How do you know if all that content you’ve been producing is driving tangible results? Are you helping your audience to become more informed about your industry? And, are customers now more aware of your brand and products? How do you know? How can you be sure your content marketing efforts are engaging your audience? Let’s dive into the elements of engagement and how to make them work for your brand.
Neil Patel of the Content Marketing Institute presents a working definition of content engagement as “real people responding in measurable ways to your content.”
Many people make the mistake of thinking that content engagement merely means social engagement. Really, measuring engagement in your content involves more than just readers leaving comments below a blog post or replying to a social media post. While those elements of social engagement are certainly important goals to strive towards in your larger content engagement strategy, your actionable objectives should also be to increase traffic/page views, boost brand awareness, increase sales leads, and convert readers to customers.
Meeting these objectives requires an understanding of the elements of engaging content marketing. As Patel sees it, there are six categories of content engagement:
Again, social engagement is still an important component of content engagement. Writing compelling content that drives people to leave responses with their own thoughts, comments, questions, or opinions is, by definition, successful engagement. Even if readers are criticizing your content, their engagement with your work can still help you to better understand your audience.
Beyond commenting, an even superior degree of the social aspect of content engagement is producing something that your audience shares. These customer evangelists have found your output so engaging that they choose to identify with your content and freely participate in the word-of-mouth advertising of your efforts via their own social networks.
Is your audience clicking through your content very quickly, eyeballing it, and then moving on? If they aren’t remaining on the page long enough to absorb all of your content, then your content must not be all that engaging. How do you know how long readers are spending on your site? Use Google Analytics to review exactly how much time your audience is spending on each page.
Another way to track content engagement among your reader base is to track their scrolling habits. This metric works best in tandem with your readership’s dwell time metrics from Google Analytics. Tools like Crazy Egg provide you with scroll maps for understanding where, how much, and how far people scrolled down your page, as well as heat maps for where on the page your audience is clicking.
Reviewing the quantity and rate of inbound links is a terrific way to gauge which third parties find your content engaging. Not only do more inbound links translate to better SEO, they also suggest a higher degree of trust in your content. Even better, they’ll bring in more page views.
Finally, the overarching goal of driving audience engagement in your content marketing is to improve your conversion rates. Whether your call-to-action (CTA) is to ask readers to click a purchase link, download a larger content offering, leave their email address, follow you on social media, or even click over to view more of your content, the most meaningful audience engagement is having this CTA fulfilled. When your content drives your audience to take the next step you’ve lined up for them, you’ve delivered some engaging content marketing.