1) Delight your readers with ‘content gifts’
“You get an audience who relies on your for information or who you delight with content gifts,” said Handley.
Content gifts are a unique way of connecting with your audience while you have their attention, the gifts can go a long way toward building valuable relationships with your audience or potential customers.
Think of content gifts as bonus content to reward your audience. For example, Easter eggs are rewards buried in a computer program or can be a bonus trailer at the end of a movie. Handley pointed to an example by designer Rebecca Minkoff. She said the designer previewed her new collection using Snapchat, giving fans a 10-second glimpse of each of her news looks during New York’s Fashion Week in September 2013.
2) Always be thinking: Why does this matter to my audience?
Identify a problem and pose guidance towards a solution. How? Know your audience. Handley said companies can achieve engagement and cut through the noise by relentlessly focusing on their audience.
“Lots of businesses make the mistakes of trying to get their audience to talk about them/their products or, uh, ‘solution’. It’s far better for your company or brand to align yourself with what matters to them,” she said.
When it comes to reaching potential customers with a message, thinking about their needs certainly helps. Finding out your targeted audience’s pain points and creating content that addresses those will go a long way toward relevance, necessity and engagement.
3) Follow this formula for successful engagement:
Innovative Content = Useful x Enjoyable x Inspired
Ann Handley’s formula acts as a filter to put your content ideas through to answer the question ‘why should I care’, before you develop the content.
Jason Miller, currently Senior Manager of Content Marketing at LinkedIn, has said he used this formula each time he created a piece of content while working at Marketo or LinkedIn.
For more content marketing tips from Ann Handley and other industry experts, download the Quick Guide to Successful Content Marketing.