Writing is hard and learning how to write engaging content can be even harder. In our fast-paced digital world of high-speed internet connections and an endless stream of information, the average person’s attention span is now approximately eight seconds. Your writing must be snappy, clear, and be able to attract a reader’s attention. With limited time and focus to spare, most of us read by skimming instead of reading every single word. Therefore, to write engaging content is to also write clearly and for information to be gleaned through skimming. Learning how to write engaging content will help keep your readers invested in your company and your voice.
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What is Content Writing?
Sometimes we don’t think about it, but all the content we read online has to be written by someone. What content writing is includes YouTube video titles, tweets, picture captions, emails. Writing all those things, and everything else text-based that your audience sees, is content writing. It also includes the planning, drafting, and editing processes of writing.
All that added up can be, expectedly, time-consuming. Some businesses will consider outsourcing their content writing. But the benefits of being able to constantly provide your leads with content is great, making learning how to write content a key pillar in your content marketing strategy.
Types of Online Content
There are so many types of content writing and more ways to categorize them. Here are some types of online content broken down.
Blogs are an excellent way to continuously produce content and increase the likelihood of being discovered. They are a space on your website for you to keep your audience updated. New posts create more opportunities to be found and produce more content for readers to share and potentially attract more readers. You are free to blog about any topic related to your industry, but focusing on what your readers want to learn more about could help boost attention. Blogs are also a great way for you to build authority and demonstrate your expertise in your subject, which in turn cements your reputation and makes you a valuable resource.
Emails sent to your mailing list are a means of communicating with your customers, clients, and leads. These often take the form of email campaigns and promotional messages that go out a designated list. Writing engaging content for email should rely on personalization and have catchy subjects to prompt email openings.
The importance and widespread use of social media is likely one of the reasons why you’re interested in learning how to write engaging content. Content writing for social media posts includes Facebook posts, Instagram captions, YouTube video descriptions, Tweets, LinkedIn updates, and other written content on connective social media platforms.
What’s important to know when writing engaging content on social media is what the audience of each platform prefers. For example, Facebook is growing in popularity with older demographics, and more professional, formal writing would be a better fit for LinkedIn.
Commercial and Copywriting
It’s surprising that commercial and copywriting are types of online content that people need to talk about more. Commercial writing, as the name suggests, focuses on the commercial aspects of your business, which includes product descriptions, promotional texts, advertisements and online store web pages. The copywriting part focuses more on traditional print information regarding your business, such as press releases.
Learning how to write engaging content for your commercial needs will help customers navigate your platforms, promoting satisfying experiences. Don’t underestimate commercial and copywriting, because it’s likely the content users will read when deciding to make purchases and if you imagine someone googling your website after hearing about it, can even be the first thing new people see from your brand.
Technical writing is another one of the lesser talked about types of content writing. It focuses on breaking down complex information into understandable smaller parts, often for instructional purposes. Learning how to write engaging technical writing will help your audience complete their tasks and you can market your product or service.
Brand voice isn’t necessarily its own type of online writing content, but it is an element that is present in all online content you produce. A brand voice helps establish the culture and values of your business. Brand consistency means that the image of your brand (logo, messaging, and values) is consistent across your different communication platforms. Consistency in branding also helps audiences remember your business and recognize the content you create. Because content writing is so important, you also want to make sure you are hiring people capable of meeting your branding and content writing goals.
Writing Engaging Online Content
If learning how to write engaging content seems like a daunting skill, then check out some of these suggestions.
Be a Storyteller
Stories catch people’s attention. They promote curiosity and create an investment in what you have to say. Stories show, rather than tell, what’s important to your company and how you interact with your partners and customers. More importantly, stories of customers or business history are likely unique to your company. Focusing on these personal stories will help set you apart from other companies and feel more personable.
Don’t be afraid to involve your audience, either. Ask questions, get readers thinking, and if on social media, try to involve them in the conversation. Audiences will feel more in touch with your company if there are opportunities for engagement.
Outlining can be an overlooked step of the writing step, but it shouldn’t be. Taking the time to create an outline helps you structure your piece and organize how your audience will receive the information you want to share with them. The goal is to put all your thoughts down and order them so your writing can be cohesive and easy to follow.
The writing itself is also completed quicker if you write following an outline because you already know what you want to say in what order. By outlining, you will know what information to highlight and which keywords to optimize. If you want to learn how to write engaging online content, then it’s worth incorporating outlining into your process. To help you outline, you can look at some online templates for guidance.
Writing for Skimming
Readers want to glean the information they want from a piece quickly either because they have something specific in mind or their time is limited. Help your readers find and locate information. Lists can be a good way to throw out the important terms or items quickly without having to read through lengthy paragraphs.
Your writing needs to be concise and direct. People don’t want to read long-winded sentences that don’t necessarily lead to a point. No one wants to read a post hoping for an answer to a question, only to be more confused by the end. Being clear will help retain attention and facilitate understanding of your content.
Breaking Your Text With Headers and Images
A giant block of text looks intimidating and readers can feel put off by them. Part of learning how to write engaging content is knowing how to split up your text to make it more digestible.
Headers and subheaders can be used to break up your text. Not only will they help the content feel more readable, but it also highlights key points that your reader might be searching for and helps them navigate the information. Having an outline will come in handy when preparing headers, as knowing your main ideas and important terms ahead of time will help you decide on the most effective headers.
Images or inserting multimedia content, such as embedded videos or music, can also be a reprieve from tightly packed words. These supplementary materials will also elaborate on your main points, so their multifaceted use is a great reason to incorporate them.
Market Your Content
To keep your readers interested, you will need to do more than catch their attention and be informative. Readers would like to know why they should invest in reading, or sharing, your content. Is there information in it that could be of use to them? How so? Let readers know what they can gain from reading your content. Then, they will be more inclined to pay attention and share what they have found. You can also include a call to action in your posts, urging your readers to take some form of action related to the content they just read.
Optimize Your Content
To help boost the views your content receives, your writing should be optimized for search engines. Search engine optimization (SEO) uses keywords to help you appear in early results in search engine algorithms. If you are interested in boosting your online content, SEO Design Chicago has digital marketing and SEO services we can provide. We can also assist with all forms of content creation, from social media to reputation management.
- What makes engaging online content?
- What are the different types of online content?
- How do I write engaging content?
- What is copywriting?
- Why is writing engaging content important?