How To Hold Your Audience’s Attention By Having A Conversation With Them Instead Of At Them

Audiences want to be educated: it’s human nature. But think about the best teachers you’ve ever experienced. How many of them taught by rote, and how many truly engaged with their students? In almost every case, it will be those teachers who developed an ongoing conversation with their subjects that were best at holding their attention and, as a result, most effectively imparted their knowledge.

You should be aiming to do the same with your own audience.

The human element of content marketing

The most successful content intelligence tools are just that: tools. They’re not a wholesale replacement for effective editorial and marketing teams but automated, interactive partners that can help those teams to work more efficiently and engage their audiences more effectively. In part, they achieve this by removing grunt work human teams have previously been burdened with – so they can focus on the more human aspects of the job like making content more personal.

As we’ve said before, “machines can not yet beat the sales skills of human beings. Where they do excel is in their ability to process vast quantities of data.”

It’s only with such ‘vast’ data sets that AI can play an active role in a marketing operation, since it uses it to calculate the subjects most likely to engage an audience and, by processing the landscape for keywords and trends, the kind of language they’ll use to express it. Once the AI’s human overseers are handed this data, it’s up to them how they employ it.

For marketing teams, content intelligence, far from being something to fear, could be the most positive development they’re likely to see within their careers. It makes their jobs more important, not less so – and more interesting, too.

Adding relevant statistics and quotes

Quotes and statistics give content texture but, warns the University of Toronto, “if you include too much quotation… you will crowd out your own ideas”. Think of quotes as selective color in an otherwise monochrome photo, or the jingle at the end of an advert, each of which are designed to attract the audience’s attention.

But quotes can also add authenticity and authority by demonstrating to the reader that you’re backed up by others within the industry. The same is true of statistics: while you can be selective about the stats you choose to highlight, the fact they exist in the first place is incontrovertible. Including both quotes and statistics has a further benefit for SEO: outbound links to your original sources makes your content look like an authoritative source itself, which has the potential to increase its ranking.

There are two ways to source relevant quotes. One is to be impossibly well-read, and the other is to use content intelligence. Concured’s Brief Builder, as well as suggesting topic areas and the kind of questions within those areas that an audience will be asking, researches relevant sources that could provide background reading, inspiration or, selectively, quotable material.

How do you incorporate stats and quotes into the conversation you’re having with, rather than at your audience? Engage with them yourself and don’t be afraid to express an opinion. If that opinion is in line with your audience – which it will be since, thanks to the content intelligence tools you’re using, you have a clear persona to target – they will engage with you more effectively, recognizing that the words you’re using and thoughts you’re expressing chime with their own.

However, in a guide to using quotes that it attributes to author Umberto Eco, ClearVoice warns: “Readers may presume you share the opinion of the authors you quote. If you don’t want this to happen, you must include your own critical remarks before or after the passage.”

Elicit engagement

Don’t be afraid to develop that conversation with your CTA, rather than using it exclusively as a call to buy or request further information. The greater the number of touch points you can develop with your audience, the better – as long as you have a process to extract whatever benefit you can from each one.

So, while we might sign off this post by asking what you think, whether you agree that quotes bring content to life and content intelligence frees marketing teams to play to their strengths, we’d be smart to make sure we do all that we can to convert any subsequent contact into an active lead.

Why not get in touch and find out how we do it?

Personalising your content

In order to maintain the conversation with your audience, you need to be creating the content they are searching for. Tailoring and personalizing your content enables the conversation to continue as your online audience remains engaged. As we all know, engagement leads to traction.

Concured’s Brief Builder has been enabling marketers to take a step back and focus on creating the best content for their target audience. The new intelligence tool guides your copy writing team to produce data-backed content briefs that are personalized to your audience’s key interests…in seconds. The relevant and personalized content then allows businesses to continue the conversation. Check it out and book a demo today.