Content rests at the heart of most of your branding and marketing strategies. It’s a perfect platform to build and exercise your brand voice, it serves as fuel for your social media marketing, and if written with keywords and proper subjects in mind, it can increase your ranks in major search engines.
While there are a number of best practices you’ll have to follow in order to maximize the reach and effectiveness of your content, there’s one quality that surpasses all of them in importance: your content needs to be interesting. If it isn’t interesting, people won’t read it and you won’t get the traction you need to be successful in your marketing campaign.
Fortunately, there are several strategies you can use to make your content more interesting:
People love reading stories. Any method you can use to transform all or part of your content into a story is going to be valuable for your overall reach. For example, instead of explaining a specific problem and how to go about solving that problem, you could invent a character and use a narrative to illustrate that problem (as well as its solution). You could also use real-life examples as miniature stories to showcase your points, or simply turn your content into an interactive step-by-step guide with a beginning, a middle, and an end. Stories captivate people; don’t forget it.
Theoretical posts and news updates can all be very interesting features, but making your content actionable is a surefire strategy to make your piece more interesting. By actionable, I mean including steps or advice in the body of the article that makes its subject matter both practical and executable for the reader. Anyone reading the article should not only understand what the article is saying, but also how the information in the article can be applied to his/her own life. The easiest way to do this is to transform your content into an interactive tutorial, though this isn’t possible for all content types.
People have short attention spans. There’s nothing wrong with having strictly written content for some articles, as long as you segment it into subsections, but if you want to amp up the “interesting” factor, include different mediums. Use an infographic to illustrate your point, or include stock photography that highlights different sections of your work. You could even embed a YouTube video that demonstrates a walkthrough of the steps you outlined in writing. Get more attention through visuals and your audience will become more engaged.
As a general rule for content strategies, you want your material to be evergreen—meaning it will be just as valuable on a random date five years from now as it is today. However, if you’re looking for short-term bursts to make your content more interesting to your current audience, you can leverage the power of recent trends. Look for industry news that has shaken up the market, or wider public incidents that have garnered a ton of attention. Find a way to work these topics into your material, and promote them as much as possible for as long as the trend remains.
People are tired of reading regurgitated material. Incorporate more original facts and statistics into your work wherever possible to make it more interesting. Using facts, as long as you cite them, makes you appear more authoritative, and makes users feel more connected to the story they’re reading. Your best bet is to perform the research yourself and publish the results, which can serve as content by itself. If you don’t have the time or resources for this, feel free to use statistics posted by third party authorities.
You can’t write content for “everyone” and have it be interesting. You’re much better off writing content for a very specific target audience and highlighting subjects and ideas that are important to members of that audience. For example, if your company caters to young men, go out of your way to select topics and write in a style that would uniquely appeal to young men. It’s up to you to discover who your core audience is and which content factors are most interesting to them. Once you find those out, you can start weaving them seamlessly into your campaign.
Finally, write in a more playful, conversational tone and don’t be afraid to include some humor. Nobody wants to read some humorless textbook-like article when they’re looking for quick facts or a news update. Even the strictest professionals look for a little levity in their online reading material. When writing your content, don’t be afraid to inject your own personal voice into the material as well. Giving it a personal, down-to-earth feel will make it more approachable for new audiences and, of course, more interesting.
The best way to improve over the long term is to make changes in an iterative process. Measure how effective your content currently is, make one change at a time, and take more measurements to see how each change affects your overall impact. This way, you’ll know exactly which changes to exaggerate and how to improve your content further in the future. Remember content marketing is a long-term strategy, so don’t be discouraged if it takes a while to find your perfect groove.
Want more information on content marketing? Head over to our comprehensive guide on content marketing here: The All-in-One Guide to Planning and Launching a Content Marketing Strategy.