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How To Create Engaging Content For Your Brand's Audience

by Andrey Slivka

Forbes Content Marketing

An interview with members of the BrandVoice services team at Forbes.

What makes a branded content article an engagement time leader? Following are comments on what put select 2017 BrandVoice posts on our ten most-engaged list, courtesy of the BrandVoice services team members who shepherd content through our publication process, from the first post-sale client conversations to post-campaign analytics.

Rule #1 of great engagement metrics: If your content is worth your audience’s time, they’ll give it that time, and make even very long text posts pay off for you.

Brand producer Cara Gilmartin, who’s responsible for our Oracle account, said that one high-performing post from that company, “Top 10 Strategic CIO Priorities for 2017,” belongs to two genres with wide appeal to readers: the upcoming-year forecast; and the listicle that offers expert advice. “If you get readers to click on an article like that, they’ll read it if it’s good,” Gilmartin said. “And this one was good.”

Another Oracle post with strong metrics, “New ORACLE TEAM USA Boat An Engineering Marvel, Data Machine,” profited from publication in the run-up to last year’s America’s Cup race, where that boat played a central role.

“If you can piggy-back off a major world media event, so much the better,” Gilmartin said.

Allison Rickert, associate director of BrandVoice services, said that the engagement success of Dell Technologies’ “How Blockchain Could Revolutionize The Internet Of Things” post is due “to the fact that blockchain is a trending topic, but one that a lot of people still don’t quite understand. This piece breaks down a very complex subject and gives readers a view of the big picture.”

Referring to a Salesforce article that generated high engagement numbers, “The Death Of A (Traditional) Salesman,” Ben Baer, director of BrandVoice services, said that it “delivers specific tactical advice for anyone who works in a sales role.” Plus, “it uses personal anecdotes and compelling examples to really make the story flow together in an accessible and authentic way.”

Sade Muhammad, brand producer on BrandVoice’s CenturyLink account, said that that company’s strong-performing “Is 2017 The Year Of Telemedicine?” post had the advantage of “organizing its story-telling around three anchor points.” The piece “explains the benefits of telemedicine, gives pointers on how to put it into practice and tells readers why it’s crucial in an increasingly connected world.” That covers the gamut of what a reader might want to know about a subject that, while not quite new, is attracting more and more interest.

Then there’s ADP’s “Does Unlimited Vacation Time Really Work? And For Whom?” – which BrandVoice produced for ADP.

“The general audience wants to read about unlimited vacation time for personal reasons, while businesses want to know how they can use unlimited time to make themselves more effective,” brand producer Kelly Hanshaw said. “In general, people like to read about vacation, and will do so at length.”

The common denominator is that each of these pieces has real value for readers. Content is a presumption on your audience’s time – but if you make it worth their time, they’ll give it to you.

A side point: don’t stress about length. Oracle’s “Top 10 Strategic CIO Priorities” succeeded in part because it’s so long: at over 3,500 words, it’s the “Moby Dick” of branded content. Because it’s good, readers stuck with it, swelling its engagement metrics. Don’t underestimate your ability to keep your readers interested, or your readers’ attention spans.

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