How to Create Engaging Content

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    Fact checked by Vahe Arabian
    Vahe Arabian

    Founder and Editor in Chief of State of Digital Publishing. My vision is to provide digital publishing and media professionals a platform to collaborate and promote their efforts, my passion is to uncover talent and… Read more

    Edited by Andrew Kemp
    Andrew Kemp

    Andrew joined the State of Digital Publishing team in 2021, bringing with him more than a decade and a half of editorial experience in B2B publishing. His career has spanned the technology, natural resources, financ…Read more

    How to Create Engaging Content

    Narcis is the Business Manager at Content Refined. He has helped hundreds of site owners manage and grow their site through content creation over the...Read more

    Creating engaging content can be difficult, especially in today’s competitive online world. Not only do you need to make sure it engages your target audience, you also have to optimize it for SEO, format it correctly, include the proper headings and answer the right questions — all while trying to outrank your rivals. 

    While nobody can control how their content is ranked, it’s still possible to give yourself more than a fighting chance. Content is still king, which means you need to keep creating new and engaging material if you want your audience and business to grow.

    Now, not all content is equal. Depending on what niche you’re in, who your audience is and what type of content you’re creating, your goals will be different. In this article, we’ll go over tips on how to create engaging content that both publishers, brand marketers and social media content creators can benefit from.

    Many of the marketing strategies we share here will overlap. However, it’s important to note that different industries will have different goals and will need different types of content. Identify which category you fall under and follow along.

    Stay up to date on the latest news, trends, and best practices in digital publishing.

    Types of Content for Your Website

    Before we get into the tips and tricks of creating engaging content, let’s quickly go over the different types of online content. It’s important to identify how you want your content formatted and structured before you start writing.

    1. Product Reviews

    Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular monetization models for niche websites and an effective method to get started is by crafting product reviews.

    Online reviews are a crucial resource for those deciding what to buy. As you write your review, remember that honesty will help establish trust and credibility with readers.

    No item out there can be flawless. Instead of omitting drawbacks or weaknesses as many others might do, include them in your analysis as well.

    2. Product Comparisons

    For reliable affiliate content, product comparisons (or “vs” articles) are ideal. Placing similar products together gives buyers clear-cut advantages and disadvantages of each item.

    To help readers differentiate between the items, one of our best pieces of advice for affiliate marketers is to make up a grading system applicable to your criteria. Doing this creates an easier way for customers to understand what they’re looking at.

    3. Product Round-ups

    Product roundups are a powerful tool due to their ability to direct readers to different products. As such, your affiliate revenue is not limited by one link alone. However, when you make it easy for the reader by prominently showcasing the product you recommend, conversions will skyrocket — simplify the decision-making process.

    4. Email Marketing

    Constructing an engaged email list, which publishers often overlook, is key to securing repeat sales as an affiliate. Using email marketing to promote and drive more traffic towards your affiliate content can be done in two ways:

    1. Crafting emails that are designed with a single purpose — direct conversions.
    1. Linking back to existing web pages, such as tutorials and blogs.

    It all comes down to understanding the network’s guidelines when working with advertisers.

    5. Resource Pages

    A resource page is more than a simple collection of your favorite tools and resources. It should be thoughtfully curated to guide your readers towards accomplishing their goals without having to sift through your content.

    Selecting items with similar topics or themes will help make the process easier, ensuring that people find what they need quickly.

    6. How-to Guides or Tutorials

    Demonstrating to customers exactly how a product works builds transparency and trust with your buyer base. People tend to be more interested in buying something when they know what it does, so ensure your audience understands the value proposition you’re promoting.

    7. Ebooks

    When a subject is too intricate to be addressed in a blog post or article, ebooks are a great way to give your audience additional insight. Just remember that the ebook itself should serve as an incentive for a desired action — like signing up to an email list.

    8. Landing Pages

    Landing pages are pivotal to your affiliate funnel, leading visitors towards their final destination. Unlike other web pages, landing pages are crafted with one purpose in mind — to convert. This focused design encourages visitors to take the desired action that you have chosen.

    In order for a successful campaign and conversion rate enhancement, it is imperative to prime people ahead of time by creating content which prepares them for this final step towards conversions on the targeted landing page .

    9. Video Content

    When it comes to conveying large amounts of data in a limited time frame, video content continues to be the go-to for content producers. YouTube has been the classic hub for video affiliate marketing, but its rising popularity has seen growing rivalry from other sites such as TikTok, Facebook and Instagram.

    The reason these videos have become so popular is because they allow audiences to emotionally engage with the creators in an immediate manner that text content simply cannot compete with. Moreover, it’s easier for them to rank for buyer intent keywords due to the complexity of creating such content.

    10. Social Media

    Social media posts encompass a broad range of content, including text, photographs, videos and infographics.

    As an effective way to direct your audience’s attention towards affiliate offers or helpful information that can build trust between you and them, social media posts should be tailored based on the platform used. For example, what works for Instagram may not work as well for LinkedIn, yet both platforms are worth leveraging in order to drive traffic.

    Tip: Deciding what type of content to create can be a challenge in itself. You’ll need to determine your niche, what type of website you have, and who your audience is.

    If you need help narrowing this down, performing a content audit on your website is a great starting point. This will give you a breakdown of your current content, how it’s performing and what path you can take moving forward.

    Content Refined banner 3 (1)

    How to Create Engaging Content — Tips and Tricks

    Now that we’ve covered types of content, let’s dig deeper into what tips and strategies you can use to create more engaging content on various platforms.

    1. Create Original and Personal Content

    Coming up with engaging content may be the goal, but creating unique content is no easy feat. Chances are someone else has already written about the same topic or had a similar stance to your opinion. So, what’s the solution?

    Thinking outside the box.

    You can still share blog posts about topics that have been covered before, but do your best to make it unique. Inject your own experiences and opinions into each post, as no one else has experienced or felt the exact same things you have.

    This will give readers a fresh perspective and let them know that they’re not just reading something regurgitated from somewhere else on the Internet – they’ll be gaining valuable insights that only you have to offer.

    Marketers and site owners will always have a business mindset, even when it comes to creating content. That means devising the most cost-effective solution — most will hire inexperienced writers for cheap in order to get bulk content done quickly. However, this strategy will not generate remarkable or engaging material.

    It’s essential that your content reflects you and your brand’s unique identity. If you make it a priority to showcase both creativity as well as originality in all pieces of work, then over time you will build up a devoted group of followers who are truly interested in what you have to offer.

    Although implementing these components does take more effort than just quickly churning out articles with little to no substance, ultimately it’ll be worth investing extra time in ensuring that each piece stands apart from others on the market. This will ultimately lead to higher engagement metrics.

    Key Tips: 

    • Add personal stories to your introduction
    • If reviewing a product, include how you reviewed it, why you liked it (or didn’t like it), or add a custom video
    • Tell readers why you’re reviewing these products.
    • Include a personalized video or photo along with the post
    • Engage with your audience so they know you’re listening to their feedback.
    • Include custom images or infographics based on the data you’ve collected
    • Tell your readers about the author and why they wrote on the particular topic.

    Example: Allison Task

    Here’s a great example of a blog post with a personal story. Allison’s site almost always focuses on the personal to keep readers engaged and wanting to read the entire article.

    Looking at the above post we can see that it opens with a personal recollection about her childhood memories. It’s nostalgic and instantly relatable.

    2. Stay Relevant to Your Niche

    Although this may sound obvious, pause to assess what you’re writing and ask: is this relevant to my niche and my target audience? Does my reader base even find this interesting?

    Taking a moment to reflect on these questions can help you create engaging content that resonates with your readers. Make sure you tell them why they should care about the topic at hand.

    Did you let them know what they’re missing out on if they don’t take action? How will their business benefit from using this product or service? Is this topic relevant to my business or website?

    Many times, site owners and businesses get carried away with the content they create and veer off into categories outside of their niche. Your target audience won’t like this and neither will search engines. You want to ensure your site stays authoritative within the niche (or sub-niches) you’re targeting.

    In addition, make sure your audience cares about what you’re writing. Stimulate conversations with questions that are relevant to trending topics, popular culture, and our day-to-day lives — this will keep your audience engaged in the content and help them get involved. This technique can also ignite discussions on the comments section of your page; as people come back for more conversation, this boosts traffic and engagement metrics.

    Key Tips:

    • Create a document outlining the categories within your niche and stick to them
    • Find other competitors in your niche and see what they’re writing about
    • Research popular FAQs in your niche to ensure you don’t veer off and stay on topic.
    • Look at your audience analytics to identify who they are and what they’re interested in — this will help you stay within your niche
    • Ask yourself before you post whether your target audience is interested in this topic
    • Ask open-ended questions to keep the comments engaging.
    • Ask your audience what they’re interested in learning more about and create content around those topics.

    Example: Bicycling 

    Bicycling focuses all of its content on just one thing, and one thing only: cycling. Every piece of content is related to their niche and the site knows exactly what its audience wants.

    That’s not to say the site doesn’t strive to diversify content types, rather it ensures that anything it talks about is relatable to those interested in some form of cycling. For example, the company’s racing category contains cultural and educational articles as well as reviews and profiles.

    3. Write Actionable Content

    Are you clear on what you aim to achieve with your content? If not, the consumer won’t be either. With each piece of content, define how it will compel people to take action.

    For example, if you’re advertising or reviewing a product, just discussing its features and benefits is insufficient for driving conversions. You should explain precisely how using the product can improve consumers’ lives — both through practical usage as well as personal experiences that demonstrate these advantages first-hand.

    To make sure your readers take action, you have to prime them beforehand. You can’t assume that after reading something on your website, a reader will locate a product and buy it by going through multiple steps — from searching to adding to cart — all within one click. To increase conversions, clear direction should be provided so readers can purchase or perform an action with ease.

    Boosting your readers’ likelihood of completing the desired action can be accomplished by providing them with a single-click solution. Do you want people to join your email list? Offer an obvious clickable option on your site, so they don’t have to hunt it down. Clearly visible buttons make it easier for visitors to take the required steps and help drive conversions.

    This is also relevant for informational content, not just product-related posts. For instance, if you’re writing a “how-to” article, make sure to include links to videos or other relevant content that’s useful to readers. Make any links or buttons easy to redirect to. Creating a content brief prior to beginning to write is important — this will outline your position, intent and actions you want the reader to take.

    Key Tips:

    • Include anchor texts and links when necessary
    • Include clickable buttons to products outside of your site (and make sure your links work)
    • Make sure any product links are obvious and the reader knows exactly what they’re clicking on
    • Create a clear title for each post so readers know what they’re reading (for example, whether it’s a product review or a how-to guide).
    • Create content briefs
    • Ensure you include easy-to-access links for pages or products outside your post
    • Include links in your bio if you aren’t able to include them directly in the post
    • If a page is important or leads to high conversions, make sure it’s no more than one click away for the reader.

    Example: The Hiking Adventure

    The Hiking Adventure offers lots of reviews and guides for various outdoor-related products. Each of their articles provides readers with straight-forward reviews and multiple CTA’s for each – making the process easy for readers.

    As you can see from the example below, the site has not one but two links for the featured bivy tent. The hyperlink in the image caption leads to Amazon, o.


    4. Select the Right Format and Time

    You need to ensure you’re delivering content both in the right format and at the right time. How and when you choose to deliver a piece of content can greatly affect audience engagement and conversions.

    What questions or topics are you trying to answer? Would it be best delivered as a social media post or article on your site? Or maybe through video?

    For instance, if you’re creating a how-to guide, do you think it’d be better conveyed through a short video with steps, or written content with pictures and infographics? To determine this, you can scroll back up to review the types of content that would best suit the topic.

    In addition, timing is very important. A long read demands quite a lot of effort from readers and viewers, so if they’re in the middle of their morning hustle — trying to get their kids off to school or navigating peak-hour public transport — that isn’t necessarily they’re ready for an elaborate 10 minute video.

    When you know what topic you’re covering, determine how you want to deliver it. Are you posting a product round-up or best of article? That’s going to be best delivered in a long-form article that your audience will want to sit down and take time to digest. Or maybe an ebook with an email sign-up? That would be best to send via an email, perhaps in the evening.

    On the opposite end, if you’re delivering a quick news update, then be sure to make it short and concise, perhaps through a social media post in the morning or during lunch.

    It’s also important to know which timezone your audience is in. Are you delivering email updates at different times of the day for different people? Review your audience analytics and do some A/B testing if this helps provide a clearer picture for future content.

    Key Tips: 

    • When creating your content plan, determine each topic you’ll be covering with a content type and ensure it fits with the topic
    • Plan out your content in advance and schedule it out
    • Create social media content to link back to your websites content
    • Time your content based on your audience analytics so engagement is higher
    • Ensure the format fits the topic — picture, video, audio, gif, etc
    • Create email campaigns to share your content and time them correctly based on the content type and your audience analytics
    • Perform A/B testing to determine your audience engagement

    5. Hook Readers and Create Engaging Headlines

    Titles and headlines are the first thing people see before reading your content, and can often be the deciding factor on whether or not they engage further. You also need to make your headlines attractive, without sounding like clickbait.

    If you’re looking to capture the interest of your easily distracted audience, then an attention-grabbing headline is a must. Asking a question in the headline can be effective, but providing hints as to what’s in the content can be even more powerful. This way, readers know exactly what they’ll get from your content.

    Some good examples:

    1. How to Create a High Conversion Landing Page in 3 Simple Steps
    1. Your Guide to AI Writing & How to Use It for Your Online Business
    1. The 5 Best and Easiest Keyword Research Tools for Beginners

    Each of these titles shows the reader the article’s intent, what it will cover and even narrows down the audience.

    In order to create trust with your readers, you must be sure that each headline accurately reflects the article’s content. People won’t appreciate having their time wasted by misleading titles.

    Once someone has clicked on your content, the next thing they’ll read is the intro. The majority (55%) of readers scroll through content in 15 seconds or less, which means your content either needs to be very short, or you need to keep readers hooked until they reach the end. Don’t write a generic, dull intro just to fill space — make it engaging, tell a story and catch the reader’s eye before they click away.

    Key Tips: 

    • Create engaging titles, but don’t make them sound like clickbait
    • Ask a question that leads people to want to read more about the topic
    • Spice things up — don’t write boring, generic intros, and keep them short
    • Include a table of contents at the top of your post so your readers can easily scroll through the information.
    • Your first sentence should be treated like a headline — make your audience want to keep reading.
    • If you include a link out to another post, hook people into reading further by asking questions
    • If posting a video, use text or audio to keep the audience engaged and wanting to watch more.

    Example: Ahrefs 

    Ahrefs is well known for providing content that gets straight to the point and addressing the title question almost immediately. And the below post is no exception.

    You barely have to start scrolling before it begins explaining the process. The article provides in-depth information and includes images and links to get the point across.

    6. Use Visuals and Videos

    If you want your content marketing strategy to be successful and comprehensive, then it’s important to include pictures and videos in the mix.

    Don’t worry — you don’t need to hire a professional photographer. Instead, try capturing some original images yourself.

    Taking photos has never been easier, with every smartphone coming with a high-quality camera and apps to edit your images. These don’t have to be perfect either — most people appreciate personalized photos and videos and don’t care much about camera angles or lighting.

    To further emphasize your content’s quality, consider creating infographics. Infographics are perfect for creating engaging content that’s both memorable and engaging. With graphical representation, readers will not only be more likely to recall the information but also find it enjoyable. It’s something they will remember and refer back to when needed.

    Videos can also take your visuals a step further — from “how-to” clips to product demos and even entertainment pieces like interviews or discussions. Whether you post them on your site, newsletter, social media or all of the above — videos offer endless possibilities when producing dynamic content.

    And again, these don’t have to be professionally curated videos. As long as you’re creating the content yourself, most readers will appreciate it and so will Google.

    Key Tips:

    • Spend time taking your own photos and using them — your audience will appreciate it
    • Use video content when it’s appropriate — for example, a “how-to” video can be very helpful in demonstrating the topic rather than just writing it out
    • Create infographics. They’re much more engaging and can be referred back to by readers. This is a great tip for everyone
    • Make your infographics shareable so people can link back to your content

    Example: Teacher’s Tech

    Teacher’s Tech not only offers hundreds of how-to articles for a specific niche, but also creates custom videos for almost each of its posts. This not only helps readers understand the content more clearly, but also creates multiple platforms for the site owner to reach out to their audience.

    The site’s tutorial for Microsoft Word not only provides an extensive free written guide on how to develop your software skills but also includes a in the intro to its YouTube video on the same subject.

    7. Use Accurate Information

    Ensuring you publish and reference accurate information helps not only build trust with your audience, but also increases your site’s authority. However, be vigilant when it comes to the information that’s available on the web — anyone can publish whatever they choose. It’s crucial to make sure that your sources are accurate so as not to misrepresent any data or statistics.

    When it comes to reliability, nothing beats an authority site. Not only does the source have credibility but its content is also up-to-date. Unfortunately, if you come across a relevant statistic on some obscure blog post that doesn’t provide any proof or data source, there’s no telling whether the info can be trusted. So, when researching facts and figures for your project, always keep in mind that quality trumps quantity every time.

    Finally, ensure that what you’re publishing is either evergreen or you update your content at least once a year. Statistics from a decade ago are likely irrelevant now. As such, producing engaging content with today’s data will make it more attractive to readers.

    If you’re willing to go the extra mile, you can always conduct your own research and create a study. This way, you’ll ensure that your content is both top-notch and 100% original. Admittedly, this will require more effort on your part —but it’s worth it if you want to impress.

    Key Tips:

    • Use reliable publications to reference information or data (.org, .edu, etc)
    • Create evergreen content when you can
    • Review and update your content and references at least once a year to ensure everything is up-to-date.
    • Always double check your sources — one inaccurate statistic can lead to mayhem in your comments or lack of credibility
    • Conduct or use your own research when you can — it doesn’t need to be highly extensive but be sure to check your data and explain the process. This can also help with backlinks.

    Example: Healthline

    Healthline is one of the better-known health and wellness sites, offering thousands of tips and articles around physical and mental health.

    Because this is such a sensitive subject, the site’s content always has to be well-researched and accurate. In the below example, Healthline has not only linked to the original study, but also to the university bio of the study’s author as well as the university’s press release on the subject.

    This is a great approach to review when assessing your own content.

    8. Vary Your Content and Publish Consistently

    Although you want to keep your topics within your niche or industry, feel free to experiment with different content types. If you have an affiliate website, don’t just post product reviews and round-ups — mix in some informational content. Even if it isn’t directly leading to conversions, you can use it as supporting content for your pillar posts.

    If you mainly rely on social media, then create a blog that you can link to. Write how-to articles for your videos and socials, create informational posts with infographics and custom images, or just use it to expand on some of the video content you’ve already created.

    Finally, don’t let your content go stale — post consistently. There’s no magic formula to how much content you need to create, but search engines will recognize if you have stopped creating engaging content. Create a content plan and schedule posts out ahead of time — this will help you be more consistent and not miss deadlines.

    Key Tips:

    • Don’t stick to one content type — use a mix of informational posts and product reviews to build authority in your niche
    • Post regularly and target various keywords in your niche.
    • Experiment with video, images, audio, written
    • Create a content schedule to ensure consistency.

    Use tools like Hootsuite or Buffer to schedule your content in advance — this will not only save you time, but create a consistent schedule you can adhere to.

    Example: CNET

    CNET is one of the world’s biggest tech publishers allowing it to cover a diverse range of subjects within a broad industry.

    What’s immediately obvious from the publisher’s home page is the sheer number of content types it produces. From news op-eds to round-ups, reviews and previews.

    While tech might be the publisher’s original focus, the segment’s broad nature has allowed CNET to safely branch into other niches, such as financial advice, as can be seen in the below example.

    9. Take Advantage of Audience Feedback

    Never overlook the suggestions your readers are constantly offering — your audience can potentially be a funnel for endless content pieces. There’s usually something valuable they can offer. What questions are they asking? Are they relevant to your niche? Can you create a piece of content around it?

    If you contribute something of value to online conversations, never miss the opportunity to engage. Answer questions, investigate things your audience is uncertain about, and respond.

    Social media platforms such as Twitter are designed with the ethos “be part of the conversation” in mind — so make sure not to ignore post-publication communications.

    Key Tips:

    • Send out a post or email asking your audience for feedback — just be straightforward and see what they want to talk about
    • Read and engage in your comments section — whether it be through Instagram or your website
    • Conduct an audience survey.

    There are some great tools out there that can help you with audience feedback, including the likes of SurveySparrow, Hubspot, SurveyMonkey and Google Forms.

    Wrapping Up

    Content marketing is a fantastic way to build trust, loyalty, and authority with your audience. When you write engaging content, be sure to research accurate information and use reliable sources.

    You should also mix up your content types while making sure they are well-crafted and engaging — include visuals, videos and even surveys if it’s relevant. Finally, take advantage of the feedback you receive from your audience and make sure to engage with their comments.

    With these tips, you will be well on your way to creating engaging content that resonates with your readers.




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