Businesses produce content for their audience for a number of reasons. They either want to gain more exposure, generate more leads, or collect consumer data. No matter what your intentions are behind the content you produce, it’s not enough to just keep throwing out content without thinking about it.
Nowadays, it’s not enough to post regularly. You need to put out content that is not only enjoyable but something that moves people. It doesn’t matter if you post content every day, if nobody is reading and reacting to it, it will all go to waste.
Luckily, there are several ways by which you can increase audience engagement, and these techniques are easy to pull off. The only thing you need to remember is that these techniques, while simple, require a lot of dedication and attention to detail.
Discover Who Your Target Audience Is
If you want audience engagement, you need to figure out who your readers are. Many companies have filtered their content to serve a particular type of audience, only to find later that their engagement is coming from a completely different demographic altogether. So instead of publishing specific types of content to attract a targeted demographic, find out who engages with your content the most and publish content that caters to them.
Luckily, it’s easy to find out who your audience is. There are several tools you can use to see who is reading your content. On certain platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn, you can even find out what their occupations and interests are.
For example, if you run a dieting website, you will most likely write content for bodybuilders and diet trend fanatics. However, if analytics tells you that a large portion of your readers are actually new mothers, it may mean that articles about post-pregnancy dieting and low-maintenance weight loss programs may give you more engagement.
Get Answers Straight From Your Audience
Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to know exactly what our readers want? Actually, there is an easy way to do that - just ask them! Nowadays, readers are sophisticated enough to know exactly what they want, and they’re not afraid to make their views known. Every now and then, ask your audience for feedback regarding your content. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to get the answers you need.
You can ask them if they like a certain type of content in the last part of your article. You can also create polls asking your audience if they like your content and ask for suggestions about what type of content they would like to see more of in the future. Social media savvy people, in particular, love sharing their opinions. Just make sure to take it all in stride as some people will not express their views in a civil manner.
Utilize User-Generated Content
How do you guarantee that your readers will comment, react and share your content? Easy - just feature content that includes them. User-generated content means content that your users will tag or include you in. For example, if you are a makeup company and users are posting selfies of themselves wearing your makeup, it is in your best interest to share them.
Users love it when their content is featured by the company they support. If you share their content, they will most likely share your post and tag everyone they know. Sharing user-generated content also means you are in touch with your audience.
Frequently Change Content Formats
Content doesn’t just mean blog posts and articles. It comes in all shapes and forms and posting only one kind of content can get boring real fast. Even if your blog posts are informative and substantial, if that’s all you publish, your audience will start looking elsewhere.
Website owners, in particular, are fond of long-form content, or content that is composed of more than a thousand words. This is because the length of engagement is important to website owners as the more time your viewers spend on a particular page, the more reputable it is.
However, short-form content such as social media captions and infographics may not be as substantial, but it is more engaging in many ways. This is particularly true in social media, where users usually scroll through lots of content on their newsfeed. Short-form content allows your content to be seen, understood and felt in a matter of seconds, making it easier for users to digest and engage with.
When you’re planning your content ahead of time, make sure to throw in different types of content to keep things interesting. Also, it’s better to keep long-form content on your website, and using short-form content for your social media accounts.
Create a Content Calendar
While it might be tempting to simply go with the flow in terms of publishing content, it’s better to plan ahead using a content calendar. With a content calendar, you create a schedule of what you will post and when. Some people may get away with simply typing whatever’s on their mind when it’s time to publish a post, but there are many benefits to planning your content ahead of time.
For one, it allows you to plan out what topics you need to cover and ensures you don’t miss anything important. If you’re simply writing and posting on the go, you may forget important topics and keywords that you need to cover to increase your article or post’s visibility.
Planning your posts ahead of time also ensures you don’t accidentally offend anybody with your posts. If you type things off the top of your head, it might sound okay right now, but once you go over it a couple of times, you may realize that your post is very discriminating or insensitive. A lot of companies and well-known individuals have posted things they shouldn’t have because they didn’t plan ahead and give themselves enough time to think things through.
And remember, while getting hate from people may technically be considered as audience engagement, negative attention is not something you want to have, especially if you’re trying to develop a reputable business.
Wrapping Things Up
As we stated earlier, these techniques are no-brainers; however, audience engagement is not something you get instantly. You have to work on publishing engaging content continuously before you start to see results. Audience engagement techniques require dedication and constant adjustment as you learn more about your audience with every post you make.