Digital Insights

Make Your Content Captivating, Informative And Engaging


Published: October 5, 2010

Writing captivating, informing and engaging content is something all bloggers strive for. There are three simple points you will want to keep in mind in order to enhance your content, and thus improve the quality of your blog.

Making these ideas a part of your writing process will require a change in your mindset on content creation, but changing your mindset on writing will enhance your content dramatically Most writers rely too much on the process of creating content instead of the results said content should bring. Don’t focus too much on the thrill of writing but rather what you hope to achieve with it in the long run. Do you want to educate readers on your product or are you simply filling content on your corporate blog?

Writing Informative Content

If I were writing a story on the iPhone 4, I would create a title like “iPhone 4:  Apple Revolutionizes The Phone, Again.” Assuming my readers are interested in technology in some way, they will be compelled to click on the link because it tells them Apple introduced a new iPhone, (specifically, the fourth one). Readers also learn that the iPhone is a great product because it is revolutionary. I’d follow up with a short, Twitter-esque description that tells the reader what to expect while making them want to read the content:

Today, Apple introduced the iPhone 4, which revolutionizes how you call, use apps, and surf the web. It’s powerful, fast, and beautiful and we’ve got all the info.

This short, 163 character description expands on the title, tells the reader what the iPhone does, summarizes its attributes and most importantly tells them how it will impact their life.

When creating your content, you must keep in mind one simple rule: you are not writing for the sake of writing, you are writing to inform, engage and to captivate. Many bloggers make the mistake of writing words without meaning, including text that does not inform nor engage. Changing your preconceived notions about how and why content will be created is crucial.

Conceptualizing your content beforehand makes it extremely easy to create an outline and structure your content accordingly. A simple structure makes your writing more accessible, captivating and informative for readers. Following this structure will also make it extremely easy to write content, whether you have any background in the topic or not.

Write Engaging Content

Content engages your reader in many different causing them to possibly reply, and give feedback or simply generating interest about your work within their network. Using a “call to action” makes your content most engaging; these could be in the title, the body and the description in your post. However, you could insert questions or make the content relevant to your readers’ personalities.

Keeping your mind on what you want to achieve will help your writing workflow. I’ve had to adjust from the preconceived notion of great content is wordy content. Great content is content that informs, captivates and engages. If your post is 3,000 words and informs me on a particular subject without boring me and follows up with questions, that is good content. If your post is 300 words and tells me what I should know, tells me why its relevant and tells me why I should care, that is great content. If your post is however many words but fails to engage, inform or make me notice, I will not care.

Most writers focus too much on inserting personality and opinion over information. A balance of both is needed but one should not over ride the other. You’ll see throughout this post I mention my previous freelance exploits as examples. I could use examples of other writer’s techniques but I have more experience in detailing how I progressed. This inserts my personality in to the content but gives you information at the same time.

Saying I changed my writing style to engage readers does not inform, it tells you what you want to do but does tell you how. Writing about the process of my editor lambasting me about not writing good content inserts too much of my personality and not enough information.

Keeping your eye on what you want to convey throughout the content compiling and content creation process will make your content good because your writing will be compelling, informative and engage me.

Following the sample scenario of the iPhone 4, I’d want to apply the idea of this post to a piece of news from Apple: Steve Jobs has announced a new product, the iPhone 4. It includes a 960 x 480 retina display, Face Time webcam, Apple A4 processor and iOS 4. As a technical writer I would be hooked instantly, I have my product info ready to insert in to my content but I’m already making one fundamental mistake: writing content aimed for technical people and not the mass populace. However, by changing my mindset, I can not only engage the technical demographic but also everyone else. I need to focus on what the product does, its end result and answer the question ‘what does this mean for me?’

What does the iPhone 4 do? It allows me to video chat with my family and friends. Its new display doesn’t cause eye strain and text looks like I’m reading it from a book. The new processor makes games and surfing the web much faster. The new Software lets me run more than one App at a time and has a more intuitive mail layout. That tells me right there what the iPhone 4 will do, how it will enhance my life and what I should buy it.

Being more technical oriented I want to know how it accomplishes this. I’d follow up with  “The iPhone 4 uses a front facing 0.3 megapixel camera to enable video chats. Its 960 x 480 has a resolution of 321 pixels per inch, a higher resolution of printed text which is 300 dots per inch. The included A4 processor runs at 1 GHz and has access to 512 MB RAM. The Phone’s Software, iOS 4 includes multitasking support, the mail App has thread view support and a unified mail box. Including that information along appeals to the tech oriented readers but tells no tech savvy readers why the iPhone is great.

The Basic Structure Of Your Content

Your structure should follow the rule of three by focusing on three main points you are discussing. These main points should be created from three words you’ve used in your description so the reader will be familiar with what you’re talking about. If you must use more than three points, do not go beyond five- the reason for using only three points is that it will be easier to read your content and actually retain the information. You’ll find that spewing bullet points no longer works for writing. If you were to really read what you wrote from months back, how much of it would you retain? Keep this in mind as you divide your post in to distinct sections.

To tie the summary in to the rest of the content. I’ve used the words ‘powerful’ ‘fast’ and ‘beautiful’ to describe the iPhone 4. I’ve also described the basic functions of the iPhone 4 as being able to call, use Apps and surf the web. I have to remember to use those three adjectives to describe the iPhone’s basic functions. Using those three adjectives to create three distinct sections would make my post look like this.

iPhone 4, A Beautiful, Stainless Steel Design

This explains why the iPhone is beautiful, it uses a stainless steel design which I would elaborate on why Apple chose a stainless steel design and discuss other design elements which make the iPhone 4 beautiful like this: The iPhone 4 is a strong departure from its previous design of plastic  by embracing a stainless band around the glass backing and front display. To improve signal strength Apple has placed the antenna in the steel band.

The Apple A4 Processor: All The Power A Phone Could Want, And More

This explains what makes the iPhone 4 powerful; a processor called the Apple A4. However, those who are tech illiterate may not understand what the Apple A4 is or even what it does. I’ve appended a description in the section name that explains its a very powerful processor. I would expand on this and detail what makes the Apple A4 a great processor, why Apple chose that specific processor and the advantages it offers: The Apple A4 was built specifically for the iPhone, iPad and future Apple devices that require speed while maintaing a long battery life. The processor runs at a speedy 1 GHz without encroaching on battery life; at 6 hours of 3G internet usage the iPhone 4 is an improvement over the iPhone 3GS it replaces.

Faster Wireless Speeds: 3G, 802.11N WiFi And Bluetooth 2.1

This sentence also builds upon the previous statement that those who aren’t tech literate may not understand the complete technical nomenclature such as 3G networking, 802.11N Wifi or Bluetooth. I started off with the statement of “Faster Wireless Speeds” which tells all my readers that the iPhone 4 networks faster and has faster wireless speeds. I’ll elaborate and explain which wireless functions are faster on the iPhone. Since this is the most technical portion of my iPhone description I will need to describe what 3G networking is (It is a standard which denotes wireless upload and download speeds between a mobile device and a wireless network when communicating with a cellular carrier) what 802.11N Wifi is (802.11 N is an improvement upon previous wireless standards and offers increased download and upload speeds between the iPhone and your router) and what Bluetooth 2.1 is (The newest version of Bluetooth 2.1 brings enhanced security when pairing with mobile devices.)

iPhone 4 Makes Apps Faster And More Powerful

Since I discussed the iPhone 4 revolutionizes how you use Apps and surf the web, I’ll want to create a fourth section that describes how the phone does this and build upon what I talked about previously: the iPhone 4 energizes App usage using the speedy A4 processor and its spacious 512 MB of RAM. This allows the iPhone to run more than 1 Application at any time without lag. The phone’s built in Web Browser, Safari, renders pages faster and download content faster thanks to the upgraded 3G and Wifi connections. You’ll be able to run multiples Apps and read your favorite Blog while on a conference call without any degradation in quality.

Grow Your Audience

Even though you may write a niche blog with a specific audience in mind, don’t alienate readers. There is a reason the topic you’re focusing on is a niche; not enough people know or care about it. If you can create content that engages people who are new to the topic you will be more likely to grow your readership and interest new people.

While I could restructure my post to talk about different keywords relating to the iPhone such as usability, battery life and emailing capabilities, I’d engage, inform and captivate readers the same way as long as I used the basic structure of three simple talking points. I’d still have the opportunity to discuss what makes the iPhone great, why readers may want to use it and how it improves their lives; essentially, it doesn’t matter what points I want to make in my bog if I’m organized and follow the rule of three.

You’ve seen blogging demystified and broken down into a simple, three point outline that will make your content engage, inform and captivate. These guidelines can be applied to your writing without any learning curve whatsoever; simply change your state of mind and your writing will improve.