Emily Aborn Content Copywriting and Consulting Services

What Makes Content Engaging?


I recently invited Jessica Terzakis of Terzakis and Associates to be a guest on the She Built This podcast, a TOP podcast for women entrepreneurs. We talked about what makes content engaging as well as the things we see when it comes to content creation that make us cringe. 

After sitting with our conversation and digesting my thoughts on it, I’ve distilled it down for you so that you can create more engaging content in a way that’s impactful and helpful for those you’re sharing with. 

What Gets in the Way of Us Creating Engaging Content? 

In our She Built This podcast interview, Jessica and I discussed two things that we frequently see when it comes to what’s holding us back from releasing content and sharing our gifts and insights with the world. Jessica often sees people sitting on ideas for courses and programs for month…

Without sending a single thing out the door! 

Jessica believes one of the reasons underlying this is that people don’t believe in the skills and expertise they already have. (Read: You don’t need another certification to get started!!) In most cases, you already have what you need to get started. You ARE qualified enough and prepared enough. So back awayyyyyy from that certification course… and get going! 

Another thing people bump up against is that they think they’re not giving enough value. Or enough support. Or help. Or it’s not “perfect” enough. Or you don’t show up because you’re not “ready to sell” yet. It’s seemingly never enough. The time is never going to be right. 

I recently encountered a potential client who listed five reasons she hadn’t emailed her list. In my humble opinion, none of the reasons she shared with me were entirely as valid as things that should stop her from sharing. 

You can start reaching out to your list, sharing content, launching your ideas, and taking action NOW. It does not all need to be perfect and all tied up in a pretty little bow to get started. 

A woman staring at her computer wondering what makes content engaging

Create Engaging Content by Not Taking Yourself so Seriously 

The way Jessica and I have both been able to pump out more content and create more is by not treating every single post, blog, podcast, email like such a big deal. 

As I always say, 

“Don’t put so much pressure on one piece of content!” – ME 🙂 EMILY ABORN

And to add to that, don’t put so much pressure on social media in general. 

When you’re creating content, you’re creating a cohesive, synergistic body of work and expertise as you share. Don’t stress and overthink a single post. A single email. A single blog. 

Post and keep going. Email and keep going. 

I’d also add to this that looking for other ways to gain visibility is key. We can’t put all of our weight on social media and interacting in ways off these platforms is one of the keys to creating more engaging content and coming up with ideas! Other ways to market and connect include things like providing exemplary customer service and experience networking, collaborating, being on podcasts, speaking, and meeting with a group of peers.

Content and social media are slices of the marketing pie, as are email, networking, collaborating, and all your other visibility efforts. Together, they make a delicious whole but it takes all of the pieces put together to make it as successful as possible. 

In Order to Answer What Makes Content Engaging? We need to look at what not to do… 

I’d be remiss if I didn’t high-level some “engaging” content tactics that you might NOT want to try. Together, in the She Built This podcast episode, Jessica and I brainstormed three “to don’ts” when it comes to creating engaging content for LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social media platforms:

Please don’t manufacture controversy.

You know all those posts with #UnpopularOpinions and rants? You don’t have to manufacture controversy in your social media in order to make your content engaging. In fact, consider that when you create a post around a vent, rant, or having people weigh in on their negativity around something, you might attract the wrong kind of attention to your content, and just be opening yourself up to creating a space for complaining. It may increase engagement, but from a branding and marketing standpoint, is this the kind of mark you want your content to make?

Don’t focus on finger-wagging and point out what others are doing wrong.

It’s kind of a turn off to your ideal client when you are constantly reminding them of their shortcomings and what they’re doing WRONG. Even finger-wagging at others in your industry to prove that you do it better, may not be coming across the way you think. 

Make people feel inspired and empowered not fired up and triggered.

Don’t list off an essay’s worth of pain points in your post.

It’s a pretty solid gamble that MOST people are tired, overwhelmed, too busy, not 100% clear, and stressed. So I recommend we move away from these tired old pain points altogether and get a little more creative with how we show people THEMSELVES in our content.

That bulleted list of pain points is an old marketing tactic and we’re getting smarter and smarter! Yes, acknowledge the struggle and challenges, let them know you see them, but focus on the transformation you provide instead of sticking with everything that’s going wrong for them.

A great rule of thumb when creating content is to ask yourself how you want to come across in this communication. How do you want to be seen? 

Do you want to be seen as welcoming and approachable? Or standoffish and high and mighty? Out of touch or relatable? 

Come from a place of genuinely caring for your audience and wanting to help them by earning their trust and respect. I assure you that you don’t need endless pain points, unpopular opinions, and rants to accomplish that.

What Makes Content Engaging? What TO do! 

Content is another fancy way to say communication, and in my opinion, communication is a two-way street. It’s a conversation. To create more engaging content, bring people into the conversation with you. Ask them how they feel about something, what they’ve noticed, what they’d add to your thoughts. 

Create a sense of community and provide an opportunity to engage and have a conversation with you. Reminder that this means you need to INTERACT and engage back! For the love of all things holy, it’s 2023, and we’re not posting and ghosting anymore! 

If you want a super easy way to get started with creating more engagement and interaction with your content, ask thoughtful and curious questions!

You can ask questions your clients ask you in Discovery Calls. 

You can ask questions around, “Does anyone else do this…” 

You can ask questions around just about anything you see as a business owner that piques your interest! 

Create fun dialogue that invites people in and you’ll be well on your way to making your content more engaging. 

#1) How You Respond Can Make Your Content More Engaging 

When giving responses and engaging others on social media, give thoughtful, intentional, and mindful replies. I tend to find that if I’m hurrying or checking notifications frequently, my responses tend to be something along the lines of, “Yay!” or “I love this!” whereas when I take my time, go slowly, and time-block my engagement and social media time, I can give much better comments and thoughtful feedback on people’s posts. 

You don’t have to spend hours on social media to be present and focused. Just carve out specific times and focus on what you’re doing when you’re on there! 

#2) Storytelling Makes Content More Engaging

We’ve probably heard it repeated in many forms and fashions, but storytelling is a way to increase interest in your content. And I would venture to say, it’s not just any stories… they’re YOUR stories! 

You can turn things that happen around you in your life into content that people can connect and relate to, which is the key to making your content more engaging! 

You don’t need to have some epiphany or big philosophical moment, even if you have a boring life… you can turn it into a story to share in your content.

Case-in-point: A recent trip to the grocery store which became the impetus and inspiration for this email about why being SPECIFIC in your content is important. 

Talk about things in your life that are common denominators: relationships, food, what you’re watching on TV, listening to, eating, and your morning routine. 

This everyday stuff -like the fact that your goal is Genius on the NYT Spelling Bee app every morning, but only after Wordle and Quordle. All of those little things are the magic of what makes you YOU. Engageable. Quirky. Unique. Authentic. YOU. 

When it comes to stories, you can train your brain to start seeing stories in the every day and use them in a metaphorical or allegorical way to apply them to your ideal clients. All it takes is a grasp on who your ideal clients are and what their pains, fears, and frustrations are, plus a sprinkle of skill and creativity to turn your everyday stories into engaging content!  

Lastly, on this topic, don’t force it! Not every story works! Not every segue works with your call to action. And not everything is meant to be shared. But the more you tell yourself that your experiences and stories are interesting and valid, the more the opportunities will start popping up and you’ll want to share what you’re experiencing! 

#3) Create More Engaging Content by Getting People Interested in What You’re Interested In! 

When it comes to anything you’re sharing or promoting be it a workshop, 1:1 services, a course, or event… how do you get people as excited and interested in it as you are? 

First of all, let’s assume you ARE in fact excited and if not, I recommend considering why not. Are you creating work that’s in congruence with who you are and the goals you’re working towards? 

If you’re not excited about what you’re sharing, it will be hard to get others to be! People can often energetically feel our passion come through when we’re sharing content. 

If you DO love what you’re doing, give them a reason to be interested! Show them how to be interested by inviting them into your mission with you, bringing them into the journey along the way, and sharing the WHY behind what you’re doing. 

When you attach a mission and why to what you’re doing, it becomes far far bigger than you. People want to attach themselves to a purpose and mission, and when it comes to content and relationship-building, you can invite them to participate with you in this. 

 The real answer to what makes content engaging? 

When you make others part of what you’re creating that’s the key to making content more engaging.

Did you enjoy this blog? I recommend you take one of these three action steps if you did:
  • Connect with ME on social media and let’s start engaging together!! Instagram | Linkedin | Facebook
  • Listen to mine and Jessica’s She Built This episode “Engaging Content Ideas
  • Email me and let me know your thoughts and takeaways and of course, anything you’d like to hear about next!

This episode of She Built This is full of engaging content ideas as Jessica Terzakis and I talk about: 

  • Where Jessica sees people get in their way and struggle the most when it comes to content creation, coming up with engaging content ideas, and general marketing 
  • Content creation mistakes to avoid 
  • Engaging content ideas for social media 
  • Storytelling and creating connection in your content 
  • And more