The 7 critical factors of content that generates engagement and 1 that rules them all

July 3, 2017 | Content Marketing

Well, there are seven factors you can use to create content that generates engagement. 

In this post, you are going to learn how to easily incorporate these seven factors into your content. 

One out of the seven factors is indispensable. It makes your content engaging, fascinating and enticing all the time.

But before we get to that, let’s take a look at what engaging content is.

CB Whittemore of Simple Marketing LLC defined engaging content as “a content that grabs a reader’s interest and attention, drawing him/her into reading more – because the content is incredibly relevant, informative even entertaining – and causing him/her to accord value to the content – ideally, enough value to take an action.”

Below are the 7 factors of an engaging content:

1. A click-worthy headline

Do you know that headline accounts for up to 50% of your blog post’s effectiveness

It is the first thing that attracts visitors to your content. It is the entry into your reader and potential customer’s world. Thus, if you create weak headlines, all other marketing strategies will be a waste of time and resources.

In fact, to show how important headlines are, Copyblogger’s study revealed that 80% of your visitors will read your headline – but only 20% will go on to finish the article. 

This is where you need to put in your best to create effective headlines for your content.

Two companies that do this well online are Buzzfeed and Upworthy. They use great headlines to generate millions of visitors monthly.

So, how do you create a headline that generates clicks?

The first thing you need to know about creating headlines that grab readers attention is that, it must be interesting.

So, for a reader to click on your headline, they must find it interesting.

Let’s use Gary Bencivenga‘s headline formula here.

It reads:

Interest = Benefit + curiosity

The two most important ingredients you need in your headline are benefit and curiosity

Your headline must tell your audience what they will gain by reading the content. 

For instance, “Run for 2 days to lose 10 pounds“. You are telling the audience that if they run for 2 days, they will gain by losing 10 pounds out of their weights. 

Adding curiosity to the benefit makes your content unpredictable. The readers are unable to predict what you are going to say in your content.

Adding these two ingredients to your headline makes it attention-grabbing, inviting and interesting.

For example, look at the headline of this article:

“The 7 critical factors of content that generates engagement and 1 that rules them all”

The benefit is, you will know the seven factors of content that generates engagement. 

The curiosity part is the “1 that rules them all“. If you did not open the article because of the other 6 factors, you would want to know that “1 that rules them all“.

This will not only help your audience to click the title but also wait to see the 1 factor that rules them all on the page.

More examples of these type of headlines are:

Surprising marketing strategies to grab consumers attention instantly 

The Little-Known Secret of Creating content that Will Have Customers Raving About Your business For Life

The drop dead simple secret to creating content your audience will absolutely love

Once your readers click to read your content, they will meet a captivating Introduction.

2. A Captivating Introduction 

A captivating introduction convinces your readers to stay on your website. 

Here, we will use Brian Dean of Backlinko’s APP formula of content introduction. 

The App formula means Agree, Promise and Preview.

The first thing you will do is to get the readers to agree with you on their pain points. For example in one of the articles he wrote, he started off by agreeing to his audience pain point, thus:

It tells your audience that you empathize with their problem or pain points. You understand what they are going through.

Now that they are in agreement with you, take them to the next level – the promise

This is the point where you tell your readers what they can achieve as shown below:

How to create a Squeeze Page That Converts at 21.7%(Case Study)

You can see that I followed the app formula in my introduction.

Apart from the app formula, you can also use the AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action) copywriting formula for your introduction. 

Now you have an introduction that will keep readers on your website. It is time to talk like friends.

3. Write for a single person

It is easy to communicate with your readers by writing as if you are talking to them one-on-one.

Your audience will have a personal connection with your content. 

There are words you can use that shows you are speaking directly to a person in your content. 

Such words include “You” and “because“. 

These two are very powerful in the world of content marketing because it is all about your readers. 

It personalizes your content to them. They don’t care about you or your business, they are after what you have to offer, i.e. what they can benefit from you.

Your content is written by you but not for you. It is for your audience. 

When they start interacting with your content and getting hordes of value from it, they start trusting you. Then, you see them sharing your content on social media networks and linking to it. They start recommending your product or service to their connections. 

For example, look at this post on Mobile SEO on RankWatch Blog below :

4. Use images to increase your content perceived value

An English Idiom says “A picture is worth a thousand words“. Images convey many words. 

Do you know the reason why Pinterest, Instagram, and Snapchat are trending? 

It is because they focus on pictures. People respond mostly to visual information than texts. The fact is the human brain process visual information 60,000x faster than plain text. 

Also, according to a research by Zabisco, 40% of people will respond better to visual information than plain text

Now, you see that you need visuals to make your content engaging.

How do you go about incorporating visuals into your content to make it engaging?

You can add infographics, videos, Slideshare presentations, surveys, images etc. to your content to make it more engaging. 

For example, Copyblogger published an infographic in 2012 titled “15 Grammar Goofs“.

As at today, the infographic generated 6,500k tweets, 2,000+ shares in LinkedIn, 60,700 likes on Facebook, 1,700 Google + shares and 193,700 Pinterest pins.

5. Use storytelling

An old Native American proverb reads: “Tell me the facts and I’ll learn. Tell me the truth and I’ll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever.” 

Storytelling in content creation is very important. It helps your audience to connect with you one-on-one, hence creating engagement. 

Stories trigger your reader’s emotions, helping them to do what you want on your website.

Anthony De Mello said, ” the shortest distance between a human brain and the truth is a story“.

How can you incorporate storytelling into your content?

There are three strategic storytelling methods you can use in your content: You can use your own story (of success and failures), your personality (experiences) and you can leverage on other people’s success or failure stories. 

  1. Use your own story

Every one of us has stories to tell, from your failures to your successes in life and business. 

You can use your past experiences, case studies, fails and wins to tell stories. A great example is this one by Nick of Seonick:

The article generated 794 comments, 554 likes on Facebook, 343 G+ shares, 23 Pinterest pins, 371 LinkedIn shares, 350 Stumbles. 

  1. Use your personality

As human beings, we are created to share and listen to stories. It is interesting, educating and inspiring! 

This makes storytelling a natural tool to help grow your audience and generate engagement effortlessly. 

A good example of a blogger that used this technique and generated massive engagement is Jon Morrow of Smart Blogger. 

He wrote a post titled “How to quit your job, move to paradise and get paid to change the world” for Problogger.

It was a touching story of how he ran into an accident, quit his job and started blogging. It was a very moving story.

The content generated more than 72,000 views. 

Today, he is one of the topmost bloggers and he makes more than $100,000 per month.

iii. Leverage other people’s stories

If you don’t have stories – whether personal or business, you can still leverage storytelling to garner engagement for your content.

You can do this by simply leveraging on other people’s successes, failures or personal stories. 

A good example is this post from Incomediary:

6. Use emotions

Humans are emotional beings. They like to feel. 

Their feelings (joy, fear, sadness, awe, etc) propels them to share with their family and friends on the social media networks. 

If you leverage on popular emotions such as sadness, joy, fear, surprise etc., your audience will engage with your content by sharing and commenting on it.

A media company – Upworthy, that realized the importance of emotions, invest in it heavily and had 90 million page views in 2013

OKdork carried out an analysis on 10,000 most shared articles online and discovered that the most popular emotion evoked are:

A good example of a content that demonstrated the emotion “surprise” is this post “Marriage is not for you” written by Seth Adam Smith.

It was a surprise to read that marriage is not for you. But he explained his point in the content. It is a wonderful piece!.

The content generated 20,311 Pinterest pins, 638 LinkedIn shares, 26,168 stumbles. 

Other emotions you can leverage are Joy, fear, anger, etc.

The most important factor that rules them all is… 

7. Create content that solves your audience pain points

A content that will create engagement will solve a need, a desire, a problem or a challenge.

The secret to greatest engagement online is to create content that answers your audience questions.

Heather Williams said “Revolve your world around the customer and the more customers will revolve around you.

Your business exists because it solves a problem. Capitalize on that problem aspect and create content that solves it for your audience. 

They will engage, interact and share it with other people going through the same problem.

But wait:

How do you know your audience’s pain points?

You can design online surveys, online feedback forms, and tools, interview existing customers, etc.

If you are just starting out, you can decide to use keyword research tools, such as answerthepublic to get to know your potential customer’s pain points. It is a research tool that let you know the questions your potential customers are asking.

Open the website and type in your keyword. 

For example, I typed in content marketing and it brought up 77 questions. Some of the questions are: 

How does content marketing help seo

What are content marketing channels

Where to start content marketing

Which companies use content marketing

Who is doing content marketing well

What is content marketing b2b

Why content marketing is important

When to use content marketing

You can work with these keywords to create actionable, high-quality and engaging content to answer these questions for your audience.

Conclusion

There you have it – 7 factors you need to create content that generates engagement and the one that rules them all. 

The truth is:

Your prospects have questions and they need answers. If you can provide them with a very click-worthy headline,  a captivating introduction, speak to them directly, use images, use storytelling, use emotions and provide answers to their questions, they will engage with your content.  

They will read and share it. It will also be easy for you to convert them into loyal readers and customers.

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Hephzy Asaolu is a Content marketing writer with 6 years experience in Content creation and marketing. Check out her blog Iamladywriter for quality content creation tips and also hire her for your content writing projects.

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