2 Quick-ish Tips to Writing Engaging Digital Content – Matching Expectations with Reality

By: Wendy Hernandez


Joseph Gordon-Levitt was in town last summer. He came to Montreal to shoot a movie about a French man who walked a tight rope between the World Trade Center towers.

I know this because an acquaintance of mine was his personal trainer while he worked on the movie. My acquaintance invited my husband and I to a party that JGL was expected to attend. Even though I’d admired him since seeing him in 500 Days of Summer (pictured above), I didn’t show. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. What if the reality didn’t match my expectation?

I saved myself the (possible? imagined?) disappointment. Unfortunately, this isn’t something we have the luxury of doing when reading content online.

How many times have you clicked on a link to an article, only to find that of the “9 Tips for Shinier Hair”, only three of them seem do-able? Worse yet, is clicking on a Facebook teaser, only to see that the two lines of text displayed, are pretty much all there is to say.

With content still king, how can we make sure that the expectations we set ourselves and our content consumers are met? Here are 2 tips to get you started:

Tip Number 1

When writing digital content, first ask yourself “why am I writing this?”, is my goal to:

  • Motivate to action:
    Am I trying to get them to complete an action? If so, what? Be clear.
  • Inspire:
    Do I want to elicit an emotion? Which one?
  • Inform:
    Does it answer reader questions? Is my research supported? Expand.
  • Connect:
    Am I trying to get the reader to connect with my story? My brand? Me?

Tip Number 2

Once you have defined the why, the next step is to figure out the best “where”. Carving it out will help you:

  • Identify the best media to use:
    Should the content be shared on your website, or is it better served on a social media platform?
  • Set the tone:
    The familiar writing of your blog is not necessarily the best tone for a LinkedIn post.
  • Figure out which key words work best:
    Buzz words and industry jargon may turn off blog readers, but they may be a big hit on your company’s corporate Facebook page.

Is it working?
Now that the why and the where are covered, and you have identified the remaining who, what, when,  and how…how do you know if your content is working?

Denis Pinsky, Digital Marketing Strategy Lead at Forbes believes that it can be measured by the engagement rate. Beyond social media metrics, he believes that “…real resonance only begins when someone engages with your content. That engagement is what you should measure to determine the real impact of every piece of content”.

Clearly identifying the WHY and the WHERE before beginning to write will not only align your message with your readers’ expectations, it will also help you achieve greater engagement if the content resonates with them.

Sadly, it turns out that I missed quite the party that day. To this day I ask myself, why didn’t I just attend? Why?


8 thoughts on “2 Quick-ish Tips to Writing Engaging Digital Content – Matching Expectations with Reality

  1. Brigitte Martin

    I completely agree with “the why” being so important to motivate a call to action and encourage engagement. Your post is visually easy to read, gives clear guidelines, while introducing a good thought process for self-review when writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wendy, I really enjoyed your introduction to the topic. I was hooked right from the start and felt it developed really well into the topic of your post. I also appreciated the bullet points which made it easier to read. I didn’t want to skip ahead because you got straight to the point with the tips.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Chiu

    Loved your reality vs expectation parallel, I nodded at everything you wrote. I think the latest “spam” trends we have now are what they called click-bait, where they present a “9 tips for…” and they force you to click-through 9 pages to boost up the site’s rating.

    Of course, a mention of Joseph Gordon Levitt never hurts either.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I really like the way that you break this out. Making use of actionable advice makes this blog easy to apply. I think that it’s really important to evaluate what’s working and what’s not, how else can a writer improve? Great Job. Nathaniel

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yes! Thank you for pointing out the flawed tip lists, and for showing them how it should be done: simple and straight to the point. A great story at the beginning to draw us in. It is so understandable (but I wish you went too ;). Great use of links in the text. Thorough and precise. Great job.
    – Howard

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hey Wendy, great connection between facts and feelings. The story is good in my opinion, but what really makes it engaging is the “rhythm” that you apply to it. Let me put it this way: it is simple and easy to read. Great work.

    Liked by 1 person

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