A year ago, Quentin Tarantino wowed moviegoers with the Western-inspired dramatic mystery, The Hateful Eight.
If you’re looking to keep your audience returning to their screens to be engaged with your content, you’ll be grateful for these eight tips on how to increase audience engagement with content marketing.
1. Be your audience
A key element in successfully creating content that is both informative and engaging is knowing your audience. It is essential to figure out who your customers are and identify their most pressing concerns. Once you are familiar with their needs and wants, you will be better able to create content they will want and need to read.
As with anything, the key to gaining a full understanding is research. One great way of doing that is simply talk to your customers or invest in doing a few focus groups. You can also leverage tools like Google Trends to help you discover what your customers are looking for. Using that research to create buyer personas will enable you to visualize your audience and relate to them as human beings. Buyer personas, fully developed profiles of each segment of your audience, are also invaluable in segmenting your audience based on their needs. They enable you to develop content that speaks to each segment more effectively, thereby increasing engagement across the board.
2. Love your audience
Not only must you know your audience, you must also care about them. Relating to your customers as real people is very important because you’ll need to empathize with your audience if you’re going to create content they’ll engage with.
The more you know about your audience, the more precisely you can base your content on them.
That is why you must approach content creation with your audience first of mind and your brand second. If you want customers to genuinely care about your brand, you must first genuinely care about them. The more you empathize with your readers and truly value their time, the more effective your whole content marketing strategy will be.
3. Use attention-grabbing headlines to grab attention
When it comes to grabbing your audience’s attention, effective headlines are one of the most powerful tools at your disposal. People like to laugh, they enjoy being shocked by the unexpected, and they appreciate relevant and revealing statistics.
Infusing your headlines with urgency, value, and startling facts are sure ways to increase audience engagement.
It’s also important to not just think, but know, that you have created an engaging headline, which is why more and more content marketers are using headline analyzing tools to ensure they are hitting the mark.
4. Be platform agnostic
Remembering that content creation is about engaging your audience, it is important to use their favourite communication platforms, not yours. You may feel most comfortable using a selection of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram, but your audience may have already moved on to new channels.
It is important that you are not only aware of a wide variety of digital platforms, but also comfortable with using them so that you can create platform-specific content. Not only can using a variety of channels keep your audience engaged, it can keep your content fresh.
5. Be Quality Driven
At the end of the day, there is no substitute for quality. Simply pushing out a steady stream of content in order to say you engage in content marketing is not only fruitless, it is a waste of your effort and your audience’s time. Every time you create new content, go beyond the metrics and truly ask yourself if it truly brings value to your audience.
6. Use Data to Drive Direction
While still keeping the quality of your content marketing efforts top-of-mind, every decision you make should be based on available data. Data will let you know if something isn’t working before your sales numbers fall off a cliff. That knowledge will allow you to more closely identify with your customers and enable you to adjust your output quickly and effectively.
Content is always evolving and you should be too. In order to do this, you must always be researching, comparing, and tracking. Examine and aggregate the available data to constantly be improving your knowledge of your industry, your customers, and your prospects. Most importantly, use a combination of that data and your own critical thinking to continually update and refine your content strategy.
7. Multiply your audience through multi-media
Did you know that approximately 150 million hours of video are watched on social media every day? Facebook users alone watch more than 100 million hours of video per day, while more than 80 percent of Twitter users watch video.
But engaging your audience is about more than sharing videos; it’s about making use of all the multimedia tools at your disposal. Tweets with images get almost 20 percent more click-throughs than those without, while tweets with animated GIFs see a 167 percent increase in click-throughs.
If you’re not employing multimedia as part of your content marketing strategy, you’re getting left behind.
8. The more you are engaged, the more they are engaged
The beauty of social media as a platform for content marketing is that it is a true two-way street. It is all about sharing and discussion. Great content is a fantastic way to generate feedback, but that is only half the battle. Once you’ve got the discussion started, it is even more important to do everything you can to keep it going.
Whether by creating a Facebook group, quickly responding to comments on your blog posts, or hosting a Twitter chat, it is essential that you not only provide your audience with multiple avenues to provide feedback, but that you use that feedback as the basis for engaging them in ongoing discussion.
Earning customer engagement isn’t easy, but those who put the time and effort into doing it right find that engagement is worth more than gold. Because when your customers comment, like, or share your content, it means your brand is providing value.
By now you should know that engaging your audience with content marketing is realistic. The next step is to plan out your efforts. If you need some help, we've got a team of experts that can help you with a content marketing strategy. Contact us today.
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