How To Make Content More Engaging

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How To Make Content More Engaging Door Mind Map: How To Make Content More Engaging

1. Info

1.1. Version: March 2015 For major updates, join the email list at:

1.1.1. Updates since April 25, 2014 Ethics "Headlines" instead of "Titles and Subtitles" and more resources about this Dramatic

1.2. Check out George Kao's other Mindmaps:

1.3. To watch a video lecture about this mindmap, click here:

1.4. Feel free to share this mindmap freely. Here's the link to give out:

1.4.1. How to share this on Social Media? To share it on Facebook, click here: To share it on Twitter, click here: To share it on LinkedIn, click here: To share it on Google+, click here: How I created the 'share' links above:

2. Digestible

2.1. Ease into it

2.1.1. Always remember: you have been thinking about your topic a *lot* more than the audience has (at least recently, as you've been preparing the material) ... so the audience needs to be eased into it, maybe with a funny or touching story, or other interesting, easy to understand idea.

2.2. Shorter!

2.2.1. The shorter a piece of content the more likely it'll be consumed. Youtube videos: the shortest ones (under 4 minutes is considered "short" by Youtube search engine) tend to be watched the most Check out this article about ideal length of a Tweet, Facebook Post, and Google+ Headline, Length of a Blog Post, even Email Subject Lines: (Thanks Tord Helsingeng for the link!)

2.2.2. However, this does not trump "Useful" which is still more important. Some of the most well-known content -- classic books, movies, youtube videos, articles, even Facebook status updates -- are also some of the longest.

2.3. Easier on the eyes

2.3.1. Non-cluttered -- more spacious For example, shorter paragraphcs

2.3.2. Larger font (to a certain level) See as a good example of fonts that are large enough to be easy, but not too large to be annoying.

2.4. Web-content best practices

2.4.1. Use interesting headings, subheadings, bullet points (scannable content)

2.4.2. The first 2 paragraphs are most important

2.4.3. The first 2 words of a heading/subheading/bullet point are very important


2.5. Simpler language

2.5.1. Great tool for writing in concise, clear language:

2.6. Pause regularly

2.6.1. let something sink in.

2.6.2. This is obvious when Speaking, but in writing, "pausing regularly" means to give a break in between sections where there's a lot of information.

2.7. Proofread

2.7.1. If you haven't done a spelling and grammar check, do it.

2.7.2. Typos can be surprisingly distracting for audiences.

2.8. Why?

2.8.1. If it is in-depth or longer content, share the benefits and end results of learning & implementing it.

2.9. Myth to Truth

2.9.1. If possible, first share what the audience probably believes to be true, but is a myth. Then share what you believe instead to be the truth. This learning after a mistake, creates an "aha!" experience.

2.10. Categorize

2.10.1. Just like this mindmap has dozens of ideas, categorized into 3 main ones: Useful, Digestible, Attractive ... so that it's more understandable and memorable.

2.11. Step by Step

2.11.1. If sharing how to do something, consider saying it as Step 1, Step 2, Step 3...

2.12. Different modes

2.12.1. Text

2.12.2. Graphics Charts & Drawings Relevant photos / images Infographics

2.12.3. Audio Podcasts

2.12.4. Video

2.12.5. In Person

2.13. Includes some kind of practical exercise(s)

2.14. Analogies & Metaphors

2.15. Stories

2.15.1. Your own stories when possible, but you can always share stories you've heard elsewhere as long as it helps illustrate your point.

2.15.2. People tend to remember stories -- our brains are wired that way -- even as they tend to forget complex ideas that aren't connected to a story.

2.15.3. SSPP Struggle (what motivated you to want to become an expert on this topic?) Solution (how did you stumble upon the solution you're now teaching... a master in the hills? a certification program? your own research? what life experience?) Proof (what proof, case studies, do you have that the solution works?) Passion (share with audience your passion for your solution & message... that you're not just in it for the money but that you're in it to help people.)

2.16. Mnemonics

2.16.1. Acronyms

2.16.2. Rhyming

2.17. Resources for better teaching

2.17.1. Teaching Commons

2.17.2. Qualities of Effective Teachers

2.17.3. Characteristics of Highly Effective Teaching and Learning (CHETL)

2.18. Be always pruning!

2.18.1. Every idea added dilutes all other ideas.

3. Useful

3.1. Have you asked your ideal audience what questions they most want you to answer / topics they most want you to talk about?

3.1.1. It can be easier to give them some options and have them vote on it

3.1.2. Or simply watch what social media postings they "like" and comment on most

3.1.3. And start noticing what questions your audience is asking; whether in emails to you, as part of Q&A sessions, or in online forums.

3.2. Or what questions *should* they be asking that they don't know to ask yet?

3.3. It can be very useful to analyze your niche mates' content

3.3.1. Niche mates (some call them "competitors" but I prefer to see them as Mirrors or even Partners) are other Content Creators & Curators who have a similar audience as you.

3.3.2. Take notes on what content your Niche Mates are sharing, and which of their content gets the most engagement (e.g. "likes" and comments) Take note on a few things that you can emulate -- not copy but emulate through your own voice. Also notice what you don't like and will consciously avoid emulating

3.3.3. Take notes on what questions their audience is asking them! If you have similar audience, those questions will be useful for you to know how to answer too.

3.4. In fact, sometimes partner with your niche mates to create great content!

3.4.1. Round-up Articles

3.4.2. Interview them, either via email (send them questions that they can reply to) or via phone/Skype. Turn that content into a blog post.

3.5. Occasionally creating & sharing survey data (anonymously) can create very engaging content

3.5.1. Do the legwork of surveying your audience -- and maybe also Niche Mates' audiences if they are willing -- and share the data with everyone in a blog post or infographic or slideshow or video.

3.6. Watch for clues

3.6.1. As you deliver your content: what ideas are getting the most engagement?

3.6.2. Follow your ideal audience on social media: what are THEY sharing and liking? Social Media Caring:

3.7. In short, aim to do one or more of the following in your content for your ideal audience:

3.7.1. Solve a problem they are having now or will soon have. The more urgent the problem, the more they'll tend to pay attention.

3.7.2. Make their life easier, either saving them time or money or effort.

3.7.3. Delight them! (see the "Attractive" node.)

3.7.4. This means your content creation aim needs to be getting to know your audience better... aim to understand how they think, what bothers them, what they are most yearning for, what makes them happy. In short, love your audience.

3.8. Share why what you're sharing is important

3.8.1. The context will help your audience *want* to engage and use the information you're sharing with them.

3.9. Give Examples

3.9.1. It makes a big difference to people really understanding what you're saying.

3.9.2. To make it more memorable, try to make the example into a Story. Start with problem/risk/danger Then discovery of the solution Then the happy ending because of the solution

3.10. Whenever appropriate, include practical steps.


3.11.1. When appropriate, include quotes from famous people that help illustrate your ideas.

3.12. Share trends

3.12.1. When appropriate & helpful, share how a certain trend in the world relates to what you're talking about.

3.13. Relevant statistics and numbers

3.13.1. Especially ones that are surprising, or dramatic.

3.14. Present important viewpoints besides your own beliefs

3.15. Connect the ideas to other fields of thought / other areas of life

3.16. Definitions and distinctions

3.16.1. Throughout your teaching, give definitions of jargons, and distinctions to clarify how an idea is different from what they may have heard elsewhere.

3.17. Explain why alternative solutions (to what you are educating them on) haven't worked / worked as well

3.18. Ask Questions

3.18.1. Questions are powerful: they get the audience member's mind working to engage with the topic.

3.18.2. Example:

3.19. Useful content isn't just what You create, but can be what you *curate*

3.19.1. Content curation in fact is a great way to start sharing great content regularly:

4. Entertaining

4.1. Is it authentic?

4.1.1. Teach content that you love -- and display your authentic passion as you teach!

4.1.2. Share vulnerably, to be your real self. My most popular blog post was 5 words... "mildly depressed... any recovery tips?" (200+ comments)

4.2. Are you using images?

4.2.1. For example, on Facebook, an image/photo post usually gets *far* more engagement than Status Updates alone, and more than videos or links.

4.2.2. Good example of sharing a great quote on an interesting background image, with link to their website and hashtags subtly at the bottom but still visible.

4.3. Is it simple/easy?

4.3.1. "small changes you can make in 5 minutes or less..."

4.3.2. "a simple map to finding work you love"

4.3.3. It's not that people are lazy (well, maybe we all are) but more than ever, people are *overwhelmed* without even knowing it, and constantly crave things that are quick, easy, simple, effortless. The more you can highlight the areas of your content that are simple/easy -- or reformat your content to be so -- the more attractive it will be!

4.4. Is it numbered?

4.4.1. For example, "3 Ways To Make Your Content More Engaging" would be more attractive than "How To Make Your Content More Engaging"... but the "3 Ways" title may suggest a shorter piece of content so I want to be truthful for the particular context. In naming the podcast I'll probably use "3 Ways" while keeping the Mindmap "How To"

4.5. Is it authentic?

4.5.1. People can feel when you are being real. So be yourself -- say what you really want to say, as if this were your legacy.

4.5.2. If it's controversial, it takes courage to share, but it's usually worth it! If so, you'll likely get more engagement -- you'll wake people up!

4.6. Is it emotional?

4.6.1. Does it describe the pain of a problem well?

4.6.2. Does it share an inspiring vision of what is possible?

4.7. Is it dramatic?

4.7.1. Boring is montonous -- whether in words or voice

4.7.2. Attractive, exciting, is having contrast -- build up to loud, then go softer. In writing, it could be paragraphs punctuated by min-paragraphs of just 1-2 sentences, or even a few words.

4.8. Is it controversial?

4.8.1. If your ideal audience has a strong opinion about it -- either Yes or No -- and yet you know some people in the world will feel a strong "No!" then it is controversial.

4.9. Is it vulnerable?

4.9.1. For example, my most vulnerable (and simple) post got the most comments I've ever received:

4.9.2. "If it's real, coming from the heart and life of the writer, sharing an insight, experience, feelings, beauty. I don't look for information on FB unless it comes form the writer's experience." --Aine Dee

4.10. Is it funny?

4.10.1. You can find humor in almost anything; bring it out whenever appropriate!

4.11. Is there social proof?

4.11.1. Has your content received rave reviews elsewhere?

4.11.2. Are there other experts who have shared similar ideas?

4.11.3. Has this idea been mentioned in any famous newspaper, magazine, journal?

4.12. Headlines

4.12.1. Interesting titles (and subtitles, when appropriate) make a *big* difference whether people even consume your content.

4.12.2. However, be conscious whether in your Headline, you are manipulating your audience or providing an honest -- though still interesting -- summary of that piece of content. Why the human brain is manipulatable by headlines:

4.12.3. Read more about writing interesting headlines Here are the list of 15 rules/principles that Upworthy (one of the most successful headline-writers on the net) uses to write theirs: Good article on writing better headlines: To read more, here's the google search on this topic:

4.12.4. Testing your headlines Test it on Twitter, see which ones favorited, retweeted Tools to test include: If you're willing to pay to test headlines, check out:

4.13. Bring in some pop culture or news?

4.13.1. If there's something going on in popular culture, a celebrity, TV show, movie, or a piece of news that you can relevantly integrate into your content -- it will make your content more interesting and/or understandable.

4.13.2. Examples In the years preceding 2012, many new age authors and speakers shared their viewpoints on what will happen in/around Dec 21, 2012 -- based on Mayan prophecies

4.14. Notice what you enjoy!

4.14.1. How do you like to be entertained and delighted in content consumption? Notice it. Then do unto others!

4.15. Notice what is popular

4.15.1. In the Facebook news feed, notice the recent postings that get the most likes & comments.

4.15.2. In LinkedIn -- go into LinkedIn Groups that are relevant to you -- -- and at the top of the discussion, click "Popular" and see what discussions get the most engagement. Find the pattern (it's likely one or more of the factors listed on this mindmap) and emulate your engagement in that group / for that audience.

4.15.3. Go to and and enter the topic you are interested in, and learn even just 1 thing you can emulate from the most shared content.

4.16. Values -- do you know your ideal audience's values? Are you speaking to them?

4.16.1. Example: "Is it meaningful to me personally, will it support the higher good of Earth & all Earth's beings, is it something that is factual & supportive of positive change... ?" --Pj Peggy Starr

4.17. Adventure

4.17.1. "When we’re in an adventure, we’re eager to discover and apply the next clue." ~Sharanagati

4.18. Ask Questions, preferably simple ones

4.18.1. Provocative

4.18.2. And/or able to be answered with 1 word

4.19. Good grammar & spelling

4.19.1. It is shocking how even a typo or two can erode the credibility of otherwise useful content!

4.19.2. Although spelling does need to be excellent (use spell-check before you post!) -- how "good" your grammar is depends on your style & relationship to your audience.

4.20. For in-depth content, make it clear whether it can be, and how to, share it forward!

4.20.1. Shorter content doesn't have to include sharing tools -- it can seem too desperate, and if people like it, they'll engage and share naturally.

4.20.2. However, for longer or more in-depth content (mindmaps, longer blog articles, video lectures, podcasts) people can get so deep into the content they forget that others could benefit as well. Simply mention whether the content can be shared, and how.

4.20.3. See example in the node below!

4.21. Know the engagement technique for the specific medium

4.21.1. How to make more viral Facebook postings:

4.21.2. Tweeting more retweetable tweets:

4.22. Ethics: always let Honestly trump Attractiveness

4.22.1. Are you oversimplifying?

4.22.2. Are you misrepresenting something, or taking it out of context? This is especially easy mistake in writing headlines...

4.23. Tell personal stories

4.23.1. Especially stories of your personal failure, and how you overcame it. Example: read James Altucher

4.24. Write as if to a friend or a colleague

5. How to use this mindmap

5.1. Why and What

5.1.1. What is "Content"? Social media postings Facebook Twitter Google+ etc. Videos / Webinars Google Hangouts on Air Audios / Podcasts A good podcast search engine & player: Blogs / Articles I like to blog on Books / eBooks In-Person Speaking / Teaching Here are lists of formats of content you can think about creating: From SEJ:

5.1.2. Why make content more engaging? The more engaging, the more traffic that piece of content will get Because people will naturally share it forward Search engines will pick up on the fact that it is being linked to, and will bump it up in the rankings It can go viral on social media -- each "like" or comment on that piece of content will signal to the social media site that it is important/entertaining and it will get more viewers The more engaging, the more you're truly connecting with your audience This allows you to be a more effective communicator, teacher, coach, mentor, speaker, author, marketer, parent, or friend!

5.1.3. The dozens of ideas in this mindmap serve as a helpful -- but not "required" -- checklist of traits that make content interesting. Integrate them gradually! Not all ideas in this mindmap are required for "good" content, and some of these aren't to be used all the time, e.g. you don't have to try to be funny with all your social media postings, but it's worth practicing each of these characteristics at some point, and to get good at the ones you resonate with. The longer your content -- e.g. a long talk, a lengthy article, a book, a long podcast episode -- the more you need to pay attention to integrating these factors. Short content can simply integrate *one* of these many factors well.

5.2. How

5.2.1. Notice on the upper left of this mindmap is + and - symbols -- click those to adjust the size of the font.

5.2.2. You can click and drag any part of the mindmap to move around.

5.2.3. At the end of the nodes you'll sometimes see gray bubble -- click it to expand an idea! Like this :)