With today’s digital space overloaded with so much content, cutting through the noise is only half the battle won.
You need to get your audience to complete the content engagement hierarchy to drive actual conversion.
Almost every other business out there is investing more on content. An IBM report confirms that around 90 percent of the world’s content today have been produced two years ago.
Imagine how much more we’re bound to see in a few years time. True enough, your audience does not need more of the same content that’s already out there.
Are Likes Enough to Convert?
Many may not fully realise it, but real engagement goes beyond likes. If you want your content to do more than just generate likes and retweets and actually turn your audience from mere readers to leads, the key is to look further into what engagement means.
For engagement to matter, you need to make sure your viewers progress from the bottom to the top level of the content engagement hierarchy.
The Three Stages of Engagement
The Base Level of Engagement : “I think this is cool.”
This is the first point of contact where you can get your audience to engage. When you publish a blog post or a video, initial engagement happens in the form of likes and comments.
Typically, this type of engagement aims to generate brand awareness and grow your audience.
Although this is the most common form of engagement, it isn’t all there is. Note that this surface-level engagement usually ends very quickly. There often isn’t any significant value to it unless you get likes and comments in volume or, if you’re lucky, go viral.
The Second Level of Engagement: “I bet my team would want to see this.”
This comes naturally from great quality content that is inspiring and relevant. More than likes and comments, this progresses to your audience sharing your content, retweeting your posts, or promoting your blog posts to other platforms. This stems from them thinking your content is worth passing along to their friends or network.
To get your audience to this next phase, create relevant content that is timely or interesting. Publishing viral content, newsworthy articles, and relevant industry reports are examples of self-perpetuating content that gets shared multiple times — always pointing new prospects back to you as the source, which drives inbound traffic.
The Top-Level Engagement: “I need more of this.”
This is the end goal of your content strategy. More than your audience reading, sharing, and promoting your posts, the ultimate goal of your content strategy is to get them to feel like they could miss out on more value unless they act now. This is where you need to hook them in with a solid call to action.
Getting your audience to subscribe to your blog and sign up to a weekly newsletter are examples of great CTAs you can use to add to your content. Do you have an event or workshop coming up that you feel your audience would find meaningful? Use a CTA to get them to reserve slots or to register.
By getting them to fill up forms, you ensure you can reach out to them at a later time and continue to engage with them via email.
Remember that any form of content with no CTA is a lost opportunity to turn prospects into leads.
Tying It Together
Understanding how the content engagement hierarchy works can help you and other content creators focus on quality instead of quantity.
Anyone can post content online these days, and most of your audience already have their fair share. So, no, they don’t want more of the same content; they want what others have not been able to provide them all this time. They want real value from content that is relevant and timely to their needs.
Still, we see many businesses today continue to post things on social media several times a day, thinking it is an effective way to a higher conversion. But that is no longer the case.
Instead, adjusting your content strategy to focus on high-quality, relevant content goes a long way towards getting those likes to shares and finally to CTA click-throughs.
Are you still stuck tracking likes and comments that offer no real value like so many others?
Or are you after real-time value through top-level engagement that drives traffic and converts leads?
It’s time for a step change. Engage your audience through a value-driven content strategy.
This blog article is part of the latest Step Change series, The Director’s Guide to Digital. Read the second post in the series to learn how to transform your user experience design.