Last summer, MPSToolbox entered HubSpot's Community Blog Contest and we placed second! Here's the piece we wrote on creating engaging content.
Are you often tasked with writing “engaging and click-worthy content” in an industry that isn’t exactly exciting? I couldn’t relate more. I write for B2B dealers in the imaging industry. So, basically, I write about printers.
I know what you’re thinking—how can you possibly make printers exciting in 2022?! The simple (and only) answer is that I don’t have a choice. The company I work for works with B2B customers and that is what they sell, which means I’ve had to figure out a way to make it work.
Another way to look at it: your content can’t be boring if you’re writing it for an audience who will benefit from it or enjoy it. Shift your mentality—you need to try to see things through their lens. What interests the end-user should fascinate you as the writer.
Here are seven noteworthy tips that I have learned and adapted from marketing experts that really work.
We’ve seen an increase in monthly readers, and “time on site” metrics have skyrocketed.
1. Do Your Research
If you want your content to be read, you can’t be lazy—you need to put in the work. Before sitting down to write, you should plan some time to do your research. Look up what people are asking/searching for in relation to your topic. An excellent resource for this is Quora.
Then, figure out what to make of that information. How can you incorporate that into your piece? You should also use this newfound information to build your angle (you always need an angle, by the way). If your readers can’t relate to your topic, they aren’t going to waste their time.
2. What’s the Point?
Blogs should present information and have a point at the end. Your audience is looking for a recommendation, an assertion, or an opinion. You need to make sure your point will be clear to your reader. It also doesn’t hurt to summarize it again at the end.
3. Make Your Content Easy to Digest
This is simple but one of the most important lessons I’ve learned. People are busy—so you need to make your content easily digestible for them. Here’s how.
Your content should be easy to read.
- Write in short sentences and don’t overcomplicate it.
Break your content up into bite-sized chunks.
- Smaller paragraphs seem less intimidating (it’s a mind game but it does work). Lists are also a great way to do this.
Add images and videos.
- If you can find some images and/or videos that relate to your topic, this will help illustrate your ideas and drive home any points you’re trying to make. It also makes your content more visually appealing and gives you the opportunity for further branding.
Don’t be afraid to add real stats.
- Draw your reader’s attention by using real statistics and facts. This will help legitimize your point and it can also evoke emotion. For example, if you’re writing about how cybercrime has increased significantly since COVID-19 began and people started working from home, you could say “email scams related to COVID-19 surged 667% in March alone (Barracuda Networks, 2020).” This is a staggering statistic that will make many business owners take action (or at least take note).
Make important information stand out.
- Don’t be afraid to use callouts, bold important information, or put some text in italics so that it stands out.
- Using different headers is also visually appealing and makes it look less overwhelming to your busy reader.
Most people will skim your content (in fact, according to Buffer (2016), 55% of readers will spend a whopping 15 seconds on a long-form article). You need to make it easy for them to skim your content and get the main takeaway. Hopefully, that’ll be enough to build interest and keep them reading.
Real life example: Once (on behalf of a client), I had to write about expiring copy leases, which can be super frustrating and time-consuming for business owners in our industry, so they typically just let them expire and deal with the expensive consequences. Also—a pretty mundane and boring topic. I decided to turn the piece into something positive and wrote about how an expiring copier lease can be a good thing and why/what to do about it. This client’s CTR shot up 45%. That’s significant.
4. Don’t Forget to Add Personality
Unless you’re writing a research paper, your content should have a dash of personality in it. Don’t be afraid to make it fun and on-brand. You need to talk to your readers—don’t write AT them. It is more entertaining to read a piece of content when you feel like an active participant in the conversation.
5. Remember Why You’re Writing This (and Who Your Audience Is)
With every sentence you should be asking yourself these questions:
- Who am I writing this for? Why do they care?
- How am I helping them? Am I adding value?
- Why am I writing this? What do I want my readers to take away from this?
- What action do I want them to take after reading this? Call me? Fill out a form? Download a PDF?
At the end of the day, you’re writing FOR your readers. If they won’t find any value in your content, then you shouldn’t be writing it. You have to make it relatable to them—otherwise, what’s the point?
6. Use Assertive Language
Again, this is dependent on the topic, but in many cases, if you’re writing a “how-to” or trying to drive a point home, you need to use assertive language. We’re all a little guilty of using passive language in order to seem inviting and friendly, but when it comes down to it, your readers are busy and they don’t have time to read a bunch of fluff.
If I am reading an article on how to increase my SEO efforts, I want you to tell me how to do it. Language like “need to” instead of “should” can be very effective.
7. Your Introduction Needs to Reel Them In
Your introduction is your hook. You have a few seconds to grab their attention so it needs to be engaging and relatable. Many writers suggest writing a brief introduction to get started and then revisiting it again and reworking it once your content piece is finished.
If nothing else, you need to do some digging—think about who your audience is and what their interests and pain points are. How can you connect those to your topic? A clever writer will always find a way to weave those in and find a relatable angle, which, in turn, will transform a dull blog topic into a great piece of content.
Good luck and happy writing! P.S. if you have any questions, or need some help with your writing and/or strategy, contact us. We're happy to help.