What Makes Content Engaging to a Business Audience?

Practical Tactics to Ensure Your Intelligence Hits Its Target. Part 3 of 5 in a Series.

Information overload is a challenge for all organizations. Information users are inundated by an overwhelming volume of headlines, emails, tweets and other content. For any content curation plan to be successful, it must first cut through the background noise of unfiltered content. Targeted Intelligence is an approach to accomplish just that.

Targeted Intelligence is the practice of delivering timely updates from a team who curate content using various technologies to select the appropriate information. The goal: easily digestible updates that can be pushed to a variety of channels, such as portals, widgets, mobile applications, email briefings and more.

Effective information strategy starts with engaging users. Fortunately, winning over an audience is all about going back to basics: give the people what they want. The key to competing successfully for people’s attention these days, then, is simple. Make it all about them, and you will have their undivided attention.
In a business setting, gaining attention is not just about getting a chuckle or gasp out of someone. Successful user engagement in this context involves deeper buy-in that connects users with a stream of carefully curated information. The goal must be to inform, educate and (sometimes) amaze.

Step 1: Inform
On the surface, “informing” is the easy part. For example, Google Alerts are informative. They are free, and they send an email any time a particular keyword is mentioned anywhere on the Internet. The problem is, Google alerts come without customer service, let alone the guiding hand of an analyst or editor. Better approaches exist than relying on such a blunt tool.
Targeted Intelligence goes beyond literally informing users, transforming information from unorganized noise into actionable data. Informing users strategically, not generically, yields lasting results.

Step 2: Educate
“Educating” implies teaching and learning, in other words, engaging with an audience. One time-tested public speaking tip to engage effectively with any audience is to pick one person from the crowd and speak directly to that one person. This works equally well online except instead of making eye contact, you choose someone you know within the organization and create content especially for that person, as though you were emailing just him or her.
This is where the targeting comes into Targeted Intelligence: personalization, customization and careful content curation help make the leap from informative to meaningful.

Step 3: Amaze
Getting to the level of real engagement, not to mention “amazement,” is the hard part. Fortunately, in a business or organizational setting, it is easier than one might think. Chances are there will be little or no internal competition. After all, how many other departments are creating and sending targeted intelligence expressly for your users?
There are several strategies to help you leverage intelligence tools and technology to achieve next-level user engagement:

  • Know your subject. Develop a strong working knowledge of the topic(s) you need to cover and identify the information that is needed by users.
  • Consistently delivering relevant information ensures credibility with clients.
  • Remember that presentation matters. Organize content in a consistent fashion that is visually appealing, invites reading and is easy for users to digest.
  • Focus. Attempting to meet the needs of everyone with a single update dilutes the focus of the information. Instead, focus on meeting the information needs of a specific department, group, topic or market. This will boost relevance and keep scope and costs more manageable.
  • Add context. Try to direct readers to the most important information first by highlighting it and giving it context. This can be achieved with simple strategies like selecting a lead story, adding an editor’s note or including links.

When executed effectively, these tactics can reach the audience your intelligence requires to be effective and hold their attention spans. The best methodology: leverage proprietary technology, guided by an experienced team, to produce information updates that inform, educate and amaze. Use the content curation techniques described above, be sure the results are delivered mindfully, and you can better your chance to win over an audience within an organization or one of its segments.