You sigh as you look at the engagement metrics. You’re not hitting the mark, but you don’t know exactly why. “What makes a good blog?” you ask, as you pound your head on your desk in frustration.
Driving content engagement isn’t some magic formula only a select few content marketers master. It’s as simple as identifying the characteristics of an effective blog, creating content that ticks off all those boxes, and then measuring the results.
Then, looking at the data, tweak your posts until they do measure up in both engagement and customer acquisition. Good content marketing should do both.
What Metrics Do I Target to Boost Engagement and Acquisition?
In content marketing, customer acquisition is most often a direct result of engagement. If your content aligns with your target customers’ interests and needs, they’ll look to you for your expertise in meeting those needs.
When they do need a product or service that you sell, they’ll be more likely to seek you out. Familiarity, it would seem, breeds the exact opposite of contempt. It builds trust.
To measure engagement – the road to customer acquisition – you’ll need to look at the following metrics in your content analytics platform.
- Post views: If a lot of your target customers visit a particular post, chances are, either its headline or its content promise to help them solve a problem or meet a need.
- Time spent on the post and on your website: This number, of course, will vary according to the length of the post. However, if readers interact with the post, clicking links to learn more information about the topic, it shows that they are engaging with your content. If their search leads them to explore more pages on your site, that’s a good sign that they’re engaged with your content.
- Bounce rate: When readers click away quickly after scanning your post, it’s an indication that your post didn’t deliver what the headline promised. One caveat here, though. If they clicked away to another of your blog posts through an internal link, your post is furnishing at least some of the information they needed. Tweaking such a post might be as simple as adding a few facts from the second post to the first one so that everything readers need is available on a single post.
- Conversion rate: Depending on the action you want readers to take, this metric can either measure customer acquisition (when they click through to buy) or deeper engagement (signing up for a newsletter subscription or an ebook). Either way, it’s a good sign that your target customers are engaging with the post.
- Number of social shares: When readers share information they’ve found on your blog post with others that need it, it demonstrates that your content is helpful enough to share. Recommendations from friends, too, earn an 83 percent trust factor, so social shares can drive customer acquisition as well.
Now that you know what to measure, determine the blog post qualities that will drive those metrics.
Create a Title with Promise
A great content strategy starts with your customers and their needs in mind. When you brainstorm topics and refine them into headlines, use words that reflect those needs. Keyword research is well worth the time you invest, providing you use the keywords your customers will use to search for information and solutions.
How-to topics, guides, numbered lists, and answers to questions all attract readers’ attention. With Google’s new emphasis on natural language search, answering searchers’ questions has become the headline du jour as content marketers compete for the top of search results.
Write a Killer Meta Description
When people search for information on a topic, they look at the brief description below each title. Make sure that yours states the problem you’ll solve or the information you’ll provide.
Include Images, Especially Those that Feature People
Posts that include images receive 94 times more views than text-only posts do. If those images feature real people, they result in 35 percent more conversions.
Create an Intro that Hooks Them
Your first paragraph needs to draw your readers in. Step into their shoes and state their pain points. Then promise to help them solve their problem with the information they need.
Make Your Posts Scannable
Even if you’re in a highly academic field, long paragraphs don’t cut it in a blog post. Limit your paragraphs to two or three sentences. One-sentence paragraphs are even OK when you need to draw people’s attention to something important.
Less is more when it comes to engaging readers.
Use subheadings and bullet points to guide readers’ eyes. Again, related visuals can help along the way.
Include Internal Links
Because you want them to engage with your blog, not your competitors’. When you link to related blog posts, it keeps them from clicking away elsewhere.
But there’s another reason why you want to include them. The more information you can provide on a topic, the more readers will trust your expertise in it.
Make Good on Your Promise
Your headline and meta description promised your readers you’d provide them with the information they were searching for. Deliver the goods.
Use input from other teams outside the marketing silo to give your posts more impact. Technical information from your engineers or developers, medical insights from your doctors and nurses, and technique advice from musicians and artists can help your blog better meet your readers’ needs.
Your sales and customer service teams can provide you with the questions and feedback they’ve been getting out in the field. When you turn those insights into blog posts, you’re delivering exactly what your target customers need to hear to make a purchasing decision.
Include Share Buttons
Every post should have easy-to-find share buttons at the top or bottom. Make it simple for readers to share your post with their friends and colleagues.
Don’t Forget the Call to Action
Building engagement, and eventually acquiring customers, depends on maintaining the relationship. Make sure that you have a call to action that leads the reader to the next step in their customer journey at the end of each post.
For B2B companies, inviting readers to sign up for a free trial, an in-person consultation, or a white paper that solves a problem common in your target customers’ industry can be effective at getting readers to engage. B2C blogs can also intersperse products throughout the post, as long as the products relate to the post’s topic.
If that desired action is subscribing to your email newsletter list, put a subscription form beneath the post. Providing new subscribers with a helpful tool, report, or ebook can incentivize them to sign up.
Use these simple principles to guide your content planning, and your blog posts will drive engagement and build a cadre of loyal customers. To organize it all, you can document these guidelines on a content marketing platform that lets you collaborate, plan, create, publish, measure, and analyze – all in one place.
Discover how you can put these principles to work for you without all the hassle of multiple platforms. Start your 14-day trial of DivvyHQ’s comprehensive content platform today!