Good content is engaging content. According to Barry Feldman, “You either get remembered or you are forgotten and there’s nothing in between. Engagement is the opposite of disengagement so if you are a content creator and you’re simply dull, nobody gets engaged.”

It’s difficult to argue with such blatant truth. Nobody wants to admit to being dull, but statistics don’t lie, and Kissmetrics reports that 96% of first time visitors to company web sites aren’t ready to buy and won’t return. That is a shocking statistic in light of the fact that a company’s website is intended to attract, engage and convert prospects.

Engagement is the goal. If the content is inviting and engaging, users will come back.

Knowing Your Audience is Key

Have you ever seen or read something and thought, “Oh man, they really get me!” It doesn’t matter if it was favorable, like doing something humanitarian, or totally klutz like falling off a curb, you could relate. Look at the popularity of TV’s Funniest Home Videos show (in its 12th year): babies, funny pets, people falling down, random destruction and mayhem…things we can all relate to at various times in our lives.

In content marketing you need to deeply know your audience and create specific content that they will relate to.

  • What keeps them up at night?
  • What brings pain or pleasure?
  • What questions are they asking?
  • What problems do they need to solve?
  • How do they define success?
  • How do they online search?
  • Where do they hang out online?
  • How can you help them better than the competition?

Getting to know them will take some work on your part: surveys, social media listening, study of search terms used, FAQs from your customer service and sales departments, profiling existing customers, and monitoring website activity are all ways to get to know your audiences intimately.

You may find out that what your customers and prospects want and need most is not what you had anticipated. You can’t afford to guess, you need to clearly define your target audiences before you create any content.

Supercharge Your Content with Emotion


This infographic had its beginnings in scientific research of the psychology of engagement. Barry nicely relates the findings to creating content since engagement is crucial to successful content marketing. Discovering the right emotional triggers that resonate with your target audiences will supercharge your content and ensure a connection. Content that elicits emotion is never dull.

And when someone is touched emotionally, chances are they’ll want to talk about it to their friends. Content that evokes emotion is more sharable, even if the emotion is negative, like anxiety or anger.
Continually ask yourself whether the content you’re creating makes you feel something or if it’s worth sharing. If you don’t “feel the love,” neither will your readers.

Creating Engaging Content

For creating engaging content Barry starts with the premise, “It’s not about you and it’s not about your company. It’s about your customers. It’s sort of the intersection of the Sweet Spot—it’s where you’re coming from overlapping with where your customers are coming from.” Here’s strategy in a nutshell for creating engaging content:

  • Look at who your customers are; what they need and want
  • Determine how you will meet those needs
  • Identify themes/topics for creating content
  • Be a teacher not a preacher
  • Create content around the things that will turn them on
  • Be innovative (Your Content Shall Rock)
  • Add an emotional component to content

With this well written/stimulating content, engagement can come in the form of a conversation, registration, complaint, endorsement or recommendation.

If you’re still unsure about what engaging means, comparison can be a great clarifier. Which website would you want to visit?

Website 1: “Hi, would you like to buy something? Let’s talk about me, and we sell this and it’s compared this way and it costs this…”

Website 2: “Hi, we understand what you’re trying to accomplish, we understand what you’re like and what your problems are and we also happen to have a solution to it and we also happen to have all this information that’s going to make you better at your job. Come on in!”

Join the Conversation:

  • How do you keep your finger on the pulse of your target audience so your content continually aligns with customer needs?
  • What measurements of engagement do you use to evaluate your content marketing strategy?
  • What types of content that you’ve posted have seen the greatest engagement across your social networks?
This article highlights selected excerpts from CMX’s interview with Barry Feldman of Feldman Creative, and Martin van der Roest of the Examiner on the topic of Good Content Has (Almost) Nothing to do With What You Sell– September 5, 2013.