How to Produce Engaging Content That People Will Read

In this article, you’ll learn how to utilize the right mix of content to boost credibility, direct traffic, and engage your target audience.

Content marketing is the best way to grow your business in today’s marketplace. It’s no secret that 70% of people say they’d rather learn about products or services through content than traditional advertising.

Though not surprisingly, 64% of marketers say their biggest challenge is producing enough effective, quality content (Content Marketing Institute 2014). After building a dozen blogs and publishing gobs of articles throughout the years, I can confidently say that it really is hard to produce engaging content on a regular basis.

So, how should a person or business go about producing engaging content that their audience will actually read?

First, utilize the right mix of content

I’ve done this wrong so many times.

Let me pay your dumb tax for you, and don’t start like most bloggers by writing your own content all the time. Here’s why:

  • You have a life

  • You’ll burn out crazy fast

  • Content quality is only as good as you are

  • You can’t scale yourself

  • Your audience will get bored

Instead, utilize the right mix of content to keep your audience engaged with fresh, quality articles that resonate with their life. Share on-brand stories created specifically for your brand, boost credibility, push cadence, and direct traffic with fully-licensed, legally-compliant content, and leverage snackable content through your users that engages your target audience.

Here are 3 kinds of content that are included in the most successful content marketing strategies.

1. Custom content

Whether it’s you, sub-contractors, or your team of in-house writers doing the work, creating and publishing custom content is your chance to share on-brand stories that resonate with your audience.

Since there’s no one else who knows your niche’s pains and your company’s solution better than you do, using custom content when you let your brand voice shine and strategically deliver the content you’re looking for in the marketplace.

When using other types of content, you may not have your share of control of the quality, but when you put the time and energy into creating custom content, you can focus on quality over quantity.

Currently, my favorite brand to watch is VanWinkles.com. They put a lot of focus on custom content, and do a very good job.

VanWinkles is a content brand from Casper, a company that understands a very tight niche of their market that was under-served. They use an amazing design, fresh content (literally), and a strong call-to-action (subscribe) to generate a list of consumers who might be interested to buy their stuff at some point. 

Don’t rush through custom content creation. Put a lot of time and effort into creating the best content in the world around your audience or niche.

2. Licensed content

Should you license content from other online publications? Won't Google penalize you for duplicate content, tank your SEO, and flag your site as SPAM?!?

A few years ago, the answer would be yes, mainly due to Google’s dislike of duplicate content. Today, the SEO landscape is completely different. Licensing content can be an extremely smart tactic if executed properly.

Since there’s definitely a lot of confusion and negativity around duplicate content practices, I’d encourage you and your business to take an open approach and seriously consider the benefits of using licensed content in your thought leadership strategy. Make sure to follow these SEO best practices for duplicate content provided by MOZ. Also, reference my favorite article to date (that is, until I write a better one) on duplicate content by Dr. Peter J. Meyers called Duplicate Content in a Post-Panda World. I’ll also be providing a number of articles on the issue of duplicate content in the near future.

The benefits of licensed content are many. Licensed content allows you to publish full-text articles, complete with the required attribution text, in your brand’s owned channels. Publishing licensed content is most effective when you’re looking for increased engagement.

When asked in this article about a good example of companies effectively using licensed content, Michael Brenner, Head of Strategy at NewsCred responded:

I think CapGemini at Content-Loop.com is a great example of a brand using licensed content to drive new user engagement and direct leads to their sales team (full disclosure – they are  NewsCred client). They regularly publish licensed and original content on their site, then they promote these posts organically and in sponsored LinkedIn updates. This drives traffic to their “brand experience” where CapGemini offers more in-depth content and also invites the reader to connect with a consultant in the sector or topic related to the article that brought them there. This is a great example of using licensed content to drive effective engagement and conversions.

Licensing quality content is a cheap, smart, and effective way to increase engagement on your marketing channels. You won’t spend any time creating the content, but you’ll have an extra abundance of knowledge to share and add value to your audience.

3. Social content

What do a kitten, Thanksgiving, and a GoPro camera have in common? Check this out:

The answer is…. brilliantly executed social content by GoPro.

Social content, or user-generated content, is any form of content (such as blogs, wikis, discussion forums, posts, chats, tweets, podcasting, pins, digital images, video, audio files, and other forms of media) that was created by users of an online system or service. The best example of effective social content that comes to mind is GoPro. “GoPro does a great job of utilizing its fans’ videos to show off the features and quality of its camera. GoPro proves that great content — no matter what the source or purpose — will gain an audience,” said Michael Brenner in a recent NewsCred article.

If you’re interested in numbers, Fast Company reports that GoPro more than doubled its net income from 2010 to 2011 to $24.6 million but only spent $50,000 more in marketing costs to do it. GoPro repeated the feat in 2013, increasing marketing costs by only $41,000, but making $28 million more in net income. “Many media platforms are proving that user-generated content has the quality to captivate audiences. Video cameras affixed to the helmets of skiers, snowboarders, and BASE jumpers generate footage for the slickest television commercials, and Instagram photos from fashion fans are now the center of online catalogues for major fashion brands,” writes Kevin Bobowski.

The rapid growth of GoPro through their brilliantly planned UGC is a reminder to anyone with an advertising budget that marketing and advertising is rapidly changing, and without utilizing social content in your strategy, you’re likely missing out.

Interested in creating more effective, quality content for your business? Let me help you produce the right kind of content to boost credibility, direct traffic, and engage your target audience today.