In the race to be at the front of the content generation movement, it can be easy to focus on pushing out new material without stopping to think about how it lands. It’s similar to efforts in social media that focus on attracting new followers or posting a lot of tweets, with only a limited perspective on how much engagement or interaction you’re getting.
Yet eliciting reader responses is critical to the success of a blog or social media effort. Here’s why: social activities are really about starting a conversation. Whether it’s a conversation about why they should buy your products, a conversation about recognizing you as a coach or a thought leader, or simply a conversation about a subject you love, engaging with readers needs to be a two way street.
If it’s not, you’re essentially creating the internet equivalent of the person standing at the front of a room shouting non-stop to an audience full of uninterested, blank-faced people. And nobody wants that. It means that you’re wasting your time.
Instead, build strategies into your content efforts to help capture attention and create discussion and engagement in response to your blog posts, newsletters, and social media activities.
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- Make sure that your content is clearly geared toward your audience. It’s difficult to get your readers to engage when your content is only marginally relevant. Typically, levels of engagement and reader response are a good indicator that you’re creating content that resonates with your readers. If there is a lack of engagement, reach out to your readers to find out what issues they are grappling with, what subjects they love when you discuss, and what they think is missing from your content. Hitting the bull’s-eye with your subject matter will help stimulate discussion.
- Add a content call to action. Do you end your blog posts offer a clear call to action? Ending your content with a question, asking readers to reply to your most recent newsletter, and other clear calls to action can help increase the rates of response and the quality and depth of engagement. People are much more likely to take action when you ask.
- Make sure that the technology is in place to promote response. You can increase your reader response by making sure that the right technological components are in place in order for your readers to be able to respond. Are your social media channels prominently featured in your materials? Do you have comments enabled in your blog? Are you using a simple, easy to navigate system like Facebook comments or Disqus to make comment moderation easier? The logistics of reader response should be as simple as possible.
- Focus on high engagement content types: Certain types of content are much more likely to garner engagement than others. Some of the most common types are highly relatable stories that invite readers to share their own stories, how-tos that ask for other tactics, etc. Look at your analytics, such as Facebook Insights, to get ideas on what kinds of content get a response from your readers. Systematically test and experiment with different forms of content to get a feel for high response content and develop a more effective content strategy for your business.
It can be easy when developing content to lose sight of the importance of engagement and reader responses. Yet this is the heart beat of your business; when readers find your content is valuable and want to engage with you, you’ll find them more likely becoming customers and brand advocates. Therefore, focus in on the techniques and types of content that help you garner the best response.
About the Author: Thomas writes about blog and Internet topics for Time Warner Business Cable Offers. As a professional blogger, he has learned the art of understanding his blog audiences.