If you have worked in the online or digital marketing world for any length of time, at some point in your career, you will have experienced that sinking feeling you get when a blog post or article you have spent hours lovingly crafting flops.
Having a blog that doesn’t do well is even more difficult to stomach, given that user engagement is one of the key metrics by which we measure the success or failure of our digital marketing strategies – and when a blog post fails to gain traction, it is hard not to get disheartened.
However, just because you’ve had a run of blog posts that have failed to gain traction doesn’t mean that you are doomed to irrelevance. Instead, it is just a sign that a different strategy is needed.
Although poor engagement is definitely not something you should take lightly, it is also not an impossible obstacle to overcome. With that said, in this short blog post, we will try to demystify what exactly user ‘engagement’ is, and provide you with some tips, tricks and strategies to better understand and improve it.
What is ‘engagement’, and why does it matter?
Although the meaning might seem obvious at first glance, in reality there are different ways of thinking about engagement when it comes to your digital marketing content.
For some, engagement might simply mean the number of views that a particular blog post gets. For others, however, the total number of views might be meaningless if the whole point of the blog is to encourage sales conversions. As such, for this demographic of digital marketers, ‘engagement’ might be taken to mean click-throughs or something else entirely.
Recently, a more general understanding of engagement has been adopted by some digital marketers. For these professionals, being overly quantitative in how we understand engagement is to miss the point entirely. For them, the point of writing a blog post is to convey an idea or message to the audience, and for them to understand and absorb it. In this sense, engagement goes far beyond just measuring increases in traffic.
In reality, engagement means all of these things. When you are trying to gauge the impact that your content is having online, you should consider each of them individually. While metrics such as subscriptions, follows, shares, comments, views and click-throughs are all important, it is necessary to first focus on producing high-quality content that is readable and that conveys its intended message effectively.
Also, content that scores highly on user engagement will tend to fare better in search engine rankings.
Although metrics aren’t the only thing that we should measure engagement by, they are nevertheless an incredibly useful tool in helping to get a rough sense of what is and isn’t working when it comes to your content. With that said, here are some popular ways of measuring engagement:
- Sharing: If one of your posts is being shared a lot on social media, this is a good sign that readers are engaging with it. After all, the fact that someone has decided to share a blog post or article with their friends implies that they read and understood it! For this reason, measuring how widely your posts are shared on social media can give you a good indication of not only how wide your audience is, but also how many readers the post seems to resonate with.
- Time spent on page: Given that we now live in the age of distraction, measuring how much time users spend on a webpage before navigating away will tell you a lot about how people are engaging with it. If, for example, out of 100 visitors, 95 of them navigate away within the first 10 seconds of reading a blog post, this is a sign that the engagement is low. If, on the other hand, the readers tend to stick around for a few minutes before navigating away, this indicates that users are reading the article and genuinely engaging with it.
- Inbound links: Keeping track of what activity your inbound links are getting is generally a good indication of the level of engagement. If you are seeing a lot of inbound activity from other blogs, this means that other websites are finding your content valuable.
- Click-throughs: A high click-through rate is a good sign that readers are finding value in your content. If visitors feel compelled to follow links embedded in your post, this indicates that they are engaged and interested.
Although there is no single metric that can give you a complete overview of the level of engagement your post is getting, by keeping track of different types of metrics, it’s possible to get a better, more realistic picture.
Now that you have a better sense of what engagement is and how it’s measured, we can look at some specific strategies and methods that will hopefully increase it
- Know your audience and their interests: Although it might seem like an obvious suggestion, it is important to produce content that matches your intended audience’s interests. You should always be writing with that in mind, rather than focusing on your own interests! Engagement will naturally be higher when a blog post or article is aligned with what your audience wants to read about.
- Be unique: Content that manages to express the unique personality of the author tends to have higher levels of engagement than more generically written content. Therefore, don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through when you are writing. Creating compelling content is all about making a connection with your audience. This is much harder to do when your writing lacks authenticity.
- Be visual: Although the content you are creating might be in a written format, this does not mean that you should avoid introducing some visual elements. Brains tend to process visual information much faster, and so using visual representations of ideas, data or other information can be a useful way of conveying a message to your audience. Images grab the attention in a way that written text never will, so it’s important not to neglect the visual components of your content!
- Consistency is key: Consistency is an aspect of producing content that is often overlooked. Users will tend to favour websites that are more consistent in their content output. This does not necessarily mean that you have to put out a new blog post every day, but rather stick to a schedule that is predictable and regular. Having a content schedule is a good way of automating this process, as well as helping to keep yourself accountable.
- Invite engagement: It’s important to never be afraid to ask for engagement. Show your audience that you are talking to them directly, and that you actively want them to engage with you. Give them instructions and encouragement, such as an invitation to comment on, or share, your post. This is where your call to action is important, as it essentially contains your instructions on what a reader should do next.
Putting it all together
If you need some help encouraging engagement among the readers of your blog, feel free to reach out to a member of the Purecontent team today! Purecontent are experts at creating written content that will captivate an audience, encourage engagement, and help you convert website visits into business opportunities. By booking a free consultation with our team of expert content consultants, we will help you to design and execute a content strategy that will boost your online presence.