Sometimes, trying to write compelling content can feel like you’re trying to break into a safe. It’s as if there’s a code, and once you discover it you can open yourself up to new conversions. But, fortunately or unfortunately, writing doesn’t work that way. Compelling content is not locked away behind a door. The secret to writing compelling content is realizing that there is no secret.
Good content engages with its audience, fills a need and calls to action. Over time, you may lose steam or even lose touch with these principles. However, if engagement lulls or if you feel like you’re in a creative rut, revisiting these principles is the first step you can take to create compelling content.
Get Reacquainted with Your Audience
Whether you are cranking out content monthly, weekly or even daily, it’s easy to lose perspective when it comes to your work. As you fall into your writing flow, it is only natural to view your content through the eyes of the writer. You likely have an idea of what you consider compelling and engaging content, and you know how you express it through writing. As you brainstorm, write and read your work – that is what you’ll see.
However, it might not be what your audience sees. Audience research was important when you first started your brand, and it’s just as important now. However, now, you have an advantage that you didn’t before: you already have an existing audience. According to Neil Patel, engagement is critical. An audience that engages with your brand is far more valuable than one that passes through based on the keywords that you use. Use your audience to help determine the place you can grow.
Look for trends in the comment sections on high and low-performing posts, if applicable. Are the viewers leaving questions? Is there an over-arching theme? Even if most of the comments are not helpful in this sense, all it takes is one interesting comment to get the creativity flowing.
This is also social media’s time to shine. Many platforms have polling capabilities – choose the platform where you have the most engagement and post a poll. Determine the themes you write about and ask your audience through the poll what they want to see more of. You can even include an “other” option and let your audience reply with a topic they find interesting that you might not have thought of. Engaging with your audience this way can help break you out of writer mode and enter audience mode. When you assess your content through the lens of your audience, blind spots and areas of potential will reveal themselves.
Creativity does not just apply to your subject matter. Sometimes, your audience won’t be looking for an ultra-niche or unique topic. When you’re creating engaging content, try to apply your creativity to your writing style and format. Shake up the way you present information. For example, if you have a plan for a blog post, assess whether you can present the information differently. Instead of a blog post, maybe you can distill information into an infographic. Infographics are easy to share on social media and are easily accessible – your audience may not always have the energy to read an entire blog post.
If you’re conducting an interview, play with the different ways you can present information. You can record the interview and post the video, write up an abridged version of the interview in a blog post or even transcribe the interview. Don’t be afraid to play with your writing style, as well. Try conversational, formal or even more lyrical tones. Consider your audience and the media they consume to determine the styles to which they may respond. See what sticks! Writing is an experimental medium. You have the freedom to play with style and form, so don’t be afraid to try new things. If something doesn’t work, move on. There’s no harm in trying!
Never Stop Growing as a Writer
If you feel as if your audience engagement is plateauing, it could be because you as a writer are plateauing. It’s easy to stay in your comfort zone. You might not even realize you’re doing it. When most of the writing you consume is your own, there’s not much room to expand and grow. Fortunately, the most effective way to grow as a writer is to read. Read what your writing friends are producing, what your competition is producing and what you find interesting. You will subconsciously notice trends and uncover the techniques and styles you find interesting.
You can also practice writing with writing exercises. Have a friend send you five random words and force yourself to use all five in whatever format you find interesting, whether it’s prose or poetry. Writing improves with practice, so force yourself out of your comfort zone and see what you uncover.
Content Marketing Institute suggests taking passages from previous work and rewriting it to avoid “I” and “we” statements, as well as unnecessary phrases such as “that being said,” qualifiers and intensifiers, “to be” conjugations and prepositions. This exercise helps you become more concise with your writing.
You can refine your writing skills any way you see fit. As long as you push yourself, improvement becomes evident in your content writing. The more skilled you are at communicating an idea, the more inspired your audience will feel and the more engaged they’ll be in your content.
Creating Compelling Content
Compelling content should engage your audience, fill a need and call to action. When these principles feel out of reach, hone your skills by reaching out to your audience to get reacquainted with their interests, push the boundaries of your creativity to present information in an interesting way and develop your skills by reading and practicing.
Strengthening your skills doesn’t happen overnight – that happens when you experiment and practice. Remember, writing is as much of a journey for a writer as it is for their audience. Compelling content is created when an audience and a writer grow in tandem and inspire the other to move out of their comfort zone and grow.
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