content that creates engagement

It’s all very well producing a raft of content, but you need that work to resonate with your audience. Satisfactory content can result in a boost in rankings and an increase in traffic but great content inspires interaction and ultimately, leads to conversions.

I’m all for concentrating on your core goals, such as increasing traffic or raising brand awareness, but content marketing is so much more than that. By focusing attention on initiating audience engagement or generating leads through your content, you can really get the most out of your content marketing efforts. After all, what Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) wouldn’t want to be able to demonstrate considerable ROI from a targeted content campaign?

Be controversial

A great way of encouraging your audience to comment or produce a follow-up post is to write content on a controversial topic. Of course avoid anything defamatory or open to offence, such as sexual or religious content, but don’t be afraid to challenge existing beliefs.

Likewise why not try piggy-backing on a scandalous news story and putting your own take on it? Hot topic news stories that are trending on Twitter are best used straight away so you can capitalise on this buzz. If you can get your piece of content on site quickly, you can expect increased social shares.

Controversial content tends to generate the most traffic to a site, so once you’ve got your audience’s attention, don’t lose them. Make sure you have strong conversion-inspiring content on your site, to push visitors through the sales funnel, such as how-to guides, infographics or case studies. It doesn’t matter if they don’t convert straight away, or even for weeks or months – your audience will know that your site is a helpful industry resource and authority.

Above all, remember that you are representing your brand, so don’t produce anything that goes against your company’s manifesto.

Ask your audience a question

The best way to garner a response from your audience is to ask them a question. This could involve more than the stock direct question: ‘So what do you think?’ at the bottom of your post. Rather, you could be more subtle by asking a rhetorical question in your content. This could softly motivate readers to respond with their own views on the subject. Likewise, you could create a piece involving multiple stakeholders with varying opinions. That way, your audience can choose to agree/disagree with certain views, or can write their own response.

Don’t get too technical with your questioning – particularly if you have a wide audience demographic. Ask questions that don’t require an essay-like response. If participants can respond in a few words then all the better!

Harness the power of social media

Promote, promote, promote! The best way to encourage a response from your audience is to get your content in front of them. Use appropriate social channels to reach your target market; if Facebook doesn’t work well for your B2B business, then use Google Plus, Twitter and LinkedIn instead. Don’t be afraid to reach out to influencers within your industry and ask them to promote your content too – that way you get your message out to the masses.

When your audience does share or interact with your content, be sure to thank them or engage in a conversation. The more nurtured they feel, the more likely they are to spread the word about your brand.

Generating a response from your potential audience increases the reach of your brand in a competitive online environment – one that is getting flooded with mediocre content. Any feedback or reactions from your readers can also be used to create better content for the future and address any gaps you might have. So don’t hold back – get your readers involved in your marketing strategy to produce the best quality results-driven content.