Back in the good old days when blogging first started all you needed to do was WRITE great content and you were set. These days however the web has come a long way, making it simple for bloggers to create dynamic content that can grab a users imagination both on-site and off-site.
Whether you’re writing a political blog, a blog about technology or managing a site about healthy eating these five types of content can help better engage your audience while providing more ways to reach new followers.
1. HD Video
I recently purchased a new HD (1080P) camcorder from Samsung for $250 and it’s the best investment I’ve made in years. These days readers want to put a face with content and if possible they want to see example for what you write about (sweeping landscapes for a travel blog, tech reviews for a technology website, etc). HD video allows users to become even more engaged since they are likely to watch your videos in full screen mode which means they are giving you their full attention.
A word for the wise, don’t simply write “watch my review of this product” instead give a full write-up on the page where your video is being shown, this increases time-on-site, helps your page get indexed and gives users who can’t watch a video at the time reason to stay on your site and read the written part of your content. If your written content is really good that user might go back and watch your video when they can.
I can’t possibly stress the importance of podcasts for developing a rabid following. While some users will sit in front of their computer to listen to what you have to say podcasts really shine when a user must walk away. I have numerous friends who actually listen to audio clips from their favorite websites when they drive.
While Podcasts are great for on-site listening they also get users engaged off-site which can in turn make your property more attractive to advertisers.
A quick tip with podcasts, make sure to always tie some of your conversation back to the website. For example you might say “I wrote a nice piece about co-blogging on the site yesterday.” This ensures that your listeners convert back into readers by leaving something to desire for at a later time.
I hate telling writers to jump on the bandwagon but readers love love love infographics. First this is really easy content to create, simply read the infographic and write about it. I typically give the main gist of the infographic then display it. I also find that using [Infographic] at the end of the title is the best way to attract attention to the fact that this isn’t your regular post.
Infographics are nice because a lot of web readers like to absorb information quickly and in a visual manner and infographics allow that to happen.
Helpful tip: Create your own infographics with useful information and other sites will grab the graphic from your website, share it on their own and provide a link back to your website. There are literally companies that will sell you exclusive rights to infographics that match your industry and then help you get it displayed on many websites with link-backs.
You may have noticed lately that a lot of blogs and general websites have added photo and video slidehows to their pages. This type of content is nice because it forces the user to interact (typically with back/forth arrows or play/pause buttons). Slideshows are also nice because they come off as professional. When I think of a slideshow I think of a well thought out business presentation.
Slideshows are also nice because they can let you determine the “flow” of your content by pushing users in a certain direction while they think “what’s next.”
A well thought out Slideshow allows you to direct your content and because it takes time to interact with it allows for longer “time on site” statistics which advertisers love.
5. PDF & Other Document Downloads
I know a lot of users who find it silly that some websites still offer PDF and other document types for the content they create. I personally find this type of content however to be some of the most engaging. A user who is willing to print out a webpage is probably an engaged user who will print and share your posts with others. For example an inspiration post may be handed out at a meeting which in turn will lead to more readers. With documents I suggest you make sure your website’s URL is printed somewhere on each page.
PDF and other documents don’t necessarily need to be based on the content on the site, you could be providing a free e-book in PDF form or offering supplemental directions for a how-to-article you just wrote. The trick is to make the downloadable content engaging and something users don’t just need to read once to fully comprehend.
Those are just a few tips on content creation. The trick to remember is that your users want to be engaged immediately, conveniently and if possible once they leave your website, you just have to give them those options.