by Chuck Breckenridge | January 8, 2018
Every writer wants the reader to enjoy their work.
Unlike a traditional paperback or hardback novel, you can actually tell if there is reader engagement. There are metrics and software that can track visitor retention, reader engagement, etc. In fact, Google actually uses this as one of their criteria in ranking sites.
After all, if visitors are hanging out on your site for long periods of time, your content has to be good.
So, when creating content for the web, you will always want to employ strategies that will pull in readers like insects to a spider web. Your content will need to be useful, interesting and engaging. Over and above that, you must actively encourage reader interaction on your articles and blogs.
Let’s look at how you can do that.
1. Ask and ye shall receive
This is without a doubt one of the most effective methods of encouraging interaction. Ask questions that will prompt your readers to answer. The following are a few questions or calls to action that you add to your content spark some engagement.
- What problems are you facing?
- Do you have any suggestions?
- Do you agree with this article?
- Has this article helped you?
- What do you think?
- Have you experienced what this content is talking about?
- Do you have anything to add about the issue mentioned?
One point to note here will be that some topics lend themselves to this approach better than others. It all depends on the topic being covered. Niches such as cooking or internet marketing will get a lot of engagement.
Recipe sites often see lots of people sharing cooking tips, recipes, etc. A blog post about treatments for herpes is not going to see much feedback due to the stigma and embarrassment attached to the disease.
2. Respond to comments
Many Facebook fan pages and YouTube celebrities become very popular when the person behind these, responds to comments and builds rapport with the people commenting.
It’s similar to interacting with an authority figure or celebrity and people love to see their comments being replied to. They feel useful and appreciated. As a result, they are keener to comment and follow your posts, etc. By making time to respond to comments and posts, you’ll be encouraging your readers to chime in with their comments, suggestions and opinions.
3. Be controversial
People love controversy and many are waiting to get all heated up and offer their opinions and debate those whose ideas are contrary to their own. This is especially so in political discussions where vehement arguments between different supporters is the norm.
By writing about a potentially heated topic and encouraging discourse over the matter, you can boost reader engagement. However, you must take care to ensure that the controversy that you’re trying to create, gels well with your brand and/or personality. Do not do it for the sake of doing it.
4. Share a picture or video
People are much more attracted to images over words since we’re all visual people. An interesting picture, funny meme or a good video will keep your audience more interested in your content.
5. Tell a personal story
People are usually interested in other people. It’s just human nature. Every once in a while, relate a personal story in your articles or blog posts. Ideally, your story should be interesting with a point that you are trying to drive home. There must be a purpose to your story.
It should give the reader an insight into your life, motivate them or teach them something.
If you follow the 5 points above, you will have more reader activity and comments that will make your blog more interesting and credible.
What other ways are there to increase your reader engagement? I would love to hear them.
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