This is a tall order, I admit it. Given that most of us are skimmers rather than readers (not to mention sensationalist story seekers and digital device multi-taskers) pretty much all content produced is in a battle from the minute it’s uploaded.
That’s especially true for digital and social media marketing in Dubai, as the UAE is reported to have one of the highest social media penetration stats in the world, at around 99%, and high levels of internet device ownership, on average four per adult member of the population.
So what gets them tuned in and happy to give your content the attention it deserves? While there is no silver bullet solution, there are a few things to keep in mind when writing for today’s digital audience.
1. Get to the point quickly: Between the birth of the world and 2003, five exabytes of content were created. By 2013, five exabytes of content were being created each day. This incredible amount of mostly free information has made us very impatient readers. Getting to the point without too much delay will help manage that impatience and give the reader a sense that no time is being wasted, which in turn may result in that reader wanting to stick around.
2. Build the story: Give information in a way that builds a story bit by bit so the reader naturally stays with it. With every paragraph that goes by, the reader is taken on a journey which feels almost like a timeline. From sentence to sentence and section to section, the new info builds on what came before.
3. Keep them hooked with questions: Questions can be used to add a friendly and engaging tone, almost as though the reader is being pulled into the conversation. They also encourage the reader to keep moving to get those questions answered. Pose a question, then answer it in the next sentence: a straightforward way of writing that leads the reader along.
4. Make it personal: People love personal stories. And remember you are writing for a specific audience, so the relevance is already there. If your offering is healthcare services, tell your healthcare conscious readers how you cured your own diabetes through lifestyle. If you provide legal and tax services, share with your audience how you solved a recent double taxation issue to your benefit. This can also be done by asking your audience to participate.
5. Ensure your thoughts flow logically: Whether it is learning something new or simply being entertained, logic rules the day. If your logic is poor your reader will get lost very quickly – or at the very least will struggle to understand on the first read and be forced to start re-visiting passages. Which is unlikely, so they will likely leave. Logic means you put down ideas in the right order; you anticipate the questions they will have as they journey through the text; you answer them; and you explain things in a way that makes it easy to follow.
6. Be careful with facts and stats: They are not interesting in and of themselves – facts and stats only carry a punch if they are part of an amazing story, an infographic that truly enlightens, or an article that takes data but then uses it to bind the narrative together and keep the reader’s attention.
Pillars of engagement
We always go back to two key pillars when it comes to creating great content: the first is relevance, and the second is quality. Relevance is a must – cover subject matter that will resonate with your audience and help you connect with them in a way that also helps you meet your business goals. Quality is about giving them a great read, and keeping them glued throughout.
As I said upfront, there is no silver bullet, but working the above six methods into your writing should help you deliver the higher quality output you need to increase reader engagement and reader stickiness.