Have you followed the content marketing playbook, but are still having trouble building an audience for your website? Your content may bring a lot of traffic to your website, but something is still missing. Your visitors are not staying long or returning often. What can you do to make your readers engage?
People may come to your website for content, but they will stay for the community. Ultimately, your readers are looking to connect with other people with similar interests.
They want to belong to a community of like-minded people. Great content marketing gets you started, but you need to build an online community around your website or blog to grow your readership.
You have to go beyond the basics of content marketing to convert the traffic drawn to your site by content into a loyal group of readers.
Building Engagement Is Still Important But Ignore By Many
Many bloggers and companies do not understand the values of building a community that consist engaging with your contents. Building engagement wasn’t a crazy idea, but it is a practical idea used by many content marketers.
Engaging your readership definitely has many positive benefits for your website:
- Engagement develops an emotional bond between you and your audience. It also forges strong connections between the individuals who make up your readership.
- The emotional connection creates a loyal and passionate readership that is committed to the values and message that you are trying to promote on your site.
- With a community of loyal readers, your site takes on a life of its own. The whole is larger than the sum of the parts.
- The community amplifies your reach. As people share your content on their social networks, you reach more people.
- You can take advantage of the two-way communication of the Internet. By listening to your readers’ comments and suggestions, you can improve your site.
That is why it is important to get beyond content marketing and do more than just post attractive content. You have to follow through and engage with your readership to build a community.
How To Create Successful Engagement
There are many useful strategies to create engagement. Here is just a few tip to create engagement:
- Don’t shy away from controversy:- Your niche probably has some controversial topics. You should pick a side on these issues and explain your position. People who agree with you will enjoy your post and people who disagree will read it as well. You don’t have to be rude to the people who disagree with you, but you do have commit to a side. You could even engage other bloggers and thought leaders in your field in respectful conversation about these topics with your blog and social media.
- Ask for comments, likes and shares:- By letting your audience know that you are interested in having a conversation, you make them more inclined to leave a comment on your blog or social media. When someone does leave a comment, you need to respond to it. Even a simple “thank you” lets the person know you are engaged in a conversation with your audience.
- Respond to questions:- If someone asks you a question, take it as a request for more content. Answer that question in a blog posts and mention the reader by name (if they give permission). You can also develop your responses to reader comments into full-fledged blog posts.
- Trust your audience:- Building a community means giving up some control of your message. Your website becomes a cooperative endeavor between you and the members of your audience. By empowering your audience to contribute to your site, your readers can become marketing ambassadors for you. If you try take complete control of your message, you will damage your credibility with your audience.
Why storytelling is the way to create Engaging Content
Everyone loves stories. We tend to insert ourselves into the narrative and develop an emotional connection. That is why stories are some of the most engaging content that you can create. Here are some tips for telling stories on your site.
- Be vulnerable:- Open up to people, they can relate to you better. This is a bit scary, but in the end, it is very rewarding.
- Evoke emotions:- By revealing some of your emotions, you can forge a connection with your readers and what they are experiencing.
Get excited with your audiences
- Use case studies:- These are great story-telling tools for businesses. Fizzle is a great example of sharing many successful moments, crazy moments and failure moments from their customer in their podcast. Their audiences are more willing to come back because these are moments they can easily related to and understand.
- Ask for Testimonials:- Let people tell their story about the issues and values that your site deals with. You don’t want people to say how great you are. You want them to tell their story about how their life changed. Mindvalley is also a great example; Mindvalley provided a valuable technique for meditation and asked for feedback. Therefore, everyone is more than willing to share the results because they just simply asked. “Matthew 7:7 Ask and you shall receive”
Another Look at Fizzle
Check out Fizzle.co, a site that offers training for entrepreneurs who want to start online businesses. It is deliberately building a community of creative entrepreneurs to share experiences about starting on online business. It offers a lot of content for members who pay a monthly fee, but more importantly, it offers an online community to be a part of.
Fizzle offers a blog and podcast to promote the site. This gives you a taste of the content that you will experience when you join the community. The podcast is an hour long conversation where the hosts respond to member questions, tell stories of success and failure, and give tips and advice.
It uses narrative as a powerful tool to share experiences and bring people into the community. Entrepreneurs can recognize their experiences in these stories. If an entrepreneur listens regularly to the podcast, he may become a member of the site.
This is why narrative works. The listener sees himself as a part of the story. When you create a narrative, it draws your audience into your brand and helps them to connect emotionally with you.
To connect with people, you need to bring your site beyond content marketing. Building an online community is the way to get your message out. You can’t fake this with tool or tricks. You have to open up and engage with your readership.
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