This is a guest post by Felix Tarcomnicu. He wrote for Entrepreneur.com, NBC News, Huffington Post and many more. And now I'm proud to publish one of his amazing articles! Take it away Felix.
In addition to having websites transition to mobile responsive design, Google also advised website owners to focus on regularly updating their content.
Search engines want fresh, engaging content on your website not just keyword-rich postings. Great content will make site visitors stay and explore further. On the other hand, poorly written and ill-structured content leave the site visitor no incentive to stay and read on. They would opt out of your website and move to other links.
Writing engaging content is challenging but not impossible. Here are five tips to write user engaging content:
1. Get creative with your opening statement
If you’re at a seminar, how would you react if the speaker started the discussion by spewing off a hundred statistics per minute? Perhaps one or two statistical facts to validate a position will be advisable but the audience would not want to wrestle with numbers especially when these are accessible with an Internet search.
When writing, you need to remember that a reader’s decision to stay on your page would greatly depend on your opening statement. Thus, the quest to engage starts from your opening sentence. You have to reel in your audience, give them a reason to stay and explore your content further.
Here are a few suggestions for your opening statement:
- Ask a rhetorical question.
- Share a relevant anecdote.
- Use a thought-provoking statement.
- Invoke a familiar yet relevant, quotation.
- Apply humor.
2. Establish an Ethical Conundrum
An ethical conundrum is a statement of fact; perhaps an event that has already occurred, but still places the reader in a position to agree or disagree with the decision.
An example of an ethical conundrum would be the popular acceptance of the American general public on the transition of celebrity Bruce Jenner to his new persona of Caitlyn Jenner, yet indifference and scorn toward Rachel Dolezal; the Caucasian woman who presented herself as African American for most of her adult life. Both personalities transitioned because they were not comfortable with their biological identity thus assumed new personas who they felt represented who they really were.
A conundrum exists because Jenner was hailed a hero; embraced by society and rewarded with close to $500 Million in endorsement deals while Dolezal was branded a criminal; vilified in society and forced to relinquish her job which sought to help Afican-Americans although essentially both personalities were under similar circumstances.
This example by itself will surely get readers to tap furiously away at their keyboards; each party racing to see who gets their opinions posted first, because of the sensitivity of the issue.
3. Use First and Second Person perspectives
In order to create engaging content, you have to structure your article from a perspective which establishes a conversation with your audience. Thus, it is recommended that you write from the First or Second Person Point-Of-View rather than in the Third Person.
Engagement means the reader is right there in the heart of your content. You should be addressing the heart of the content to your audience. Your reader is not on the sidelines witnessing events unfold. He is vicariously living in the moment as depicted in the events that unravel as the reader continues his journey to explore your content.
First and Second Person POV works simply because your audience is made up of different personalities each with their own unique interpretations and opinions on the issues you are raising in your article. Some will agree, some will not agree and some may remain indifferent and stay on the fences; perhaps in need of more time to digest the meat and potatoes of your content.
For sure however, you will continue to receive comments, suggestions, even rebuttals in the days and weeks after your article has been published.
4. Place the reader in a situation
One of the best ways to create engagement is to present a situation to your audience and give them the opportunity to provide solutions if they were in your position.
An example would be the recent referendum in Greece. You could write an article that places your readers in the same position as the Greeks who had to vote on their future in the European community; a vote that has both historical and world-wide implications. Another one would present a situation concerning you, the writer.
An example would be, “I was in the middle of an important presentation to a client that I had worked so hard to land a meeting with when I receive a text message from my brother who shared that our father had a stroke and needed blood transfusion. Right there and then, I was caught in a dilemma of finishing my presentation or driving off to the hospital to donate blood. I made the decision to soldier on and finish my presentation. It was a decision which I would have regretted for the rest of my life.”
Definitely, the situation would trigger supporters and dissenters. In other words, engagement!
5. Maximize your ability to create imagery
Although videos and images generate higher levels of engagement, writing can be equally effective by resorting to colorful imagery.
A great writer is one who can transpose words into images in the minds of his readers. He is able to transport them to his world and see images through his own eyes. This is the power of story-telling.
SEO professionals and social media marketers have regularly emphasized the value of keywords which have their purpose in having your content found. What happens after the Internet user has come across your content is a whole new different story that has a higher level of significance. If your content is not engaging, chances are your reader will leave your web page.
Story-telling has the ability to engage because it is successful in creating imagery. A good story will always enthrall readers and capture their imagination. After all, who doesn’t like to hear a good story?
Writing is a skill that we learn as soon as we can hold on to a pencil. But while people can write not everyone can write engagingly. You need to practice, put in the hours and do the research. If time becomes a factor, hire a freelance writer but make it a point to learn about the way he writes.
More about Felix:
Felix works with OutsourceWorkers.com.au, a company specialized in providing virtual assistant outsourcing services. He helps entrepreneurs connect with virtual assistants that can handle content marketing, SEO, admin tasks and more. You can connect with him on Twitter.