How to Create Engaging Content
With all the recent hype around 'content marketing' it becomes easy to forget that this…
In my last post I talked about how to increase sign-ups to your email newsletter. But once people have signed up, how can you ensure that you always provide them with content that they will find relevant and interesting?
A good place to start is by featuring practical articles that offer useful ‘inside information’ (ie something interesting that they don’t already know) relating to the specific subject that they signed-up to. Whilst your articles should always be well-researched, a highly opinionated approach given in a forthright style can often make your article much more interesting and engaging – as well as provoking more responses and discussion amongst your readers.
Act like a publisher rather than a promoter, focusing on your reader’s needs instead of just talking about how good your company is. Articles should strike a balance between value-added and relevant product-orientated material – a good rule of thumb is 75:25 value-added to product-related content. The provision of value-added material should not be dependent on the reader purchasing your product or service. Instead, you could inform readers about a developing area that is relevant to their interests, and then mention within the article how your product can help them to benefit in this new area. This approach can boost your perceived relevance and expertise in the field.
Content often falls into one of the falling six categories:
a. Outlining the situation/ problem
b. Moving towards finding a solution
c. The chosen product/ service
d. The results achieved (business and personal)
It’s a good idea to build a ‘bank’ of relevant articles that can be used for upcoming issues of your email newsletter. The more contributors you have, the easier this becomes (so long as you have a designated editor responsible for maintaining overall quality control). Once you have a selection of potential articles at your disposal, you could consider customising your newsletter – matching the most relevant articles to particular groups of readers who have either expressed an interest in that topic, or are highly likely to be interested, based on their previous activity. For example, a computer vendor could customise the content of their newsletter to PC users and Apple Mac users.
The use of ‘dynamic template’ software can help automate this customisation process, by using pre-set rules to populate the newsletter template with different articles and imagery, personalised to individual customer sub-groups. National or international organisations can also use this technology to incorporate local-interest stories, based on the reader’s geographic location.
But, at the end of the day as long as you ensure that you keep your newsletter content interesting, useful and relevant to your specific target audience then you shouldn’t go too far wrong! Are there any additional general principles which you have found to work well when generating content for your own regular newsletter communications?
If you’re interested in exploring this area in more detail (together with relevant examples), you might like my recent book ‘Successful Marketing Communications’. If you have any thoughts or comments, do drop me a line below.