What does it mean to engage readers? How do you do it? Writing engaging content can be a struggle but it can be easier once you embrace...
I've been talking about writing engaging posts assuming that everyone has the same understanding of the word "engaging"
The dictionary defines engaging as something "charming and attractive" or something to "occupy or attract".
When you go back to the etymological roots of the word "engaging, it originally meant to "pawn or pledge something" and later to "pledge oneself (to do something)" like an activity.
What does that mean for your writing?
It means that you need to charm the pants off your clients and draw them into your world so that they focus their attention on your writing and "pledge themselves to involve themselves with your content".
When you pledge yourself to do something that means that you invest something. Pledging your service brings up the picture of knights in armour pledging their services to the Queen, going into battle, ready to die.
If you pledge yourself to do something then you need to believe in something and you take the risk because you expect a reward. Great riches would be nice but in case that doesn't quite work as planned, then I guess a soft white cloud in the afterlife is also enticing.
When you pledge yourself to engage in something, you take a calculated risk.
Your readers do the same. They pledge themselves to read your content, investing one of their most valuable possessions - their time.
They believe in you and expect you to deliver something of value. They are expecting to be rewarded for their time and attention.
They won't die of boredom but they will certainly withdraw their (immediate and future) attention if you don't deliver.
So, how do you reward your reader? What do you give in exchange for your reader's attention?
You pay them!
Not in money, of course, but in value. Value comes in many different forms...
People want to be entertained, they want to be excited about something - but most of all they want to gain some knowledge that leads them to discover great riches!
Your readers are not very different from the knights in shining armour.
In fact, you are no different if you are reading this because you want to learn something from me that helps you write better copy and content.
You want to learn something that empowers you to write content that engages, entertains, and educates your audience, copy that persuades your readers to buy from you.
You are giving me your time to learn how to write effectively, to get ideas, be inspired, and to research. But most of all, you are giving me your time to learn how to earn money with your writing.
You need to know your ideal client and if you have developed in detail avatars, then you know what your readers want.
You also know what your reader wants at each point of their buyer's journey and you know exactly which outcomes your readers want with every piece of content.
Their content needs depend on what they want to achieve. Whether it's learning how to do something, understand something, feel understood or be inspired by something.
And you need to create that content that they want to read and you also need to optimise your content so that it is a "good read".
Good content is well planned and structured and usually contains storytelling.
Knowing your ideal client allows you to tell exactly the stories that your readers want to read, cover the topics they want to think about, clarify ideas that were a bit fuzzy, and tell them how to do something they are struggling with.
So, if you're stuck for topics, just go back to your customer avatar or check those posts that got the most reader engagement and then write more of that!