How to increase engagement
It’s more than just getting the numbers
When it comes to the online world, engagement is your golden ticket to whatever you’re trying to achieve. If you’ve got a blog no one reads, a Twitch channel that no one watches or YouTube videos with zero views — then you’re probably just starting out or doing something wrong.
Over the past year of experiments, observations of others, failures, and successes, here are the lessons I’ve learned when it comes to content engagement.
Content is Royalty
A lot of people misses the plot completely when it comes to creating content. I’ve done it a few times by creating for quantity rather than quality.
Over time, I’ve learned that most people on engage with my writing and other online endeavors when I’ve got something worthy for them to interact with.
The difference between Medium, Twitch, and YouTube from Facebook is that people are not mindlessly scrolling through and liking everything. People are more cautious. They read more. They watch more. They absorb more. They only give acknowledgement and the coveted engagement if it has been worthy enough for their attention.
In a world flooded with mediocrity and memes, quality stands out like a red balloon in a sea of black and white photos.
Create genuine relationships with others
If you’ve ever encountered anyone starting out, you would have encountered a like for like, or follow for follow, self-promoting person. When there is enough of them in any given space or platform, the community in which they occupy dies.
Fake relationships are like weeds. If there’s enough of them, it smothers the life out of other genuine creators by driving away the collective community. It’s sort of like how Facebook is decaying while spaces like Reddit and Medium are thriving.
The relationships created and interactions are genuine. The content they create is not explicitly asking for upvotes, claps, hearts and emotes. The people behind the screens are engaged with the intellect of others. Great writers write because they have something to say rather than for stats.
Find your first 10 true fans
Many of us want engagement in the hordes. However, it’s better to start small and grow your core and consistent fans. It’s better to have 10 true fans rather than 1000 followers who never look back on your work again.
The kind of people you have around you will breed more of the same. Active fans will encourage more active fans to follow you. They’re more likely to comment, to recommend and talk to others about your work.
It’s the law of attraction at work.
Don’t chase after the money
While money is nice, don’t be so obviously desperate. In the gaming world, they call these people sweaty and it’s usually a kid that no one likes.
Be an adult and act how you would in the real world.
Being too obvious after the money only drives people away. It makes you look hungry — a sort of pushy salesman kind of hungry.
Create opportunities for your engaged fans to give you money but keep your finances to yourself. There’s a difference between feeling like you’re being harassed for money vs voluntarily giving it up.
Be real. Be you.
You’re a lot more interesting than you think. Embrace your quirks and interests. Learn to project your voice and present a person that is you.
Being fake means you’re copying someone else. There is no originality. There is no command in your voice. You won’t have the ability to sustain or authority to demand people’s attention over time.
Sometimes we’re still in the process of figure out who we are — that’s fine too. Everyone goes through a stage of defining and redefining their identity.
Some are lucky to get it all over and done with during their teenage years. Some take longer than others. It took me moving out, a heartbreak, losing my job, having a baby and deciding that I’m not really a fan of oysters to get me to where I am today.
It takes practice. It takes time. But always be you — your readers and viewers will know.
Enjoy the process
Creating content is hard work. If you’re not enjoying the process, then you’re probably doing it wrong. If you’re creating content to generate an income — then it won’t last.
When people say follow your passion, what it really means is to follow the path that leads you to create with enjoyment. People engage with the things that make them happy.
I write because I like writing. Writing hasn’t always been easy for me but I’ve always enjoyed the process of creating and thinking. Those who hate writing will always find it hard because it’s not their thing — no matter how hard they try.
It’s sort of like working at a job you hate. You might be enthusiastic at first because of the money but over time, your performance will slip, you will start to hate waking up in the morning and the days suddenly becomes a series of endless grinding.
It’s the same for content creation. Negativity is easy, along with shock factors, but over time it only drives people away. Work on creating content that you enjoy and it will infuse your work with a different vibe.
In communities, on comments, discussion threads, and on other people’s content.
But don’t self promote.
Be genuinely interested in the content you’re interacting and engaging with. The more you give to your platform and communities, the more it will return the favor in kind. By actively participating, you are creating relationships with potential readers and viewers.
No one ever really clicks on your profile or link because you asked them to. They click because they’re curious. They click because they find you interesting. They click because you’re human.
Once they click, it means that you’ve already successfully hooked them. The rest of your content will determine if they stay and become a catch.
Sometimes growth may seem slow but don’t let that deter you. If you work on getting your engagement up rather than viewership, then whatever platform you’re on will help promote you.
Attract and find people that will interact with you. You only need a few to get the ball rolling. Sometimes people just need someone else to speak first in a silent room. It’s a psychological thing — more breeds more of the same.
Work for genuine and consistent engagement through quality content. Hardly any bothers to comment on something that’s mediocre. Stand out above the rest by enjoying what you do and shine through with your personality.