Whether you’re in B2B or B2C, you’re probably struggling to come up with content marketing assets that engage your audience. That’s according to the Content Marketing Institute’s 2016 Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets & Trends reports for North America.

You can look at that two ways:

  1. We need to make MORE engaging content
  2. We need to make content MORE engaging

I’ve covered the former a lot already (see below for a list of posts on how to produce more engaging content). So I teamed up with my designer friend Juanita Wrenn of Wrenn Works to share ideas for creating content that engages more.

5 Tips to Make Content Marketing More Engaging

From Margot Lester & Juanita Wrenn

1. Deliver relevance.

We know, it sounds so obvious. But hear us out. With so many distractions, one of the best ways to keep customers engaged with your content is to be relevant. Give them content that’s related to something they care about, a problem they want to solve, a short-cut or solution they haven’t considered, etc. Sounds simple, yet we see clients struggle with this all the time. You’ve got your call-to-action and business goals nailed and then you back out the sentiments or actions you want consumers to have or take. But so often these perspectives are through the marketer’s eyes, not real customers. Instead, approach relevance from your customer’s point of view. What are the questions, concerns and objections they have about your topic, product, service? To put it even more plainly, why should they care? If you’re not sure what’s relevant to your customers, monitor social media more closely and talk to your sales and CRM folks. Here’s a handy tool we use to infuse customer insights into content, and a few tips on including customer perspectives in content marketing.

2. Focus on voice. 

You can spend a ton of dough developing a brand voice, but you won’t get a return if you don’t execute it successfully. Too often—and especially when creating by committee—voice is diluted. Yet we know it’s one of the most important factors in engagement. If we feel we’re being talked down to, or the voice is over our heads, or if we don’t even hear a voice at all (think: adults in the Charlie Brown shows), we don’t pay attention. Getting voice right can feel tricky, but it comes down to two elements that are easy to work on: word choice and sentence fluency. Here's the approach we use to create the right voice for content marketing.

3. Go interactive to increase time on site and information-gathering.

Connecting with users can be as simple as asking them to click or tap to unlock additional information. This enables users to choose the data points they want to explore, increasing relevance and keeping them on the site longer as they discover more content. Here’s a great example of an interactive infographic from Goldman Sachs. Another take: Asking users to share thoughts or select answers via surveys or other information-gathering tools. Design questions to capture customer intelligence for personalization or lead gen, to entertain or inform, to produce survey results, or all three. For example, this interactive quiz content we wrote for Staples is designed to both entertain and inform. Finally, there’s gamification. We love a good chase, so creating short but rewarding quests for users is another satisfying way to engage--so long as the pay-foo is meaningful to your audience. Here’s a gif of a game Juanita developed for the N.C. Zoo (sorry we can't share the actual game with you.)


4. Entice readers with compelling photos, videos and illustrations. 

The old saw about pictures speaking a thousand words is true. And with customers consuming more content on smaller screens, a carefully chosen image helps us pack more story in a smaller space. But that requires careful image creation and curation. Choose photos or illustrations that set the tone or mood for your web page or email or blog post. Or super-charge the image with a strong cutline that distills a key take-away and drives action--like this niftily illustrated email from Dovecote—such as learning more from the accompanying editorial content, clicking through to a dedicated landing page or even to a lead-gen form. Video is another a powerful engagement tool, especially when it solves a problem or provides information, like these from the Triangle AMA (see #3!). Don’t forget to use visuals as the core of social posts, like this one: TwitterCardexample

Salesforce Care Quality Infographic5. Blend words and images with infographics.

The CMI data show that more than 60 percent of B2B and B2C content markers use this content type, and the format’s effectiveness grows annually as we get better at making them. Highly relevant content conveyed this way creates a short-form way to educate customers and encourage them to learn more by connecting to more extensive content such as slide decks, white papers, webinars, etc. We created the inforgraphic at right for Salesforce and designed it to be atomized into other formats to inform and promote (click image for larger view). Learn more: Our thoughts on how to create an infographic.

So what are you waiting for? Try just one of these tips to increase engagement of your content marketing. Or contact us to find out how we can help.

Related Content

Here are those articles on how to increase content production: