The fundamental ethos of digital content marketing is simple – write clear, authentic and engaging posts. A post that follows this golden triumvirate of content creation should keep your reader on the page, boosting both organic performance and engagement metrics. Seems simple, right?
But how exactly do you achieve this? Today, we’ll be looking at the importance of passion in your writing and how this ultimately drives the performance of a post through the role it plays in reader engagement.
So why does reader engagement matter?
If you’ve been in the world of digital marketing for a while, you’ll no doubt remember Google’s 2011 algorithm update, Panda, and the havoc it caused. Designed to filter thin, low quality content from Google’s SERPs, Panda served as a clear indication of the search engine’s ultimate drive – to provide their audience with relevant, relatable and subsequently engaging content.
Filtering out content intentionally published to manipulate search engines through search query mismatching, content farming and keyword stuffing (the digital marketer’s ultimate no-go), Panda was a huge step forward in combatting lazy and unethical SEO practices. Moreso, it appeared to mark a huge step forward in Google’s ability to recognise content desired by its audience in the ranking decline of content that lacked depth, authoritative information, substantive text and resources.
What this meant is that the reader engagement of a piece became of pinnacle importance. Although as a writer, you’d hope it always was…
So how do I create engaging content?
No matter how talented of a writer you may be, nothing will help you create an engaging piece of content more effectively than an obvious passion for the topic. To quote American poet, Robert Frost:
“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader.
No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.”
The logic behind this is pretty straight forward. Firstly, a genuine passion for a piece will naturally drive you to conduct more research, creating a voice of greater authority and leading to content that’s subsequently more informative. For example, I’d quite happily conduct hours upon hours of research for a piece on Bruce Springsteen (perhaps even more than I’d care to admit), but the result would be a hugely detailed and informative piece that my target audience would strongly engage with.
But it’s not just the content that benefits from a passionate author. Your writing style will ultimately improve due to a stronger voice witten with more conviction. Moreover, an authentic interest in your content means you’re more likely to spend time reflecting upon and refining the piece, increasing the authority and avoiding silly grammatical and spelling mistakes that search engines may punish you for.
Just a few months ago, my fellow English Literature students could be found trapped within the soulless walls of the university library, crying into their 10th coffee well into the early hours of the morning. It was of course dissertation season, where panicked students slaved tirelessly to produce a 10,000 word independent thesis in a matter of weeks (okay, we’d had almost 7 months, but this is university students we’re talking about here…).
Yet while many of my peers spent their weeks attempting to resist the powerful urge to fall asleep reading their ninth book on the literary works of the Renaissance, I was eagerly conducting research and planning an extensive and ambitious thesis based on my chosen topic – Bob Dylan. By taking advantage of the wonderful flexibility and broadness of English Literature as a subject, I was able to combine my passions for music and literature to write a dissertation arguing for the literary credibility of the lyrics of Bob Dylan.
I chose this topic for two reasons. Firstly, it’s Bob Dylan – he’s awesome. Secondly, I knew that writing on a subject I had a genuine passion for would heighten my motivation for research, the accuracy and depth of my content and subsequently the quality of the piece as a whole.
The practices of close reading and secondary research, the banes of my university existance, suddenly turned into hobbies. I eagerly delved into Dylan’s extensive back catalogue, dissecting words line by line and constructing informative and detailed arguments for their literary aestheticism. My passion for the topic even drove me to areas I’d otherwise be apprehensive to explore in academic essays, arguing the completely original literary thesis that musical accompaniment should be considered as an avant-garde extension of poetic form.
The result was a piece of work I remain genuinely proud of. My passion for the topic manifested into my content, I was able to create an engaging piece through its depth and conviction,a nd in return achieve my best mark throughout my three years at university.
Ultimately, the more passionate you are about your content, the better your content will be. A piece driven solely by the purpose of SEO can by all means still succeed, but a piece driven by an authentic passion will naturally follow the perfect recipe for successful content marketing.
While the times are constantly a-changin’ in the digital marketing world, the relationship between passion and content quality will forever be entwined.
If you’re still struggling to create engaging content to market your business, why not drop us a message to see how we can help?