5 Elements of the Most Engaging Content Experiences
May 5, 2015 | Guest Post | Link
You don’t need me to tell you that audience engagement is important.
After all, measuring engagement is a surefire way to learn which pieces of content are actually resonating with your audience—and therefore, what you should spend your time and energy producing.
But what exactly makes content engaging? What compels someone to actually read your post, then comment and share? Fostering engagement goes beyond any singular piece of content—the “engagement factor” depends on the entire content experience.
So, what does it take to create an engaging content experience?
In content marketing, context is everything. Uberflip’s VP of Marketing, Hana Abaza, has an awesome analogy to explain context: “I love pina coladas (cue Jimmy Buffet), but I’d rather enjoy one while sitting on a beach in Fiji than in my backyard, watching a neighbour hang his laundry. At the end of the day, experience is the only thing that matters—and that goes for content marketing as much as it does for frozen beverages.”
Creating a contextual content experience means structuring your content so that your customers and prospects find exactly what they’re looking for with ease.
Provide tailored content experiences based on topics and buyer personas, and include contextual CTAs. For instance, don’t ask people to register for a webinar about marketing automation on a blog post about how to create an infographic. It just doesn’t make sense – and it won’t convert.
This might seem obvious, but don’t make it difficult for your audience to engage.
Include an easily accessible comments section (we like Disqus) and obvious social sharing buttons—preferably those that show how many times a post has been shared (it helps to build credibility and encourage engagement). Also, use Click to Tweet links when appropriate.
Finally, be upfront and ask for opinions, questions, and thoughts. Sometimes it helps to reach out to your contacts and ask them to take the plunge and start the conversation on a piece of content. Once the momentum is there, engagement is easy to maintain.
Remember—engagement marketing is all about forming long-term relationships with your customers. Relationships require participation from all parties involved. Create an environment that is rewarding for your audience to participate in.
A truly engaging content experience doesn’t just encourage and maximize audience participation—it also facilitates interaction between audience members who share the same pain points and (even better) share your solution.
4. Breaking boundaries
Of course, it’s important to understand which platforms are driving traffic to your content so you can optimize your distribution strategy to maximize your inflow of traffic. But for engagement purposes, it matters less about how they get there, and more that they land in a good experience that will make them stay.
Think back up to context and facilitation, but also consider your content’s overall adaptability. Your content should automatically adapt to the person receiving it, regardless of the time of day, device, location, or other factors in the delivery.
5. Providing “something more”
In order for your content to truly be successful, it needs to help your audience by resolving a particular challenge or pain point. This requires an intimate knowledge of who is consuming your content.
Only a deep understanding of your audience will allow you not only to help your audience through content, but also to provide something more.
Engagement emerges from relationships, which are grounded in shared goals and values. Make these shared goals and values front and center in your content to truly define your relationship with your audience and what you’re both working towards, together.
It’s not your content, it’s your content experience
You could have the most amazing blog post, quiz or interactive infographic, but if it’s placed in a poor content experience, it’s not going to yield the results you’re looking for. If you want your audience to engage with your content, you need to build a content experience that allows them to do so. On the flip side, you also need to be just as willing to engage in return.
Think beyond individual pieces of content and consider the entire experience—that’s where the engagement magic happens.
Victoria Hoffman is the Content & Community Manager at Uberflip, a platform that helps marketers create, manage and optimize content experiences at every stage of the funnel to boost engagement and generate leads. She also contributes to The Globe and Mail as a Gen Y Money blogger. When not talking social strategy, she can be found watching Netflix and eating pizza.