it will get easier the more you focus on it.
Try using questions and striking facts to make your readers get involved. For example, if you are writing about a political topic you could begin with the question “Have you ever regretted a past vote in a presidential election?” This is a personal and surprising question that can help immediately spark viewer interest.
8. Stay focused
Don’t stray away from the topic at hand. You don’t want content to start out about community gardens and then end with a sentence regarding your new car. Stay on topic and focus on key points.
9. Use precise and powerful language
To keep your content short and sweet you will need to use precise language and powerful words. Words like searing, reckoning and teetering are examples. These words have synonyms that may be more common, and simpler, but they will not evoke such directed emotion.
10. Include thought-provoking questions and quotes
To involve your audience, you might want to ask them questions. You can also include quotes from famous authors or celebrities and humanitarians. Quotes are a great subheading or first sentence to connect with your readers.
If you are writing engaging content about living green (or more sustainably) include inspirational quotes like the following from Henry David Thoreau, “What is the use of a house if you don't have a decent planet to put it on?”
11. Use analogies
Try to throw in an analogy if possible in every piece of content. The analogy is an important way to engage reader’s thought process and better relate your material in a readable and understanding way. You want to use relatable material and ideas and keep it simple.
For example, “metaphors are like a special ingredient. You can add them to your writing to add some flavor and originality”.
12. Don’t let the haters bring you down
Ignore your haters. If someone makes a negative comment on your website, page or content, ignore them. If you worry about every person who does not like what you do, you will miss out on celebrating all of the people that love what you do.
Here's the to-do list. Start from 1 and take the next item only if you have time:
- Write for yourself
- Write for your fans
- Write for the haters
Social Media Marketing Mistakes You NEED TO Avoid
13. Take breaks
Give yourself time to recharge sometimes. Walk away from your content and go for a walk to the local coffee shop. Listen to some music and breathe. It’s important to let your mind rest so that it can perform at its peak more often than not.
Pro tip: Walk outside 15 minutes before writing. If you can't walk just try to get some downtime outside. Preferably in the nature or a park.
14. Use pop culture references
Just like with analogies, pop culture references can make your material more relatable and entertaining for your readers. We all love a good laugh, and a pop culture joke or comparison is always a smart idea to increase engagement.
You can try using titles like “How To Be A Jedi Of Drawing” or perhaps go with something more recent like “Orange Isn’t The Only New Black.” These can add humor and engage your readers on a deeper level.
Make damn sure your audience knows who Jedis are!
15. End with a bang
Do not waste your conclusion or closing statement. Use the bottom of a page or your content and wrap up the overall idea. Make it memorable and catchy, so that your readers stay on your page until they have completed reading all of your content.
These rules are not set in stone. Like with all road maps, sometimes a detour is necessary to find your way. To shine break the mold, try something new, and improvise. To truly succeed at writing engaging content, you have to find a way to stand out from the rest.
Be brave, be bold, and be you!
Use the tools at your disposal and remain motivated and interested in your topics. Get started today! Begin creating better content by following these 15 tips.
Good luck and happy creating!
Get your content marketing strategy in place:
How to Create an Actionable Content Strategy
Authors: Priit Kallas and Julie Petersen. Julie Petersen is a content marketing specialist and a language tutor. She is the author of an educational blog where she shares valuable educational experience with students and educators.