Recently, a client asked me about strategies to keep her ezine audience engaged, interested and opening her emails. This can often feel like a challenge, especially when trying to increase your open and click-through rates. One method is to provide engaging content in formats your audience wants by testing different kinds and giving them a variety. This will not only make them an attentive audience, they’ll want to share your ezine with their friends.
There are four basic formats you can use in your ezine.
Text is the most used format for numerous reasons: it’s accessible, it’s easy to create unique content and it’s simple to optimize for search engines. All you have to do when creating a text based article is sit down and type. Just about anyone can read text, including people with visual disabilities since they can use screen readers. Some people prefer to read because they can do it at their own pace.
Just a quick glance at Facebook and Pinterest will show you how much people love images and infographics. Using visuals and colour in your ezine to convey your message and provide engaging content can be very effective — if used properly. You can say a lot with pictures, especially if your purpose is to share information, facts or a timeline. If you want to start creating unique content with infographics, one site to do that is Piktochart. They have free and premium accounts.
If you find it easier to talk than write, audio might be perfect for you. With the rise of iTunes, people are taking audio everywhere they go and can listen while driving, at the gym or cleaning the house. The sound of your voice instantly creates a connection with your ezine audience and this alone will make it engaging content. There are plugins to make it easy to embed audio on your website and every computer or smart phone has options to record your voice. The audio recording and editing program I use is Audacity — it’s easy to use and completely free.
YouTube is the number two search engine on the planet… just this should make you want to use it to create engaging content. Anytime I want to learn something, YouTube is my first stop and, since YouTube is owned by Google, having videos embedded on your website will help in search rankings.
Creating unique content with video does take longer than typing an article but the effort will pay off with more people seeing it.
You can be in front of the camera, record a PowerPoint with your voice or even create slide shows with stock images and text. Your smart phone will work great as a camera or, to record your screen (such as for a PowerPoint,) my favourite tool is Screencast-O-Matic which has both a free and a very low-cost pro version.
Audio and video have an added benefit: since they can’t be embedded into an email, your ezine audience will have to visit your website to watch and/or listen.
When you decide to use graphics, audio or video content in your ezine, I strongly encourage you to also create a text version. If you create a script for your audio or video, this should be easy. It doesn’t have to be word-for-word but at least type out the main points. Why? The most important reasons is to make your content accessible to all, including those in your ezine audience who have hearing or visual disabilities. The second reason is for search engine rankings. Google can’t understand your audios or videos, so you should have at least a summary of your content in text.
Try some or all of these formats a few times to create engaging content that will keep your ezine audience engaged. See which ones get the best responses, most shares on social media and, ultimately, which ones are best for your subscribers.
Creating the unique content is the first step. For help with getting that content into your ezine and website, or assistance with video and audio editing, contact me so we can set up a time to chat about how I can support your business.