How to Craft Engaging Content in Our Distracting World.
Something shiny. I like the way it sparkles.
If you’re anything like me – you’re easily distracted by shiny, squishy, flashy, sparkly, new, or yellow every 8 seconds. Current research actually shows that humans have a shorter attention span than goldfish (thanks smartphone)!
So, in the age of content marketing where we’re consuming most information online – how the heck are you supposed to remain interesting? How can you keep your audience engaged with your content and stop them bouncing off to the next shiny yellow website?
Aaaah! The very nature of my existence these days and something I’m going to help you with.
It’s your ability to connect through emotive language and storytelling.
The Rules of Marketing Have Changed
Successful marketing is no longer the direct in-your-face “we’ll tell you what you want and need right now” paid variety. Who actually sits through a full TV or radio ad break these days?
Audiences have taken control of the information they consume - thanks in part to our good friend the remote and our BFF, smartphone. The power to tune out and into something else at the push of a button is gloriously satisfying. But where does this leave our marketing?
Unfortunately, many businesses are failing to connect with their online audience because they aren't tailoring their content to meet the expectations of this new 8 second consumer.
Marketing now is about great content. Quality content*.
It isn’t about shouting information at anyone who’ll listen; nor is it about providing a blow-by-blow of every single detail imaginable because ‘sharing is caring’ and ‘people need to know’. And it most certainly is not about sleazy sales pitches where you project yourself with as much sincerity as a used car salesman after a hailstorm.
You need to connect with your audience.
You need to elicit their emotions.
You need to share your story.
9 Crafty Ideas to More Engaging Content
- Embrace your freedom to play on words. Sprinkle on some humour dust with the use of puns, metaphors, and funny anecdotes from your own experiences.
- Use crafty language to elicit emotion. Consider the sentence “the men were killed”. Compare this to “the men were executed in cold blood”. Ewwww - scary gross right?
- Learn the important grammar rules so your audience can respect you. I, for one, lose respect for people who confuse their, they're and there. Ick. Check out this handy guide for the top 10 grammar rules for writers.
- Mix up short, punchy sentences with only a splash of long. You should aim to keep most sentences under 24 words. That means, stop writing long-winded, convoluted sentences that don't make sense!
- Be conversational. “You’re sitting at your laptop, reading my blog, and anticipating my wisdom”. Don’t say “The customer is sitting at their laptop, reading the company blog, and anticipating the author’s wisdom”. Make it personal.
- Tell the reader all about their problems and how your product/service will fix it. Show empathy and relate to the problem through your own experiences. Make them think you’re reading their mind [insert evil laugh here].
- Say goodbye to formal and verbose language because there’s no place for five words when it can be said with one! Remember - tighter is lighter!
- Share your stories and case studies. I’m a notorious storyteller. I can tell you a story within a story within a story (call me inception). People relate to stories - so, use them to connect with your audience.
- Convince your audience they need to know the answer. Your answer. Because you’re the oracle and you're the only one who knows - and all they must do is… opt-in to your newsletter, sign up, or download your fabulous e-book. If you've done the other 8 things on this list - you're almost there :)
Use Engaging Writing to Connect Your Audience with Your Journey
It’s super important that you connect your audience with your journey and motivate them to join you along the way. Strong brands are built – over years – through purposeful and engaging content that audiences connect with and relate to. Share photos. Tell stories. Be human.
Over time – they’ll come to you. You’ll become a trusted and engaging source of information; someone they turn to; someone they look forward to hearing from, because you get it.
The ability to write engaging content is important, (read: necessary) and most definitely an art form.
Start incorporating these tips into your content, one at a time, and learn what feels comfortable for you. These tips will help you write more engagingly, but, your writing should also never feel forced - because it will read that way too.
Learn what works for you – and embrace it. And remember, writing is a skill to be nurtured like any other. So, practice!
* Content is what us nerdy copywriters refer to when we talk about your words. All your words. Website words, blog words, newsletter words, email words, brochure words...