Drive Interaction: 5 Behavioral Tactics for More Engaging Content

6 min read

Turn your content into an influential engagement instrument. Discover the art of creating captivating content that resonates with your desired audience.

In this guide, I’ll walk you through my five recommendations for infusing a behavioral marketing approach into your content, heightening its engagement factor.


1. Define Your Audience and Their Position in the Journey


In today’s landscape of search engine algorithms, optimizing your content for your audience is inherently intertwined with optimizing it for search engines.

To ensure a precise alignment, it’s crucial to:

  • Identify your audience: Understand who they are.
  • Understand their motivations: Determine what drives them.
  • Comprehend their interest in your content: Why would it matter to them?
  • Recognize their objectives: What actions are they looking to take?

Contemplating your content’s role in the customer journey allows more deliberate customization. You can address vital questions about content relevance and audience segmentation by grasping what precedes and follows your content. This dialogue marks a dedication to creating tailored visitor experiences.

While some SEO practitioners might express concerns about potential content cannibalization, this can be managed effectively when executed correctly and synchronized with the audience’s needs.

For example, consider a technical software company catering to tech-savvy individuals and a more business-oriented C-suite audience. By introducing a straightforward toggle that shifts the content between “I’d like to get more technical” and “I’d like to get less technical,” they maintained all their content on the same URL. This approach efficiently served their two primary audiences, ensuring they received the pertinent content to meet their needs.

The key takeaway is to adopt a behavioral perspective regarding the customer’s journey. Using the “Think, Feel, Do” methodology empowers you to place yourself in the customer’s position:

  • “Think” reveals their thoughts and guides the message you must convey.
  • “Feel” exposes their emotions and provides insights into the sentiments you should evoke.
  • “Do” informs you about their intentions, offering a glimpse into their next steps and, as a result, helping you optimize the ongoing experience. It also guides you on what to measure to gauge the content’s success.
  1. Harness the Influence of Language and Narrative


Regardless of the industry, it’s crucial to recognize that humans are not inherently “thinking creatures that feel” but instead “feeling creatures that think,” as Jill Bolte Taylor aptly highlights in “My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey.”

The practice of storytelling dates back to approximately 30,000 BC when humans first adorned cave walls with murals. Storytelling is a fundamental feature of human communication, and every piece of content you generate should be firmly rooted in a narrative.

To construct a compelling story, you must have a clear beginning and an end. In the context of the customer journey, the story’s inception may occur before the user even lands on your content, while its conclusion may extend into the future.

Storytelling is a skill, and one of its pivotal aspects involves the adept use of language. Language can evoke emotions, engaging the feeling facet of our being.

A notable psychological study from 1996 exemplifies this phenomenon and has become closely associated with the behavioral technique called “priming.”

In this study conducted at New York University, students were divided into two groups and placed in different rooms. Each room contained pieces of paper with words the students had to arrange into sentences. Following this task, they were instructed to walk down the hallway to another room, sign out, and complete the exercise.

Unbeknownst to the students, one room had random word prompts, while the other had words related to older people.

Psychologist John Bargh observed that the group primed to contemplate older people moved more slowly down the corridor than the group with random word prompts, indicating a distinct shift in behavior.

This study is a prominent example of priming, demonstrating the profound impact of our chosen words.

If you compose an article in a negative mood, that mood may permeate your storytelling and leave the reader feeling somewhat disheartened.

Conversely, if your storytelling exudes vitality due to your passion and enthusiasm for a topic, you will likely convey that enthusiasm to the reader.

The underlying lesson is to consciously select the content language that relates to your audience and conveys the desired emotional tone.

Language must be employed with intention, as it is far more than a superficial means of conveying a message.


3. Cultivate Audience Engagement and Leave a Lasting Impression


Every interaction your brand has with a user represents a pivotal chance to nurture a meaningful relationship.

In today’s world, the rapport individuals establish with brands plays a vital role in deciding where to purchase. With each interaction, ensuring that your brand leaves a positive and enduring imprint on the user’s memory is essential.

Numerous studies on memory underscore a common thread, which unsurprisingly revolves around emotions. When you elicit feelings in people, you substantially increase the likelihood of them retaining the experience.

This aspect ties back to the preceding two points. Understanding where the customer is in their journey and crafting content that deeply resonates with them primes them with the mindset suitable for their onward journey, subsequently evoking emotions.

Another significant aspect is that storytelling has the unique power to allow people to envision themselves as part of the narrative. When individuals connect personal meaning to something or visualize themselves within a story, it magnifies the potential for that memory to endure.


4. Empower the User to Take the Lead


When evaluating businesses, I often categorize them into two distinct approaches:

  1. Inside-Out: These businesses make internal decisions, often assuming they know best without seeking to understand their audience’s needs and requirements.
  2. Outside-In: In stark contrast, outside-in businesses actively listen to their customers, potential clients, and their audience’s needs. They leverage this valuable input to steer the direction of their business.

A few years ago, during some research, we developed a tool to assess the balance between content focused on the business (selfish) and content centered around the customer (selfless).

The results were enlightening. Among over 100 leisure and entertainment websites examined, we discovered that 50% of the content was business-centric (selfish). Furthermore, an analysis of over 650 B2B sites found that 40% of the content leaned toward a business-first (greedy) approach.

These statistics underline the prevalent tendency of many businesses to broadcast their viewpoints rather than reshape their messaging to integrate the user into the narrative.

Adopting a customer-first approach instantly makes your content more relevant and resonates more effectively with your audience.


5. Tailor Your Thinking Style to Your Audience and Content


When creating content, it’s essential to contemplate whether it should adopt a static or dynamic approach. There is no definitive right or wrong choice, but what’s critical is aligning your approach with the context of the customer journey.

Static content typically revolves around the present and excels at providing clarity. This resonates with individuals who are “what” and “why” thinkers, those who are detail-oriented. It often proves highly pertinent for product descriptions.

On the other hand, dynamic content leans more toward the future and fosters imaginative thinking. This appeals to “how” and “so what” thinkers who seek inspiration, making it an ideal choice for content related to services or experiences.

Another approach is to create well-rounded content that addresses the “why,” “what,” “how,” and “so what,” catering to diverse perspectives.

However, there’s a potential pitfall here. Overloading the content with all these angles can result in excessive length, risking the loss of engagement from readers who have yet to find the portion that resonates with them.

To counteract this, consider how to break up the content effectively, employ anchor links, and guide the user through the material, ensuring they swiftly access the segment most relevant to them.

Enhance Audience Engagement Through Compelling Content

As marketers, content is our primary tool for establishing meaningful connections with our online audience. This encompasses a wide spectrum, ranging from comprehensive articles, product descriptions, videos, informative guides, and more.

However, it’s essential to recognize that content can also swiftly alienate users. We’ve all experienced it – you perform a Google search, select a listing that appears to address your query, but soon realize the website was misleading or incongruent with your expectations.

Given that our audience’s time is a precious commodity, every moment they devote to your content presents an opportunity to cultivate a relationship. To engage effectively, it’s imperative to grasp their needs and consider how your brand can assist.

You can leave a lasting impression and guide them forward by delivering pertinent content at the appropriate stage of their journey. This approach not only captures their attention but also nurtures future brand loyalty. It’s essential to remember that being informative and generous with your content yields dividends in the long term.

If you still need help finding the process challenging and bewildering, why not explore our monthly SEO packages and let our team of industry experts handle everything for you?

Shilpi Mathur
[email protected]