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Crafting Compelling Content Part 4: Mastering effective writing styles and audience engagement  

During this 4-part series, we’ve covered absolutely everything you need to know about planning, creating and sharing compelling content. Now we’re really getting into the nitty-gritty of what it takes to make your content as persuasive and memorable as possible.

In the age of AI, where more companies are relying on the likes of Bard and ChatGPT for content creation than ever before, the need for stand-out content that cuts through the noise is perhaps even more prevalent. Even with the advanced capabilities of modern technology (which can certainly assist with the content creation process), you still need a brief and, ideally, a professional copywriter and/or content specialist on board for the best results. 

If you’re going at it alone, this guide was written for you. In this simple-to-understand series, we’ve outlined all the essential aspects of the content creation process – from formats and audience to analytics. Full disclosure – copywriting is a specialist skill, and it’s not possible to learn absolutely everything you need to know overnight (or after reading one blog). But through taking the time to get acquainted with these tools and techniques you can produce and manage killer content more effectively.  

In the last instalment of this 4-part series on compelling content creation, we delve into the final few things you need to know about crafting unforgettable content, and share some tips and techniques to help you uplevel your online presence and supercharge your marketing strategy.  

Effective writing styles

First, let’s dive into the different writing techniques and styles you can learn and implement to enhance the appeal of your content. When we’re immersed in reading excellent content, we rarely pay much attention to what actually makes it so compelling. But it takes a lot of skill to persuade, inspire and connect with your audience on an emotional level. The way in which you write and use words is crucial in order to form a positive impression of your brand and offering and deliver key messages meaningfully. Structure is also important, ensuring that readers feel drawn to your content and can consume it easily. 

These tips can help you to understand how to approach writing content effectively. Remember – keep what your audience wants in mind when writing, rather than what you want. 

1/ Clarity and conciseness is important

Attention spans are shorter than ever before – and that’s changed the way we use written content to engage with potential customers and clients. In the past, bigger was better – long paragraphs filled with lots of fancy text about how great you are and how you could help your customer. But now, the goal is to say as much as possible within a shorter space of time – getting to the point within a few sentences rather than a few paragraphs. 

Being punchy and succinct with your copy is key – it demonstrates first and foremost that you ‘get’ your customer and respect their time. Frustrated audiences quickly turn away from anything that feels like hard work, so strive to keep condensing and refining your message as clearly and concisely as possible. 

2/ Use persuasive language and storytelling techniques 

The use of persuasive language and storytelling techniques is well known in the marketing space – because they’re powerful tools which can help you to drive home your message in a way that invites engagement, evokes emotion and captures attention. Examples of this include cleverly using descriptive language to inspire, a strong narrative to help foster a deeper connection, rhetorical devices which encourage memorability and developing hard-to-ignore hooks to draw consumers in.

Again, these are all high-level copywriting skills which can take years to cultivate – but to get started, consider what you want to say and then think about what your audience needs to hear in order for them to understand you. Then employ one of the above techniques (or a blend of techniques depending on the nature of the content you’re producing) to drive your message home. 

Doing this can help you to more easily tap into their wants and needs and create content that communicates the benefits of your offering more effectively. 

3/ Maintaining a consistent tone and voice across content

One crucial aspect of copywriting and content development companies often fail to nail down is tone of voice (or TOV for short).

The first thing you need to consider is what tone you’re using to communicate with your audience – if you already have a brand kit and pre-determined TOV, that’s easy, but if not you’ll have some work to do. Once TOV has been established, you’ll then need to maintain this across all content on all platforms – which is no mean feat especially if you have multiple individuals or agencies involved in the delivery of your creative collateral. 

Getting this right involves properly briefing and in some cases training internal or external team members to ensure they’re staying consistent in the way they communicate with your target customers. 

Strategies for audience engagement

Acquiring (and maintaining) audience engagement is often one of the most frustrating and seemingly impossible challenges businesses come to us with. Brands usually have a good idea about who they’re targeting, but they’re not aware of the various strategies and skills needed to be able to reach them effectively. If this sounds familiar, keep reading. 

A huge following on a platform or thousands of website views per hour mean nothing without engagement. Engagement is the action (or reaction) – where the emotional connection has been established and there’s an investment made on some level in your brand. When we talk about engagement, think of attention as currency – effectively what you’re asking your audience to do is spend their time, energy and attention with you (in turn encouraging them to spend real cash later down the line). 

This of course is easier said than done – because much of this process (and the ‘why’ element) of paying attention to things is subconscious. Most brands are bewildered when it comes to creating content that inspires the type of audience engagement they need. Thankfully though there are a number of strategies available to keep your audience engaged with your content.

How can you encourage audience participation and interaction?

When your audience is actively engaged, they effortlessly interact with your brand on a regular basis. This type of engagement not only helps you to reach more target audience members – it also helps you to make the most of the customer base you currently have. 

Audience participation cannot be forced and there’s no quick fix or ‘one size fits all’ hack to achieve it – and that’s where a lot of brands get it wrong. It has to feel like an independent, natural decision. They have to be subconsciously inspired to take that action – so consider how you’re speaking to your audience and what you’re doing to attract them or at the least trigger their curiosity. Although incentives like giveaways, competitions and Q&As can help, consistently sharing good quality content is the best way to excite and continuously engage an audience.  

Employing visuals, headlines and formatting to uplevel content engagement

If you want to stand out, you’ll need to pay attention to more than just the written aspect of your content. This isn’t a design-focused series but it’s important to touch upon the symbiotic relationship between the actual content itself and the way it’s presented. 

Most of us have struggled to read content because it was too small, the wrong colour or laid out in a nonsensical fashion due to a corrupted link or non-responsive web page. As we touched on above, you’ve got a lot less time now to secure the focus of a potential customer before they quickly get side-tracked by something more attractive or move on out of sheer frustration. Ensure that your ideas and written content are accompanied by intelligent, intuitive and well-informed design which when done right can do much of the heavy lifting for you in terms of attracting and retaining consumer attention.

Creating content that sparks discussions and comments

Some of the most successful content out there is controversial – it challenges opinions and sparks conversations. Although striking the balance between innovative and offensive is tricky (and definitely not for the amateur or faint-hearted), companies can use this type of approach to their advantage. Try using topics and headlines that spark strong emotional responses amongst your audience, such as covering pet peeves and common problems. Many brands like to ‘trick’ users into consuming content by presenting them with a controversial statement which encourages them to read more, or through highlighting complaints or issues that resonate so strongly with them that they feel compelled to join the conversation.

Monitoring and responding to audience feedback

Proactive monitoring is key to help you keep tabs on how engaged your audience is, and how positively they are responding to the content you’re putting out. The quickest and easiest way to know you’ve put off your audience is a slurry of comments expressing confusion, repulsion or rebuttal. Nobody gets it right all the time – so if this happens to you, be sure to jump on it straight away.  

Positive feedback deserves some attention, too. Responding to all types of feedback in a genuine and timely manner is an engagement strategy in itself, as algorithms love to see activity and interaction on their platforms. 

Measuring and improving content engagement

Planning and creating content requires plenty of money, time and effort – so you want to be sure that you’re pouring your resources into something that works. That’s where measuring and improving content engagement comes in – not as a one-off, set-up stage task but instead as a continuous process which helps you to further refine your content creation approach. 

Even the biggest brands who put out viral content make a point of reviewing what’s worked well (and more importantly, what hasn’t).  Brands who want to stay relevant need to prioritise analysing their content performance and making improvements continuously.

Unfortunately measuring the performance of your content and determining how much of an impression it’s made on your audience is easier said than done. Even with contemporary tools and technologies, a blended approach is often required to ensure that you’ve covered all bases.  

What metrics should you track to measure content engagement?

Engagement is a notoriously tricky thing to measure. Sadly there’s no single metric that can magically measure your content’s performance and tell you how engaged your audience are for you. Instead, you’ll need to gather as much current, relevant data for your campaigns or content pieces and then use this to reveal key insights into audience behaviours and how they’re interacting with your brand through the content you produce. 

Metrics you can use to get an impression of engagement on your content depend on the platform your content is shared upon. For websites, you may be looking at metrics like page views, time spent on page bounce rate and click-through rate (CTR for short). On social media, likes, reactions, views, comments and shares are often the most tangible markers of audience engagement.  

These metrics might also change depending on the nature of the content and the stage you’re at within your business. Product launches, start-ups and rebrands all require different types of engagement and therefore slightly different approaches are required when it comes to determining how effective they are. 

How can you use analytics to identify areas for improvement?

Collating and compiling data in an easy-to-analyse format should give you a clearer impression of which content is working well and which leaves room for improvement. Identifying areas for improvement is a two-fold process – first, consider what wider, overarching goals you need content to deliver. Then you can drill down on the specifics – what type of engagement do you want, and what type of engagement is each piece of content delivering? 

Bottom Line

That brings us to the end of this piece on employing effective writing styles and securing and measuring audience engagement – and it’s also the end of our mini-series on crafting compelling content. If you haven’t read them yet, check out the other articles on the art of content creation here. 

Compelling content is absolutely crucial for audience engagement. Without creative, inspiring content that truly engages and connects with your audience, it’s difficult to make your mark and stay memorable online. That’s why it’s well worth investing the time and resources on for businesses that want to make their mark and experience more significant and sustainable growth online. 

In this series we’ve also covered identifying and understanding your target audience, different content formats and their benefits and killer copywriting techniques to uplevel your content strategy. We’re not going anywhere – so feel free to dip back into any of these articles if you need to or contact our team if you find you need professional support. 

For more on content creation and audience engagement, head over to our blog or find out more about our content writing services.

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