If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard someone talk about “engaging” content I’d be have enough money to finally buy that tropical island I’ve had my eye on. However, while everyone tells you how important it is to have engaging content, very few tell you what it is or how to write it.
The problem with the word “engaging” is that the definition varies from person to person. What I find interesting might put you to sleep. And even if we’re both interested in the same topic, I might find a particular blogger entertaining and “engaging” and you might think he’s a dolt.
But you can’t worry about what everyone thinks because you’ll never be able to please everyone all the time. So, when you’re trying to write engaging content, the most important thing to remember is: Be yourself. There are plenty of people surfing the Web, looking for exactly the information you have to offer, more than enough to go around. Just be yourself and focus on engaging those who like you, and forget about those who don’t.
Whenever I’m stumped I always think to myself, “Now, how would I say this if I were telling it to one of my friends?” When you’re trying to tell a friend how to do something or give them advice you use words like “I” and “My” and you refer to him as “You” or “Your.” You have a one-on-one conversation.
So many bloggers feel uncomfortable pointing to themselves in the blog post, so they say things like, “We tried this new plug-in, and…” When I see that I always want to know who is “we?” Is there a whole group of people running that blog? If so, why haven’t they been introduced? Did that plug-in really work for all of them or is this a “majority rules” kinda thing? And more important, why are all of these mysterious bloggers hiding from me?
But the blogger who has the guts to say, “I tried this and it worked” immediately gets my full attention. He’s obviously sure enough about his opinion that he’s willing to take full responsibility for whatever happens.
Use Story Telling
Story Telling also makes your content more engaging. In the few paragraphs above I could have simply said, “Don’t write in the third person and don’t refer to your readers as a group.” However, I chose to add a little bit of back-story to it so you’d be able to visualize what I’m talking about.
Anytime you can help your readers visualize your message you’ll make your message clearer and it will be more memorable. Eventually, you’re going to finish reading this article and leave this page. But the next time you sit down and focus on writing engaging content you’re going to picture some anonymous group of wig-wags sitting behind some blog somewhere and you’re going to giggle. Then you’ll remember that you need to address your audience one-on-one.
Assume Everyone Is A Beginner
Always assume that everyone reading each and every blog post has never seen your blog before. Because most of them haven’t, especially if most of your traffic is coming through organic search.
If you’re using some specific jargon, either define it for your new readers or give them a link to content elsewhere on your blog where they can find out what it means. If you’re referring to a previous article include a quote and then link to it for the benefit of your new readers.
And finally, to make sure your meaning is perfectly clear, read your article from start to finish before you publish. Look for holes in your article where a new reader might stop and say, “I wonder what he’s talking about here.” Make sure all the steps in your How-To article are there and in the proper order. Oftentimes the only thing missing that would make your article more engaging is a little one-on-one connection and a little attention to detail.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!