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Content engagement isn't just about getting in the head of your target audience.

A key element is knowing what you want them to do with the content you're giving them, that pesky ol' call to action. And even though that seems like it's finally all about you, the content marketer, it's still really kind of all about them, the audience. Because when we read something with a clear purpose, it's easier for us to make decisions about how we think, feel and act.

So knowing exactly the response you want after they’ve finished consuming your content is key.

Oh, I can hear you saying, "No duh, Margot". But so many writers jump right in without taking a second to set a goal beyond simply finishing and filing the article. I have seen this with my own two eyes. So even if you think you're not one of "those" people, if you're going to invest the time in writing, invest a little more time making sure you know why you’re doing it and what your call to action is.

Purposeful calls to action

Here's how we checked off our purpose for content we developed about an archive collection program at my alma mater, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Go Heels!).

Engagement: Content-Purpose-Audience purpose example

Click image for larger view. Excerpted from the Content-Purpose-Audience Strategy copyright 1995-2012 Teaching That Makes Sense, Inc.

Purposeful content

It's pretty dern easy to turn these goals into content. Some can be stated literally as overt calls to action. Others can be expressed merely by providing the information behind the idea.

We chose to use quotes from the donors to illustrate the key points of safe-keeping and giving your own family papers. Straight narrative explained how the papers are used. Information about giving comes at the end after people understand and have a strong sense of wanting to participate in something interesting and important.

Check out the published content here.

A well-defined purpose helps you develop a strong main idea and details to support it so your content will be more effective and engaging for your audience. As you work on your content today, get explicit about your purpose and the calls to action. See if it doesn't make drafting easier and get you better results.

Next up: A few style points that seal the engagement deal.

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More tips on how to write with a purpose:

The Content-Purpose-Audience Strategy © 1995-2012, Teaching That Makes Sense, Inc.

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