More Than Words — 5 Components of Engaging Content

Good content is fun to read but great content leaves a lasting impression. As content marketing becomes more and more popular, it’s becoming harder to stand out. It’s one thing to be unique with your topics and a completely different thing to make your content intuitive & memorable. Here are some key content creation tips to help take your content to the next level.

Appeal to your readers visually

The human brain processes information in a ton of different ways, leaving you room to be unique. Depending on your message, some delivery methods are more effective than others.

It’s important to consider the platform you’re delivering your message on, to whom it will be delivered and based on that; what choice of media would be best.

When it comes to videos you don’t want them to be too long since you’ll lose people’s interest quickly. If people don’t feel their needs are being addressed within the first 30 seconds or so they will leave. With all the content available online people are more prone to being impatient.

Within the first 15 seconds of this example you know exactly what you’re getting into. No annoying introductions or call to actions.

Podcasts are similar to videos; they need to be interesting almost right away to avoid losing people’s attention. People should almost immediately feel they will get what they want by listening to your podcast.

Don’t forget about colors

Colors impact people’s initial reaction to your site. It’s proven that different colors invoke different emotions when we see them. This is why graphic designers spend hours trying to understand your company and your goals so they can use colors in your logo that accurately reflect your company.

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If you have a site dedicated to mental health & reducing stress then you probably don’t want to use a strong color like red. If you run a design firm then you’d probably want to stay away from a basic white/grey colored site.

Before people even make a conscious decision on what they think of your site, their subconscious processes the colors and makes a judgment based on that.

Think about how people experience your site

User experience is an underrated part of content that actually plays a huge role. If you’re doing a podcast, you need to make sure it’s 1) easy to access 2) easy to download/play (both desktop & mobile). If people have trouble finding or even playing your podcast then their motivation to listen to it is severely lowered.

This also applies to videos; there shouldn’t be excessive white noise or long intros that distract from what you’re saying. When people are engaging with your content the experience should be enjoyable.

When it comes to traditional written content on your website, it’s important to make sure that people have a positive experience on your site. This means not having excessive ads, making sure your loading time is reasonable, not using obtrusive email pop ups and having a clean design.

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Think about how you would like to browse a website yourself. Being halfway done an article and then suddenly having a wild email sign up box appear is very annoying. Even worse is when you close it and the site takes you to the top of the page. This discourages people from coming back and distracts from the message you’re trying to deliver.

Even if your content is good people are going to remember their experience using your site, especially if it’s negative.

Take advantage of the reptile brain

Humans are much simpler creatures than we pretend to be. We want to be nurtured; we want our opinions to be justified, most of all we want to feel validated for feeling the way we do.

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Your reptile brain wants answers to two questions: Can I trust this? And why should I care?

So, to appeal to this part of the brain here’s what you have to do:

  • Keep it simple
  • Make your content about the reader — what’s in it for them?
  • Use contrast examples to help drive your point
    - You have to know your audience and compare your point to something that they are already familiar with
  • Realize that people pay the most attention at the beginning & end
  • Diagnose the issue your reader is having -> show why you & your solution is different -> show the value of your solution vs. the cost -> now that you have their attention, deliver your solution.

Engaging content is consistent & targeted

Consistency doesn’t only refer to how often you post new content. When your content is successful you begin to develop a relationship with your readers. When people can see you have multiple pieces of content that they find relevant, they develop a sense of familiarity with you. Once this connection is formed, consistency takes shape in a number of different ways.

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Language is a key part of consistency. If you create a video that’s super technical and then you follow up with an extremely basic video, your audience will be confused. The change in language can turn people off and distract from what you’re trying to say. Some people will think the level of information your offering is not for them.

Quality is also a part of being consistent. People expect the same quality of information and research throughout all articles. Don’t try and cheat your audience by posting a sub par article just so you can meet your weekly article quota. Consistent quality translates into more social shares and a higher appreciation of your work by your audience.

Encourage & take advantage of Commenting

If you’re struggling for ideas, comment sections can be your best friend. Look at different sites in your niche for golden nuggets people leave in the comments. They’ll either tell you what they liked or disliked, what they wish there was more of and give you an idea of their wants and needs.

End every piece of content of yours by inviting people to share their opinions, especially what they disliked. Responding to as many comments as you can is also an excellent way of letting your audience know that you care about their opinion.

As you can see, creating engaging content is more than being good with words or having an interesting idea. When you create content with these 5 things in mind you’ll find what you’re making has practical uses for your audience, is easier to promote and will help you stand out. Let me know what you liked or disliked about this article. Will you be using these tips in your business?