Across social media and company websites, businesses are putting their digital content under tremendous pressure to be ‘engaging’. They make new videos and guides to chase views, likes and shares… but left disappointed by the results.
Engagement is like bitcoin: you’re not 100% sure what it does, but everyone you know wants more of it. Really, engaging digital content is about the thinking and experience behind a video or social media post as it is making it.
When you engage your audience, you help to change behaviours and showcase your value. In this guide, I’m going to spill my top 8 content creation secrets that’ll help you make meaningful, engaging content.
The benefit of engaging digital content
Audiences are motivated by the experiences they have with companies. Studies show that companies who prioritise customer experience are 200% more likely to receive customer referrals and enjoy 25% more customer loyalty.
Engaging content helps improve employee advocacy too. LinkedIn data shows the click-through rate on a piece of content shared by an employee is 2x higher than when the company shares it.
While only 3% of employees share content about their company, this is responsible for driving 30% of total engagement for the company. When you engage employees with content that inspires them, they’re likely to drive engagement that creates real results.
It’s a particularly juicy carrot for any business that invests in engaging digital experiences. So let’s jump into what makes digital content engaging.
1. Understand why you’re making the content
Your master plan is coming together. You’re already preparing your Oscar acceptance speech. But stop right there! You need to consider what the content will do for you.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Who are we making this for?
- Does the piece fit in with our overall strategy?
- What will this content help us achieve? (Include KPIs if you can)
- What is the call to action?
- Can this help to tie existing content and new content together?
Whatever your objective, make sure you hold your digital content accountable for those actions. They help to keep the content focused and motivate the audience towards the goal line.
2. Address the audience’s needs
Your content is not about what you want to say. It’s about what your audience wants to hear. Now you have your objectives, you need to align that with your audience.
HubSpot have a great personas tool for quick visualisation of target audiences.
Look at your personas (if you have them) or try to imagine your target audience. What are their pain points and priorities? If your narrative doesn’t line up, change it to fit your audience before you commit to creating.
3. The 3-point story arc
You know that every story has a beginning and an ending. But compelling digital storytelling needs to hit 3 points in the story to draw an audience in. The journey can be boiled down to this:
- The situation: what’s the context and why are we here?
- The conflict: something’s changed. How are we going to adapt and deal with it?
- The resolution: we’ve our obstacle overcome. Now, we return to a resting point having changed in some way.
Take this story arc example for a 3D animation we created for Space.
- The situation? The world of the hero is a drab, dull affair, where nothing ever happens at her desk.
- The conflict is where, suddenly, Space appears on her desktop computer, pulling her into a digital world. She meets a host of characters and goes to a place that helps her understand the world around her.
- And in the resolution, she returns to her desk, changed by an amazing digital experience.
Tie your narrative together in this 3-stage method and you have yourself a compelling, engaging story.
Download the immersive digital content report
4. Be accurate
Relationships are built on trust. When someone we don’t know tells us something, we’re likely to trust them – even when we shouldn’t. However, these inaccuracies that draw us in can make audiences feel like they’ve been duped. And where 1 in 3 customers would ditch a brand after a bad experience, you might not get a second chance to make it up to them.
Don’t lie to your audience for the sake of a catchy hook. A fudged number might fit your narrative better, but it might come back to bite you in the long run.
5. Consider a next-generation content format
Visual content is one of the most powerful ways to speak to your audience. As a planet, we watch a billion hours of YouTube videos every single day – but when video is in everybody’s toolkit, it can be hard for your story to stand out.
We also know that browser content technology is getting smarter, meaning your content could really come to life with an interactive and immersive experience.
New innovative content formats could be your way to cut through the clutter and make a statement to your audience.
6. Play with dynamics
During the 2010 World Cup, every stadium was packed with 2ft-long plastic horns that sounded like this:
This is the vuvuzela. It plays one note – B flat, if you were interested – at about 125db. It’s LOUD. It’s interesting at first, but over the course of a 90-minute football match? It liquifies your brain.
Musicians will be familiar with “dynamics”: the contrast between loud and soft. Engaging content plays with dynamics: it uses pockets of light and shade to keep it fresh and exciting.
Stay away from one-note vuvuzela content. There’s a lot of power in dynamics building towards your story’s conclusion.
What “dynamics” could look like in digital content:
- Different images that feel connected through the theme, lighting, illustration style, etc
- Showing each speaker taking turns being full-screen on a recorded webinar
- Muting an audio track for a moment when there’s a change in mood
- Varying sentence length for text posts. Short ones. Longer sections. It’s surprisingly effective!
We used some of these techniques for our work for Microsoft, a video called Love Uninterrupted.
7. Be aware of the ‘square peg in the round hole’
Not all formats were created equal.
Each digital channel has its own rules on file size and image widths. Once you know where you’ll be showing your content to your audience, research your channels and ensure whatever you make is presented in the best way for them to receive it.
- How will somebody see your content? (Organically in the feed, paid targeted advertising, etc)
- Caption and post copy
- What action you want your audience to complete after interacting with the content
8. Reuse and recycle
Congrats! You’ve uploaded your content and it’s doing well – champagne for everyone 🍾
But don’t start congratulating yourself too soon. Remember the objectives we set in Tip 1? We need to make sure we hit them.
When you repurpose the content you’ve created across different media, it continues to beat the drum of your message to your audience.
- Break up your longer video into short clips
- Repurpose information as an infographic
- Write social posts based on the overall theme you’re covering
Each brush with relevant, valuable content makes your audience more likely to interact with it. And each touchpoint is just as engaging.
Need a hand? Arrange a workshop.
The Vismedia team knows engagement. We’ve been making attention-span-owning digital content since modems dialled up and phones were buttony. There’s a lot to consider when making your unrivalled content, so let us help you.
Let’s chat through your ideas. Sign up for a free workshop.