How engaging is your website content? Reader or user engagement ensures that people remain interested in the topic, keeping them informed while slowly drawing them into a sales funnel, even unintentionally. That is the magic of engagement. So long as people are engaged, you can convince them of arguments, start a sales pitch, or lead them to other places you want them to go.
So how exactly does one craft engaging website content?
Calling Readers to Action Directly (Or Subtly)
An easy and straightforward means to engage readers is to tell them to — that is to say, call them to action to follow links that discuss similar topics or related subject matter, thereby effectively engaging them in the context of the website content they are reading. Simple links, further reading, and citing online sources, even without an explicit call to action, is still a subtle and recommended method of engagement. Not only do the links afford readers more information, it also helps link building. Citing sources also ensures that your data is reliable and your claims are based on authority — or at least an informed source.
And then there is directly recommending links to go to. Several options are available here, but the most ideal is to point readers to webpages within your own website or websites within your own website network, to make sure your own website content receives the traffic. This also ensures that the engagement stays in the confines of your website or network, ready to be leveraged for a sales pitch for conversion or lead generation. A nifty trick is to offer a free trial of a related service or product — user engagement at its finest: you increase engagement, create a lead, and qualify said lead for sale.
For further user engagement, you might as well strive to go viral through social syndication. Different social networking and sharing sites offer different ways to do this, so target as many as you like: from Facebook’s Likes and Shares to Twitter’s Tweets; from Google’s +1s to Pinterest’s Pins; and there are a number of others. Don’t hesitate to spread word around relevant Reddit, StumbleUpon, and Digg communities and even targeted news sites like NewsBoiler.com’s N4G, TechSpy, or 11×2, if applicable.
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Social integration succeeds in furthering social engagement only if you know which communities to spread word to. Also, you need to craft the right sort of content for each community. So use your original website content as a base and repurpose it for Facebook posts, Pins, Tweets, and other optimised formats to maximise social engagement. Make use of special social networking tools like mentioning names on Facebook, the hashtag topic tracker and the @mentions for Twitter, and so on. The goal is to reach the right audience through as many channels as possible, using as many means applicable.
Inherent Writing Style
Of course, calls to action and social engagement through sharing and syndication of specifically tailored social content is auxiliary to the best way to craft engaging website content: the inherent writing style used in the article or copy. A professional and expert level of writing that can show authority either through experience or research is only part of the reason why businesses are better off hiring professional writers. The other main reason is because these writers can craft engaging content through style — if given specific instructions. Anyone can write generic content, but it takes an actual writer to weave words with style, acuity, and technique to engage readers merely by reading.
This engagement in reading manifests itself by how viral or “shareable” website content becomes. High-quality, well-crafted website content is a magnet for comments, shares, links, and traffic. Even if a piece of content does not do well with engagement initially because of different reasons, it will still draw in much needed organic traffic. Some styles that writers use to create engaging content include:
- A different or unique approach to a topic — Feature article writers know the importance of timeliness in news. They also know that by disconnecting a feature article from the need to be timely by varying the approach to the topic, they can craft content that does not need to be tied down to current events, but instead rely on human interest and curiosity.
- Discussion / Debate Bait — Setting off a discussion between readers, or a debate, is a good way to start an avalanche of engaging content. An article ends with its conclusion, but the comments section below it can carry on the discussion. The problem with this, however, is how easily a comment thread can become sidetracked by irresponsible comments and baseless banter.
- Analyses and analogies — As very effective methods of making readers think and comprehend a message, analyses and analogies are also quite effective in engaging readers enough to want to read more, know more, share, or even BUY. Several methods of analyses exist, as well as analogies, and a skilled writer can enrich these through humour, intensity, sarcasm, and more. Analyses and analogies also help spark debates and further discussions, as well as assist in proving authority or knowledge over the subject matter. It even makes it easier to link to something else analysed or used in an analogy for comparison purposes, which of course acts as subtle calls to action as mentioned earlier.
- Paradigm Used — The basic paradigm of any article is the trifecta of introduction, body, and conclusion. Experienced website content writers know that good content needs more of an inverted pyramid paradigm: the conclusion or part of it is mentioned in the introduction, then the body can support the introduction and further expound on points, culminating into a coup de grace conclusion with a summary of takeaways and call to action. But these are just basic paradigms. A good opinion article can play with paradigms effectively and engage its readers — so too can a great website content article.
Combine these methods for user or reader engagement and you have great website content that brings in traffic, increased conversion, and simply “shareable” in nature.