We all know how important it is to create good content to drive readers to our sites, whether they be personal blog posts or company websites.
Good content doesn't just require good writing; it also requires crafting our writing in a format that's interesting and appealing to our target audiences.
When your content effectively grabs your readers' attention, it keeps them engaged and shows them that the articles on your site are worthwhile and informative. Good content also establishes you or your company as a voice of authority on particular topics, encouraging loyal readers who keep coming back to your site.
Here are 5 content formats to help you increase your reader engagement:
Readers liked to be entertained, and GIFs are a fun and flashy way to keep readers scrolling through your site. GIFs are great not only because they break up big blocks of text, but also because they add a layer of humor that still pictures typically don't.
The tiny animations keep readers engaged by referencing pop culture and displaying other visuals that modern readers--particularly millennials--can connect with.
While animated GIFs can be found by browsing through Reddit, Tumblr, and other sites, they're also quite easy to make. Free tools like MakeaGIF allow you to create your own animated GIFs using YouTube videos, photos, and more.
Let's face it: Not everyone likes to read long and time-consuming articles, however informative they may be. For many readers, content is more accessible when they have options for how they want to consume it. Videos are often a faster, more intuitive way for readers to consume detailed information.
Video is dominating the web. Whether you're creating your own video podcast for your site or hiring professionals for more complicated shoots, video is a great option for blending entertainment with informational content. Just be aware that too much video can slow down page load time, so choose only the most useful and most concise video content.
In addition to having visual appeal, good content should also be interactive. One commonly used tactic for making blog posts interactive is to conclude your article by asking for reader feedback in the comments section.
For more engagement, you can have your audience interact with your content even further. Many websites are successfully encouraging active reader participation by collaborating with platforms that embed interactive and visual content. Importantly, such content should be easily viewable and readable on mobile in order to engage the many users who read articles from their phone.
One platform, Apester, provides Snapchat-like visual stories that it integrates into relevant blog posts to target a website's mobile audience.
When you embed interactive content, you're not restricting reader input to the comments section; you're also allowing your audience to engage with the content as they read, quickly and at higher rates. By providing your readers with stories to experience, you show them that they, too, are part of your article's narrative. This creates an immersive experience, drawing in your audience even more.
Think back to your college years: The best professors weren't those who simply lectured at you for an hour and a half, but were instead those who coupled their explanations with drawings on the board. If written content is a long lecture, infographics are the helpful visuals.
Infographics may have been around for a long time, but they're just as relevant as ever to your content strategy. This important content format adds a visual element to detailed explanations, simplifying complex notions into intuitive and easily understandable concepts. In addition to being good for your readers, infographics are also good for you: incorporating this format into your blog posts is a key part of a good marketing strategy, as it helps drive traffic to your site.
You don't have to be an artist to make your own infographics. There are plenty of online tools available to do this. Piktochart, for example, lets you customize free templates with different fonts, colors, and images and video.
Articles written as lists (like this one) are a great format for written content. Lists are easily accessible for readers, as they break up the text and allow them to skim. The list format naturally creates white space---the blank space between the text--which makes the article itself visually appealing to your audience and less daunting to read.
Lists can take a variety of formats, including how-to guides, 'X Reasons Why' posts, and compilations of informational resources. By letting you share tips, strategies, and ideas, they directly answer your audience's questions, driving traffic to your site.
Whether you're writing out your insights or integrating entertaining visual content, it's important that you create pieces that are both informative and emotionally appealing. Surprising your readers with humorous visuals, building anticipation with informative ideas, and providing useful content that establishes your readers' trust are all ways to strike an empathetic chord with your readers--and to keep them coming back.