You’re probably tired of hearing how the COVID-19 pandemic has turned the world on its ear over the past six months. We’ve got some good news for you: This upheaval of everyday life as we knew it has uncovered some unique opportunities for online publishers. And one of those is a sharp increase in reader engagement.
Read on to learn how to capitalize on this uptick right now by tweaking your content to attract new readers and sales.
How COVID-19 has affected reader engagement
In July 2020, LiveIntent surveyed online publishers and advertisers to find out how COVID-19 was impacting engagement. A full 84% of publishers reported greater engagement with their content compared to pre-quarantine rates. The most dramatic engagement rate increases were in the areas of hobbies & interests (100% increase), news (75% increase), and education (67%).
According to online publishers, website content was the leading online channel for increased engagement rates. But email newsletters, with a 53% increase in engagement rates, were a close second.
This means that online users are spending time reading and interacting with content, presenting a golden opportunity for digital publishers to polish up older content and ramp up the production of new content that readers want right now.
Here are a few ideas to help you build on the increased engagement trend.
1. Educate with content
As people spend more time at home during quarantine, they’re ready to learn new things online. Now is the time to create or update educational content to answer readers’ questions right on your own publishing platform.
Create content to teach your audience about your products and services. Explain why you use certain ingredients, supplies, or methods over others.
If you don’t sell products or services, consider adding content that teaches your readers how to do something new, like an at-home facial, or helps them learn more about a topic, like what it means when astronomers find phosphine on Venus.
Your education content could take the form of:
- Blog posts
- Newsletter series
- Facebook or Instagram Live broadcasts
2. Entertain to engage
With extra time on their hands, more people are moving towards a screen-based life for work, communicating with family, and, of course, for entertainment.
People who want a break from the constantly-evolving news cycle are ready to be distracted, so give them what they want.
Use storytelling techniques such as cliffhanger posts, and write in an active voice to grab the reader’s attention. Rewrite your “about” page to narrate the story of how your site or business came to be.
Include customer profiles or business case studies on your site. Tell a story of how your service or product helped solve a specific problem for a client.
Create online scavenger hunts for your readers or email subscribers to find certain items or information within your e-commerce shop, product descriptions, previous email newsletters, or recent blog posts. Offer prizes for participants.
3. Give readers the inside scoop
Engage your readers with an insider look at your online business by posting funny video “outtakes” or “behind the scenes” looks at a day in your business. Create these for Facebook Stories, Instagram Stories, Instagram Reels, IGTV, or even TikTok, and then include a link to the video in your subscriber newsletter.
Now is also a good time to share inside information about industry trends, news, and developments with your readers. And always encourage additional user engagement by asking the reader to comment, share, or like your posts.
Create an “ask me anything” type post where you respond to reader questions. Or share a post or video clip discussing what’s in the works for your business or industry.
People around the world have been responding to the message of ‘stay home to stay safe’ by spending more time online, and engaging with the content they’re reading. Fine-tune your existing content to educate, entertain and inform, then create more of the content that gets the highest engagement.
Despite the challenges COVID-19 has brought the world, it appears to also have opened up opportunities for those online publishers who are ready to seize it.
Curious about more impacts of COVID-19? Download our eBook to learn how publishers and advertisers are discovering new windows of opportunity to retain and grow relationships with customers during this time.