If you’re looking for THE best secrets for writing engaging content, you’ll LOVE this post.
I asked 70 successful entrepreneurs this question:
“What’s your #1 writing tip for engaging your audience?”
And I was blown away by the replies I received.
Scroll down and you’ll understand why.
Entrepreneurs & bloggers – Check what these pro bloggers and seasoned entrepreneurs have to say about writing engaging content. Hint: There’s some extremely useful information here.
Digital and content marketing experts & strategists – These experts know what they’re talking about. Here’s how they hook their audiences.
Content writers and copywriters – If you’ve ever tried to write content and asked yourself: “I wonder what a professional copywriter would do”, NOW’s the time to click on that link to see what they have to say.
Writing experts – These experts help writers get ahead. And they’ll help you capture your readers with your content.
Social media experts – There’s SO much noise on social media… Fortunately, these expert tips will save you a ton of time and head-scratching.
Branding experts – Branding is extremely important if you want your content to engage your audience. But how do you do it? Click to find out!
“Know your audience”
Kate Erickson (Entrepreneur On Fire)
Know your audience.
Until you intimately know who it is you’re writing for, it’s going to continue to be difficult to engage them.
Once you know their biggest pain points, dreams and aspirations, you’ll be able to start creating the EXACT content they want and need, at which point they’ll start reaching out to YOU!
Whether it’s a thank you email for your content, a question in the comments section, or a reply to a post on social media, always remember: you never want to be the one to end the conversation. So instead of simply replying to any or all of the above with “you’re so welcome!”, reply with “Wonderful, I’m so happy to hear it! Is there anything that was missing from this that you’d like to know more about? I’d love to hear about it!
Together with John Lee Dumas, Kate runs THE podcast for entrepreneurs, EOFire. Tip: listen to Kate’s Take, an audio blog with actionable advice for entrepreneurs who want to get started. And don’t forget to follow Kate on Twitter and Instagram.
“Be real, raw, authentic and in the moment”
Stephanie Nickolich (Stephanie Nickolich)
My #1 tip is to be real, raw, authentic and in the moment. Your audience will only value you more. #SuccessWithoutSacrifice
Stephanie is a sales funnel success strategist, who helps online entrepreneurs create success without sacrifice. Her clients have made a combined $30,000,000 in sales thanks to her sales funnel strategies. Connect with Stephanie on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.
“Write to 1 person”
Kelly Roach (Kelly Roach Coaching)
Write to 1 person that you really want to help. Keep it short, make it simple and give them something precise they can grab onto and put to use right away.
Example: “Leading From Within With Lolly Daskal“
Kelly is a business coach and she helps entrepreneurs launch, monetize, and scale their dream business. Kelly is the bestselling author of “Unstoppable: 9 Principles For Unlimited Success In Business & Life”. She’s been featured in publications like Reuters and Bloomberg Businessweek. Get Kelly’s free four-part video training Zero – $100K Blueprint and follow her on Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook.
“What is the main purpose of this piece of content?”
Steve Hutt (EcommerceFastlane)
It’s best to start at the end of your content by asking the question, “What is the main purpose of this piece of content?”
Once you know the purpose of your content, for every sentence you write, ask yourself this question, “Am I going off track and confusing my reader, or is this sentence helping achieve my content goal?”
When you know the ultimate goal of your content, you’ll find yourself writing both faster and better.
Steve is the founder of eComerce Fastlane where he teaches entrepreneurs how to build a thriving ecommerce business. Over the past 16 years, Steve has built several 7 and 8 figure ecommerce companies. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and join his free community.
Gina Horkey (Horkey HandBook)
Be authentic. Don’t try to be someone that you’re not – it’s too hard to keep up! 😉 Instead, know who you’re writing to and write to them as you’d talk to a friend. And don’t worry if you’re not for everyone – it’s impossible to be and stand out from the crowd.
Example: “Being Authentic Matters“
Gina Horkey is a married, millennial mama to two precocious toddlers. Additionally, she’s a professional writer and online business marketing consultant with a decade of experience in the financial services industry. Gina enjoys helping other freelancers gear up to quit their day jobs and take their side hustles full-time. Follow Gina on Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook.
“Write from your own experience”
Tomas Laurinavicius (Tomas Laurinavicius)
Write from your own experience. Tell how it affected you, how it made you feel what did you learn. My most successful stories were documenting my journey as a world traveler, blogger, entrepreneur and writer.
Tomas Laurinavicius is a lifestyle entrepreneur and blogger from Lithuania. He travels the world and writes about habits, lifestyle design and entrepreneurship. Follow Tomas on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and sign up to get this Life Designed newsletter.
“Write in your own voice”
Krista Rae (Krista Rae)
My best tip for writing content that will engage your audience is to write in your own voice in a way that encourages action. There are a lot of blogs out there that sound more like a robot talking than an actual human. It’s definitely possible to learn a ton of great information from those blogs, but I’m sure you agree that it’s not nearly as enjoyable as reading content that sounds like it’s coming from a person with their own unique personality.
In addition to that, write your content in a way that will encourage your audience to take action. After each point in your blog posts, consider giving a tip that your readers can take action on right away. And at the end, ask a question that will really get them thinking about how much they can benefit from implementing what they’ve learned from you.
Between writing in a way that helps readers feel like they’re actually talking to you and encouraging them to take action and make progress, you’re sure to find that your content becomes instantly more engaging.”
Example: “7 Simple Ways To Increase Pageviews“
Krista is a strategic WordPress developer specializing in designer collaborations. Check out her designer/ developer collaboration services and don’t forget to follow her on Twitter and Pinterest. Krista also runs the Get Back to Design group on Facebook.
“My number one writing tip is to info-tain”
Caressa Lenae (Caressa Lenae)
My number one writing tip is to info-tain. One of my favorite email copywriters, Ben Settle, really drilled this concept home for me and one of my favorite entrepreneurs, Russell Brunson, gives some of the best models to follow.
I make email writing a major part of my business model and I do so often. So I have to make sure that when I do write it’s not always telling “the best tips” or sharing “a how-to” or giving more content every day. That’s a fast track to content overwhelm.
It’s about sharing a piece of the pie at a time in the most entertaining way. Through a joke, as a poem, with a song, through a story, as a reflection of your day, from a different perspective, as a simple checklist and so on.
You could really get creative and that’s what makes the email writing fun for you, as the writer, and your audience.
When I added this element to my daily-ish emails the feedback, responses and all around attentiveness to my content increased dramatically. And when it’s that good, you can only imagine the sales it brought in. 😉
Caressa is a sales funnel strategist and coach and podcast host at The Business Casual Podcast. Snag Caressa’s 7 step checklist to Cash Flow Funnels and follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.
“Be direct and be honest”
Anthony Metivier (Magnetic Memory Method)
Be direct and be honest.
The online world is overloaded with people content to throw up smoke and mirrors that promise you extravagant cash and prizes.
But are the most successful content creators strutting around in shining armor?
The most successful voices in any medium are raw, focused on the truth and deliberately letting some of the grain through the filter.
It’s called authenticity. The world is starving for it. And when you learn how to hand it over, many doors will unlock.
Anthony Metivier, an experienced author, professor, and story and memory course creator, is the founder of Magnetic Memory Method. Here, he writes extensively around his Magnetic Memory Method, how you can regain self-confidence in relation to your memory, and what you can do to improve it. For example, Anthony’s methods can be used to learn a new skill or hold better presentations. Anthony also runs the Magnetic Memory Method Podcast. To improve your memory today, you can sign up for the free Memory Improvement Kit. Follow Anthony on Twitter.
“Write how you talk”
Eli Seekins (Launch Your Dream)
Write how you talk. It’s the first thing I always tell to my clients and subscribers who want to improve their content and engagement. Blogging is a conversation. Be yourself. The next time you go to write something, write it as if you were talking to your best friend. On top of that, tell stories, and use emotional power words – words that shake things up and grab your attention.
Example: “Job to Blog Summit”
“Making things relatable and entertaining”
Dominique Andersen (Stretch + Bloom)
Making things relatable and entertaining.
Personally, I make every effort to put myself in my reader’s shoes and gain a deep understanding of where they are coming from. I know about their problems, their values, their aspirations and I share content that aligns with where they are in life right now. As I write I tap into the insights I have gained to create powerful images that really resonate with their experience so they can easily relate to the points I want to convey.
There’s a lot of noise out-there, you have to make sure to grab – and keep! – their attention. So I use a lot of storytelling, humor, jokes to keep things fresh and light while adding value.
Example: “How to take back control of your life“
“Get them excited about your content”
Joe Elliott (One Man Wiki)
To create content that engages your audience you need to understand what they are looking for. If it doesn’t connect with them when they land on your site they will just leave.
You need to make sure that your topic aligns with their deepest desires. Get them excited about your content.
Lastly, make sure that your content is scannable, ask questions and make sure that it speaks directly to them. Include stories and inject your personality when you write to keep them engaged all the way to the end.
“Keep a conversational tone”
Harleena Singh (Aha!NOW)
I highly suggest keeping a conversational tone in the article, as if you’re talking to the reader one-to-one. Avoid writing in a third person voice as that makes the content impersonal and the reader may fail to associate with it. Throughout the content, maintain the engagement by frequently asking questions targeted at the reader. Anticipate what thoughts would run in the reader’s mind after reading the content and change the tone or direction of the content flow accordingly. Also, feed the curiosity appetite of the reader and insert elements of surprise to keep the reader guessing and looking for more. In all, you as a writer should be in the driver’s seat and make sure the readers follow you where you intend to take them. And of course, you need to keep the language simple, easy to read and make the content visually pleasing too.
Aha!NOW is a blog that helps readers find an understanding of various aspects of life – a life blog in other words. Harleena also writes a blog about re-discovering blogging. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.
“Write like you talk”
Devan Danielle (Devan Danielle)
Write like you talk. Bring your personality and personal stories into your writing. People relate to real, not perfect.
“Actually think about your audience”
Anne Day (Company of Women)
Actually think about your audience. What do they want to know? Avoid jargon. Keep it simple.
Example: “Standing out“
“Will my customer care about this?”
Becky Mollenkamp (Becky Mollenkamp)
In my opinion, there is really just one question you need to ask yourself before you write anything: “Will my customer care about this?” If you’re a business or brand (and really, everything and everyone is), then you’re writing for an audience other than yourself. It doesn’t matter if you find your content fascinating, what matters is whether your audience will. Why should they care? What’s in it for them? If your content doesn’t provide them with an education, a discount, a laugh—something of value—then you need to start over.
Becky helps freelancers, side hustlers, and struggling business owners learn to act and feel like CEOs so they can grow their businesses beyond their wildest dreams. She’s been self-employed for 12 years and she started as a freelance writer. Follow Becky on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!
“Write in a way that your readers find relatable”
Rachel Moffett – Define Your Hustle
My number one writing tip for engaging your audience is to write in a way that your readers find relatable. If your blog posts, email newsletters, and social media content feel like they were written by a robot, your audience isn’t going to connect with you. Your readers crave a human touch and you have to be able to deliver it. Instead of writing to everyone, you need to write as if you were speaking to your best friend. When you do, your readers will form a connection with you and they’ll want to take that next step by engaging with your content. Don’t forget to infuse everything you do with personality and invite your readers to engage by asking the questions that get the conversation started.
Example: “12 Habits Of Successful Bloggers“
“Write like you speak”
Jorden Roper (Writing Revolt)
Write how you speak. Don’t try to force a certain writing tone – just be yourself when you write, and you’ll attract people who genuinely appreciate you for who you really are! And that’s the key to getting lots of engagement.
If you feel stuck when it comes to writing how you speak, try recording yourself talking then translating the recording to text. This simple exercise can go a long way in helping you discover your own unique writing style!
On Writing Revolt, Jorden teaches freelance writers how to make a full-time income without content mills and bidding sites. Join her free course “Make Money Freelance Writing” and follow her on Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest.
“Share your journey and struggles with them”
Brian Lang (Small Business Ideas Blog)
To effectively engage your audience, share your journey and struggles with them. A lot of blogs just throw out random articles, but the ones that really do well are the ones where the blogger shares their journey.
“What does my ideal client need to hear from me today?”
Kelita Kellman – Kelita Kellman
When creating content that generates engagement and gets your audience taking action it’s important to speak directly to that one person that you’ve identified as your ideal (and dream) client / avatar.
A hot strategy I share with clients especially when they get stuck when coming up with ideas for creating content that converts is to ask yourself: “what does my ideal client need to hear from me today?” then create just that, just for them.
Keep it simple and highly actionable and of course include a call to action so they actually take the next step by doing whatever it is you want them to do. This could be: comment, share, join your list or to buy something.
Try it with your next piece of content, it works!
“Write content that gives your audience simple, step by step instructions”
Jen Lehner (Jen Lehner)
My number one tip is to write content that gives your audience simple, step by step instructions to achieve some sort of small (or big) win, I also try and include images and videos if that helps to explain something.
Jen is a digital marketing strategist and owner of Jen Lehner Media, LLC, where she offers online courses, group training courses online, and one on one coaching sessions. On top of that, she’s an adjunct professor of digital marketing and Entrepreneur in Residence at Notre Dame College. Get Jen’s “10 digital marketing checklist” and follow her on social media (Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook).
“Write as if you’re writing to just one person”
Kamila Gornia (Kamila Gornia)
My #1 tip is to write as if you’re writing to just one person versus a group of people. So assuming just one person at a time is reading your content (because that’s literally how it is), this way you get to engage them on a deeper level, they will feel like you are writing just to them, and that connection will be stronger. Letting go of phrases like “you guys” and “what do you all think” and replacing that with the singular option will take you far.
Kamila is a digital marketing strategist and she’s helped hundreds of modern, passion-driven entrepreneurs make the next-level income by strategizing and implementing practical marketing systems. She also helps them with DIY e-courses. Get her free eBook “3 Money Leaks Your Facebook Ad Campaign Probably Has Right Now” and follow Kamila on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram.
“Make the content focused on your audience”
Maya Elious (Maya Elious)
My #1 tip is make the content focused on your audience rather than yourself. How can they feel involved? What’s something you can say that will prompt them to respond or take action?
Example: “5 Ways To Use Content To Build Your Brand“
“Craft a great headline”
Barry Feldman (Feldman Creative)
You can only engage a reader if you have a reader. So my advice is to focus a good portion of your time and effort on crafting a great headline. Write several. Experiment with styles: questions, commands, lists, how-to’s. You might even test the headlines you feel are most promising via social media. Remember, most strong headlines make a promise. Make a compelling promise and deliver the goods in your content. That’s engagement.
“Be clear on who your audience is”
Ivana Taylor (DIYMarketers)
First, you have to be clear on who your audience is (their profile, their persona) and “what’s important to your audience when they are buying what you are selling.” Why are they buying a product or service such as yours? What job does your product or service do for them?
Knowing who your audience is and what outcome they want from your product or service will tell you the WHAT and WHY they should read your content and ultimately share it with others. The second element is just as important — what is your “point of view” around this topic? What do you believe is true about your industry, your product or service? This gives your content personality and allows it to stand out from the rest.
Example: “How to Use Hashtags to Build Your Brand“
Ivana is the founder of DIYMarketers, an online magazine for overwhelmed small business owners on a budget. She’s been featured on MSNBC, FastCompany, and Small Business Trends to name a few. Follow Ivana on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube.
“Make sure you’re covering the right topics”
Brian Honigman (Brian Honigman)
My number one tip for writing for your audience is making sure you’re covering the right topics. Dive deep and do your research to identify what your intended reader wants to learn about and what challenges they face. If your content isn’t addressing subjects of interest to your audience, then it’s missing the mark entirely.
Brian is the founder of Honigman Media, a content marketing consultancy that helps marketers and business owners better tell their story and focus their marketing on the right goals and priorities. He’s also an adjunct professor at New York University, and he’s been featured in publications like WSJ, Forbes, and Entrepreneur. Make sure you subscribe to Brian’s newsletter and follow him on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.
“Spend most of your time refining the headline and introduction”
Will Blunt (Blogger Sidekick)
My #1 writing tip is to spend most of your time refining the headline and introduction.
Without a killer headline, no one will click on your article in the first place.
Then without a compelling introduction, no one will bother scrolling down the page.
So it doesn’t matter how amazing your body content is, if people never make it that far then it will go un-read, unnoticed, and end up being a complete waste of time.
Use emotion, metaphors, stories, benefit-driven copy that sparks something inside. Then emphasize the best parts of that copy with creative formatting and visual cues.
“Make sure your writing reflects your personality”
Ashley Brooks (Brooks Editorial)
No one wants to engage with a robot, so make sure your writing reflects your personality! Pretend you’re writing to one person, like a friend you know IRL who also fits into your ideal client profile. Then read everything you’ve written out loud. If it sounds unnatural or stuffy, add more of your voice to the mix!
“Write what they want to hear”
Angela J. Ford (Angela J. Ford)
Write what they want to hear. This is about doing your research, find out what questions your audience has. Go to the places where they hang out online and find out what their recurring issues are. From there, write out the answer in a blog post from your unique perspective. You’ll see them reading, commenting, and sharing your work.
Example: “10 Ways to Improve your Blog”
“People love stories”
Ashley Faulkes (Mad Lemmings)
The biggest response I have ever gotten to a blog post was by telling a story. People love stories, and either telling one, or weaving it into your post can work wonders. Open up, reveal something that happened, something that is related to what you are writing about.
You might just get a surprise. It is the human touch that does it!
“I answer questions I get asked often”
Kirsten Oliphant (Create If Writing)
To create engaging content for my audience, I answer questions I get asked often or what I see people struggling with in Facebook groups or conversations related to blogging or social media. A great example is a post I wrote recently on using images and stock photos legally. Lawsuits have been cropping up everywhere and I noticed a lot of people sharing posts about bloggers getting sued. I created a post that shared the three things you need to know when using images legally. Because this was already a topic of conversation and a pressing question, the engagement has been great!
“You want to grab their attention first”
Meera Kothand (Meera Kothand)
To engage your audience, you want to grab their attention first. You want to reel your audience into your posts from that very first sentence. Use ‘you’ in your writing and address their emotions head on whether it’s fear, curiosity, doubt or happiness. When you lead your posts in this way, you draw your audience in and keep them reading till the end because they relate to your content and identify with your words. A bonus tip is to keep your sentences short and scannable. Chunky paragraphs with small fonts have nothing to do with your writing but they certainly can repel your audience from even the best pieces of content.
Meera is an email marketing specialist, writer, and blogger and she helps solopreneurs and bloggers craft a strategic online presence. Grab her free email course and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.You want to reel your audience into your posts from that very first sentence. - @MeeraKothand Share Meera's quote
“Be consistent with it”
Laurie Knechtel (eMotivate Marketing+Design)
I learned (the hard way) a long time ago that if an activity is not in my calendar, it’s not going to happen. But this doesn’t just apply to meetings and appointments. It’s just as applicable to the things we need to get done in our businesses. And not only do we need to schedule it, but we also need to be consistent with it. Each piece of content we create costs us our valuable time. An investment in creating a piece of content is all for not if we don’t continually and consistently create it, building our networks and credibility along the way.
Example: “The Value of Lifting Each Other Up”
“Write to your ideal client”
Suzan Czajkowski (The Comm Coach)
Focus your message on the people you actually want to work with and don’t worry about everyone else. The more people you try to write to, the fewer will actually hear what you have to say. Your best bet: Write to your ideal client. Write to your best friend! When you create a message that is focused on that one person, it will resonate. And even just that resonation is engagement, because it draws them closer to you.
Suzan is a communication coach and digital marketing consultant working with small business owners and entrepreneurs to market their businesses online with less effort and less stress. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter!
“Visualize your content as much as you can”
Marius Kiniulis (Markinblog)
My #1 writing tip is to visualize your content your content as much as you can.
For example, when I’m writing blog posts I’m always using lots of screenshots and images to make those posts look more attractive. Some good examples are my blogger outreach and Mailerlite review articles.
As you can see there are lots of images and other visual elements that makes posts to look a way more attractive and engaging.
Also I’m always trying to create my own personal screenshots and images (I’m using Canva for it) for my blog posts. This not only makes them unique but also provides more value to the blog posts and helps to get better attention from my visitors.
“Add your stories and personal journal”
Hailey Dale (Trunked Creative)
Add your own stories and personal journal to your content! This will help readers see the writer behind the content and not just the information you’re supplying. Sounds simple, but in a world of information overload, it’s absolutely necessary for cultivating connection with your audience.
Example: “How I Write 20+ Blog Posts Every Month”
Hailey is a content strategist and she partners with small business owners every day to build their content empires. Join her free Content Empire Facebook Group!
“Write in your unique brand voice”
Kayla Hollatz (Kayla Hollatz)
My best writing tip for engaging your audience is writing in your unique brand voice. You don’t have to sound like everyone else in your industry. In fact, you shouldn’t. The more you deep dive into who you are and what you offer, the more you’ll be able to communicate that in a clear, concise way. That builds trust which then builds engagement. Also, it never hurts to sprinkle in some personality, too!
Example: “Copy CPR: email course on copywriting“
“Be your audience”
Jacob McMillen (Jacob McMillen)
My #1 tip for engaging your audience is to be your audience. It’s easy to relate with a target audience when you are that audience. If you’re writing to pet owners, get a pet. If you’re writing to bloggers, start a blog. If you’re writing to ecommerce entrepreneurs, build your own online store. If that’s not possible, then make an effort to imagine yourself in their shoes. Roleplay if you need to. See what they’re struggling with. Feel what they’re feeling. You can’t engage effectively with someone without some level of empathy.
And then once you’re there, whether through experience or projection, center your discussion where the emotion is strongest. “How to’s”, guides and technical resources are great, but you aren’t going to engage with people around instructions or data. Where you really make a connection is talking about the highs and low your audience is experiencing – the frustration when your cat won’t stop biting – the joy of hitting your first 100 subscribers – the anxiety when you spend $1,000 on paid ads and don’t get a single sale.
Those are the conversations that make people want more. Those are the conversations that make people search out your work instead of you having to jam it in their face.
Jacob, a copywriter and content strategist, helps businesses optimize, startups find their voice, and freelancers make bank. He’s a regular blogger on sites like HubSpot and KISSMetrics. Grab “The Overpaid Writer’s 3-Year Career Blueprint” on Jacob’s blog and connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
“Let your own voice, excitement, and expertise shine through”
Hillary Weiss (Hillary Weiss)
Of course, when you talk about offerings, services, and products, it’s critical to keep your audience (and their needs, struggles, and goals) in mind. After all, they’re the people you’ll be buying your stuff, right? That’s Marketing 101.
However, the best way to keep their attention, and keep them coming back for more from you specifically, is by letting your own voice, excitement, and expertise shine through.
So many people talk about “finding your voice” as a brand — but really it’s about listening closely to yourself above all.
When you talk about your work, and what you’re offering, what does it light you up most to share? What can you not stop talking about? What do you consider your superpower? What shifts do you love to create for your clients? What are some industry trends you love, or hate? What “conventional wisdom” do you have to disprove, or bolster? What makes you laugh, makes you think, and makes you so excited about what you’re offering?
Genuine empathy + enthusiasm is electric. Make sure you’re letting yours shine.
Hillary is a copywriter who works with clients around the globe who hit her up for a very specific reason: they want to be heard – more clearly, creatively, and powerfully than ever. She’s been featured in publications like Business Insider and The Next Web. Connect with her on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
“Tell them a good story”
Eleanor Goold (Kreatív Copywriting)
My #1 writing tip for engaging your audience is to tell them a good story, and if possible, tell them their story. What I mean by this is that once you have hooked them with your compelling eye catching headline – which has piqued their curiosity or promised a solution to a problem (hopefully both) – you then need to keep them engaged by telling them the story of the problem they are facing and the solution you are providing so their story has a happy ending. After all…we all love a good story.
I like to say: ‘if what you’re telling ain’t compelling then you ain’t selling!’
(Image not showing? Click here!)
Whether you want great copywriting, proofreading or content creation, or just someone to provide you with a bunch of ideas which you can take away to make your business grow, Eleanor helps you with just that. Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and join her free Facebook group “The Copywriter”.
“Know who you’re writing for”
Matt Press (Splash Copywriters)
The key to engaging your audience is knowing who you’re writing for. Anyone who wishes to create effective content needs to be a bit of a detective. Research is key. Ultimately, the more info you have about your reader, the easier it is to please them.
Matt Press is the founder, owner and Director of Splash Copywriters, a team of creative, experienced copywriters who’ve written words for some of the UK’s biggest brands, including Sky, Three and Vodafone. Say “hi!” to Matt on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
“Write clearly with simple words”
David Hartshorne (Azahar Media)
I’m going to start with an assumption. I know that can be dangerous. But I’ll assume that you know who your ideal audience is?
For instance, if you expect C-level executives to be reading your content, and you’re writing in an informal style, then you might have a problem.
Putting that to one side, then I’d say my number one tip for engaging your audience is to write clearly with simple words. There’s no point trying to use sophisticated vocabulary or industry jargon in your content because that will be a big turn-off for most people.
I also try to keep the tone friendly and inclusive, by using the word ‘you’ rather than ‘I,’ ‘we,’ or ‘me.’ You have to use a few of those pronouns, but keep the majority as ‘you,’ and you’ll keep your audience engaged.
David Hartshorne is a freelance writer helping solopreneurs and small business owners build their online presence through friendly, engaging and shareable blog posts. When he’s not checking out the latest digital marketing tools, you’ll find him chilling with a thriller in Spain. Connect with him on Twitter and Pinterest.
“Write for people by using their words”
Ashlyn Carter (Ashlyn Writes)
Write for your people by using their words, and dying to yourself a bit in places on your sales page. This means you need to always start with surveying your audience to swipe copy from them.
Here are some ideas for swiping copy:
- Dig into Facebook threads
- Pilfer through Amazon book reviews for your topic (for example, if you’re a hand-letterer who teaches, what feedback do purchasers of hand-lettering books on Amazon have to say about what they wanted to learn [or didn’t learn])
- Run surveys (click here for a pinnable list of 12 questions to ask your audience)
- Read through your email banter between clients you loved serving
Ashlyn is a conversion copywriter and calligrapher. She serves creative women by writing bespoke words in a world of digital data and she’s worked with brands like Delta Air Lines and Princess Cruises. Connect with Ashlyn on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook and download her free brand voice guide.
“Use a conversational style”
Glenn Murray (Divine Write)
Use a conversational style. No matter how much your point resonates with the reader, if you don’t make it accessible, they’ll skip it. So write much as you speak. Use contractions. Start sentences with conjunctions. Finish them with prepositions. Say “you” not “the user” or “the customer”. Use short sentences. Use long sentences too, because they combine with the short ones to create a rhythm. Break the rules of grammar when you have a reason to. Like now. Remember, everyone talks like a human, even C-level execs. The closer you can get to that style (without going overboard), the better. But bear in mind that your goal is to NOT be noticed. Your writing shouldn’t be the focus, just the medium. If your style is noteworthy (to anyone but a writer or someone looking to engage a copywriter), you’ve failed.
“Write as you speak”
Nick Daws (Entrepreneur Writer)
“Write as you speak” (or WAYS for short). People often seem to believe that to be taken seriously you must write long, complicated sentences, but nothing could be further from the truth. With online content especially, short, snappy sentences and paragraphs are far more likely to engage your audience.
Lizzie Davey (Wanderful World)
My number one tip is to write conversationally. A lot of brands and entrepreneurs make the mistake of going all stuffy and corporate with their words which only serves to drive audiences away. Think of them as people (which they are – duh!) and speak to them like you’d speak to them in person. I’ve found the best way to boost engagement is to nurture relationships by being a human, asking questions, and generally taking an interest in your audience. Everyone wants to feel like they’re a part of something, and creating a kind of two-way dialogue does exactly this.
Lizzie is a business and marketing writer. On Wanderful World, she helps creative freelancers grow their business. Download “The profitable freelance business blueprint” and follow Lizzie on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook.
“Your audience needs to find your content valuable”
Matt Brennan (Matthew L. Brennan)
I’d say the number one tip is to engaging your audience is actually spending time considering what type of content they’re looking for. The content needs to solve whatever problem drove them to your site in the first place. It needs to be engaging, written in a language that they identify with. Your audience needs to find your content valuable, and they need to like you in order to do business with you. That’s only possible when you spend some serious time thinking from your audience’s perspective.
Example: “What Great Copywriting Looks Like”
“Know your audience”
Jessica Mehring (Horizon Peak Consulting)
My #1 writing tip for engaging your audience is … know your audience. Intimately. Go beyond the typical one-page buyer persona and get to know who your target buyer is as a person. What questions are they asking? (Hint: Follow them on social media.) What do they need from you? (Hint: Run customer surveys.) How are they interacting with your website? (Hint: Monitor your website analytics.) With this deeper understanding of who you’re writing for, you can create content that truly engages.
Jessica is a copywriter and content writer. She’s the founder of Horizon Peak Consulting, where she helps IT, software and tech businesses create world-class content. On her site The Content Lab, she trains copywriters & marketers to write marketing content that turns tech readers into tech buyers. Say “Hi!” to Jessica on Twitter and Facebook.
“You have to always provide value”
Bryan Cohen (Sell More Books Show)
My #1 tip is that you have to always provide value. Even when I send a quick email away just to get it out of my inbox ( 😉 ), I try to give as much value as possible because you never know when it will actually do that person some good.
Example: “How to Work for Yourself: 100 Ways to Make the Time, Energy and Priorities to Start a Business, Book or Blog” (eBook on Amazon)
Bryan Cohen is an author, a speaker and a freelance writer. He has written over 30 books, including 1,000 Creative Writing Prompts and the Ted Saves the World Series. Connect with him on Twitter.
“Imagine that you’re talking to someone who’s recently become a good friend”
Danielle Pastula (Danielle Pastula)
When you’re writing, imagine that you’re talking to someone who’s recently become a good friend. They’re not your best friend, they don’t know everything about you and your life, but you know each other enough to dive into conversation effortlessly without worrying about what to say or if you’re going to sound silly. You’re simply relaxed, having fun, and going in with the expectation that you want to continue growing your friendship. Stick to that conversational and friendly style of writing, and I think you’ll find that the audience you want to serve will naturally attract to you.
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“My #1 writing tip for engaging your audience is to know who they are”
Clement Lim (limwriter)
My #1 writing tip for engaging your audience is to know who they are. And I mean really know them, in a deep and meaningful way.
It’s too easy to create content based on what we think our audience wants to read. But these assumptions are often off the mark. Ultimately we’re here to serve our audience and the more we know about them, the more we can help them.
Find out where your audience hangs out online. Read what they’re saying: in forums, blog comments and social media. Speak to them in real life, ask them out for a coffee.
Get to understand their aspirations, their values and their fears. This is vital if you want to create content that engages their thoughts and emotions.
Get a feel for the words and phrases they use to express themselves. This is the kind of language you need to use to show empathy with them.
Get to know what they really want, but aren’t getting. This will help you come up with content ideas that will excite and thrill them.
“Add value to your readers”
Bianca Bass (Bianca Bass)
Add value to your readers. Make sure every post serves them, not you. My rule is simple: if there isn’t an obvious (and super helpful!) key takeaway from a blog post, I won’t post it. I want each and every one of my readers to leave my blog feeling a little more empowered, a little more supported, a little more alive. There’s a lot of content out there — the only way to get noticed and build an audience is to add genuine, helpful value.
“Write without fear of vulnerability”
Kimberly Crossland (Kimberly Crossland)
My #1 tip is to write without fear of vulnerability. The minute we get caught up in worrying about what everyone else thinks about what we’re saying is the minute we lose our ability to be authentic. And authenticity is what engages, inspires, and ultimately gets people to act. Remember, people don’t buy from robots or corporations. They buy from other people. When you have a fabulous experience flying on Southwest because the flight attendants made you laugh and seemed to genuinely care, then a horrible experience flying on United Airlines because (beyond the recent video) a flight attendant publicly shamed you on a flight for having a sick baby (that happened to me), you’re more likely to choose Southwest again in the future. That’s not because of some great slogan. It’s because the people you engaged with made your experience more enjoyable.
Example: “Vulnerability in Copywriting“
“The key is to find out who your customers are and write solely for them”
Lorrie Hartshorn (Lorrie Hartshorn)
My advice is to really get to know your audience, and to focus on writing for them – not your peers, not yourself, and definitely not the world as a whole! Not everyone is going to be interested in the content you produce, and that’s OK – the key is to find out who your customers are and write solely for them.
We all want to feel that we can get to know and trust the brands we connect with, and if we feel like they’re communicating directly and effectively with us – that they understand us and care about what matters to us – we’re far more likely to become loyal to them.
Example: “How Much Does Website Copywriting Cost?”
“We really just need to be ourselves”
Bree Brouwer (Bree Brouwer)
My #1 tip for writing content which engages your audience is summarized in this scene from one of my favorite movies of all time, Just Friends:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFnr0_q_GKU. Basically, as much as we sometimes feel like we need to write a certain way or sound like others in our field, we really just need to be ourselves; your style will naturally resonate with a certain audience, who will keep coming back because they like you and not the other guy down the digital road (some of your audience members might even beg for more).
— Bree Brouwer (@BreeBrouwer) March 15, 2017
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Bree is a content marketing writer and her specialties lie in anything tech- and video-related: YouTube, online video, video marketing, digital media, streaming media, influencer marketing, and entertainment technology. Connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn!
“Find your voice, and don’t be afraid to use it”
Sara Frandina (Sara Frandina)
The key to cutting through the clutter in the content world is bringing your voice to the table. Your audience — at least the people you want following you — won’t feel a connection with someone who sounds like everyone else. But they will connect and engage with someone who has a clear voice that they can relate to. Find your voice, and don’t be afraid to use it.
Example: “The Content Strategy That Wins Every Time”
Sara is a full-time, self-employed copywriter, editor, and content strategist and she has help countless business owners sell, connect, and simply make sense of business and life. Connect with Sara on Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram and download her Content Ideas Worksheet on her site.
“Write as if you’re talking to one person rather than a group”
Lucy Becker (Spotty Octopus)
Write as if you’re talking to one person rather than a group. People will engage with you if they feel a personal connection, not if they’re being addressed as a crowd. Imagine your biggest fan and write directly to them.
For example, saying ‘Thanks to those of you who read my last article’ sounds impersonal. Instead, something like ‘Did you read my last article? If so, hope you enjoyed it. If not, you can catch up here…’
This conversational tone helps readers feel like you’re talking to them personally and they’ll be more engaged.
Example: “6 Pick N Mix Ways To Come Up With Blog Ideas”
Lucy is the founder of Spotty Octopus, a digital marketing company helping small businesses to develop through social media, content marketing, and SEO. Say “hi!” to Lucy on Twitter.
“Don’t be afraid to get opinionated and controversial”
Marlene Srdic (Glitz & Grammar)
Don’t be afraid to get opinionated and controversial. Oftentimes when it comes to business writing, we put on our peacekeeper hat and refrain from saying what we really think and feel. This results in stale copy that’s not authentic and your audience can see right through that. I’m not saying stir things up just for the sake of getting a reaction, but don’t be afraid to share with your audience what you genuinely feel is true. After all, they’re following you because of your trusted opinion and expertise! So go ahead, get real.
Example: “Secrets To Writing Conversational Copy”
Melanie Kernodle (CopyRefresh)
My #1 tip when it comes to engaging your audience is to ask questions. It seems so simple, but it really goes a long way. This is especially true for social media because it makes it easier for people to interact with you. If you’re just telling them something or giving them advice, they don’t have anything to respond to really. But if you ask them a direct question, you’re much more likely to get some responses back. To go along with that, also make sure that you’re including CTAs (call to actions) so that people know how you want them to interact with you. If you want them to engage with your content, tell them to do that! It’s as simple as that.
“The best hook is a compelling story”
Janine Duff (Janine Duff)
The best hook is a compelling story. Top 10 tips and how-to posts may grab your audience’s attention, but you’re more likely to keep it if you can tie your content into those memorable personal experiences that resonate with your readers.
On her blog, Janine women coaches, creatives and consultants with copywriting and email marketing. Follow Janine on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram and get the Top 5 About Page Hooks that captivate readers in 60 seconds or less on her site.
“Know what values and beliefs you share with your audience”
Razwana Wahid (Relentless Movement)
Know what values and beliefs you share with your audience. People do business with those that are alike, which means the more values and beliefs you share, the quicker you’ll build trust (and engagement) with your audience. When adding stories to your writing, training and conversations, share those that showcase your shared values – people can’t help but bond with those that are just like them.
“My number one tip is to practice empathy”
Bryan Collins (Become A Writer Today)
My number one tip is to practice empathy.
Get yourself inside the heads of your ideal readers, like Sherlock Holmes did when solving a crime!
When you write a post, it should be about your reader and not about you. Yes personal stories and anecdotes are great and they can prove a point, but they are difficult to pull off… unless they relate to your reader. So answer the questions your readers are struggling with. Ask every new person who subscribes to your email list (you do have one right?) ‘What are you struggling with right now?” Then, go out of your way to answer these questions in your posts.
Example: “Self-Editing: How to Improve Your Writing”
“Make your content ABOUT your readers”
Rochelle Melander (Write Now Coach)
Make Your Content ABOUT Your Readers! So often we want to write about our services or offer information about a topic, but readers really want us to talk to them about them! So, give them what they want! Once, while vacationing in Branson, MO, a salesperson offered us free tickets to a show plus a bunch of other sweet freebies—all we had to do was listen to his presentation (sales pitch). The sales guy correctly identified the universal problem facing families on vacation: they want to have fun and not spend a lot of money. He solved that for us with the freebies. As you write your content, consider this: what does the reader want? How can you hook them with a compelling story?
Example: “Write your Book Quickly and Easily”
Write Now! Coach Rochelle Melander is an author, a certified professional coach, and a popular speaker. Melander has written ten books including Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days (And Live to Tell About It). As the Write Now! Coach, she teaches professionals how to write books fast, get published, and connect with readers through social media. Get your free subscription to her Write Now! Tips Ezine at http://www.writenowcoach.com. Connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.
“Make it all about them”
Ayodeji Awosika (Ayo, The Writer)
My number one tip for engaging your audience is to make it seem like you’re talking directly to them — like it’s a conversation instead of a blog post or a sales pitch. Be yourself. Write like you talk — there’s no need for verbose language. Be real. You can write about the driest subject matter, e.g., web development and l make it personable with humor and storytelling.
Lastly, make it all about them. The #1 mistake I see in 99.9 % of failed bloggers or content creators is that you can tell they’re in it for them. The word ‘you’ is the most powerful word in content marketing. Remember that everyone is looking out for their own self-interests. If you can help them in that regard, they’ll follow you.
Ayodeji is the author of the Amazon bestselling book “The Destiny Formula”. On his blog, he helps aspiring writers remove the word aspiring from their dictionary and turn pro. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.
“Share what you’re really thinking and feeling”
Jennifer Blanchard (Jennifer Blanchard)
My #1 writing tip for engaging an audience would be– Share what you’re really thinking and feeling, especially on topics that will be of interest to your target audience. Do this daily. Connect it to a call to action. All of my best and most engaging posts on my blog and social have been ones where I just shared what I was thinking and feeling in that moment.
“The trick is to realize that people have a short attention span”
Ian Cleary (Razor Social)
I recently started a YouTube and I’m getting a lot of engagement. The trick is to realize that people have a short attention span so you need to have jump cuts (cuts our pauses), change scenes regularly, introduce humor and more. This helps a lot with engagement.
Example: Ian’s YouTube channel
“Be “present” when you talk to someone”
Ted Rubin (Ted Rubin)
Over the years I’ve been asked by a lot of people how they can be more successful in building relationships on social channels. And the one thing that keeps coming to the surface is the importance of being “present” when you’re talking to someone.
You know how it is when you meet someone at a conference or in a networking situation and they’re constantly looking around the room to see who else is there, or they’re looking at their watch, or anywhere except at you? Those signals mean they aren’t really “present” in the conversation, so there is no true connection.
The same principles apply to online relationships, so I’m a big proponent of doing what I call… Looking People in the Eye Digitally, as well as personally. Introductions and ongoing relationships in social platforms require the same personal attention as the human touch and eye contact in a physical relationship.
Read more here and get Ted’s 12 tips for building personal relationships online.
“It has to be about them”
Kara Lambert (Kara Lambert)
My number 1 tip for engaging my audience:
It has to be about them, it could be about their needs, fears, or values. It could meet their need to be educated, entertained or inspired. To engage an audience, it has to be about them.
Kara connects business owners to their clients through psychology and helps them develop better relationships with their clients, increase their visibility through their website and social media presences, and demystifies the two. Follow Kara on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Snapchat (thekaralambert).
“Content is king, but consistency is queen”
Julie & Steve Harris (Whiskey & Red)
As a designer, I will always advocate for professional photography, or quality stock imagery to provide that polished and professional look to complement your content. But overall – for the long term engagement motivator – you want to keep your designs consistent. Content is king, but consistency is queen.
Find a suite of design elements that you can implement consistently through your visuals and across all your content in order to establish your brand’s identity. Use consistent colors, photography styles, and typography. Create or invest in custom graphic templates you can reuse for your blog or promotional materials. And be sure to have a variety of logo variations to use across all your marketing avenues to tie everything in together.
Creating an identity that is consistent creates that familiarity and confidence in the content you are creating for your clients and followers, especially online. It’s this confidence that creates trust and trust is everything in business. When someone feels like they know you, they have a higher chance of engaging with you and your content and hopefully investing in your products and services.
Example: “How To Create Consistent Visual Branding“
About Julie & Steve:
Julie and Steve help small business owners look as professional online as they do in person. Download Julie’s and Steve’s free branding workbook on the site and connect with them on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
“Select the right colors for your blog and website”
Marianne Manthey (Design Your Own Blog)
My #1 design tip for engaging your audience would be to select the right colors for your blog or website. Colors do more than just make things pretty, they can actually evoke moods and sometimes even strong emotions. You know what they say about first impressions, right? Color plays a huge role in the impression your website gives because it’s the most identifiable factor in people’s minds when they arrive at a site. It takes just seconds for them to decide whether or not you’re right for them and if your colors turn them off, they’ll click away immediately. You’d never see pink and lavender in a site targeted at men, just like you’d never see primary colors (red, yellow, blue) used in a site that targets upper class women, even if they’re moms. My advice is to identify which colors actually speak to the audience you’re trying to attract. Study colors and their meanings and use a color tool like Adobe Kuler (https://color.adobe.com/), then choose your color palette accordingly.
Example: Color For Bloggers (articles on how you can use colors for your blog)
On DYOB, Marianne teaches and inspires creative solopreneurs how to make their blogs more beautiful. Check out Marianne’s freebie library and connect with her on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook.
See? You CAN write engaging content
All the experts who contributed to this massive post: Thank you SO much!
And thank YOU for reading. Hope you got a ton of new, engaging content ideas. Knowing your audience, listening to them, sharing stories… Pure gold!
Over to you:
What’s your #1 tip for writing engaging content? What’s worked for you and what hasn’t?
Leave a quick comment below!