Wondering why your content marketing efforts no longer work? Even when you make a solid effort to create and publish regular posts on your blog or website?

Maybe you’re stuck in the old mindset.

Hello, Rip Van Winkle: let’s discuss what’s really going on in the world of SEO content today.

Content used to depend on various SEO tactics that saw your marketing efforts succeed. For instance, you needed to write keyword-rich content, get more links, build more pages and post more content, post on guest blogs, use title tags and backlinks and get listed on online directories, among other outdated optimization tactics.

Google recently made updates and what matters now is content authority and quality.

Online conversations are now the backbone to successful social media and content marketing campaigns.

Don’t just post content online, but engage your prospects. Converse with and engage your online prospects and even existing customers. When you successfully have online conversations, you build customer loyalty, create fans of your brand and even push your audience to make purchases.

How can you post content and converse with my audience to engage them? I’ll show you how to start online conversations and engage your audience.

Are you ready to start conversing online?

 7 Key Ways on How You Can Start and Hold Online Conversations

1. Share and Mention the Interests of Your Target Audience

You need to post content or messages that point out the specific interests of your audience. According to a study published on OkCupid, you increase your chance of receiving responses from your audience by mentioning their interests in your posts.

Although you can create and post a message touching on your audience’s personal interests, your reference in this case should be something professional because we’re dealing with online content marketing.

Let’s consider the following examples when you need to write something that reflects the interests of your audience:

  • Comment on a topic that your audience mentioned recently: it could be something like, “I saw your tweet, post or article about online conversations…”
  • Say something about the prediction one of your audience members made: say, “I see your prediction of certain SEO tactics phasing out…”
  • Speak of an opinion you share with your audience: “I completely agree that it is high time that we as marketers engage our audience instead of just posting content online…”
  • Compliment on something your audience achieved or developed: “Your recently published content has attracted a great deal of comments from readers and you’ve been doing well conversing and interacting with your fans.”
  • Thank your fans for every important thing they share: “Thanks for sharing that insightful article from Forbes. It was a good read…”

Every time you mention your fans’ interests, you are showing that you share something in common. Just ensure that you stay positive with all your posts.

2. Show You Took Your Time to Find Out Your Fans’ Interests

Your fans will wonder how you found out about their interests. It simply means that you took your time to check and read their profiles, content or even company website. You’re definitely giving your fans the kind of attention and listening ear they want from their favorite brand.

We all like to be noticed and when we realize that we’re getting some kind of attention from somewhere, we develop interest. Interest to converse, talk, share opinions, ask questions, or even provide feedback.

Research, research and research a prospect, journalist, job candidate, or even influencer with whom you want to carry out a conversation. It makes all the difference just showing your fans how much you’re interested in starting a conversation with them.

Show how much you’re interested in your fans and what they like by posting messages that will see your audience send replies. Respond to all replies posted by your fans to keep the conversation going. Try making posts like:

  • I subscribed to your podcast and realized that…
  • I read your book on having successful online conversations. I agree that doing a background check on your fans before beginning conversations is an important way of engaging your audience…
  • I’ve been following your blog for the last few weeks and…

3. Practice the Ability to Self Efface

When it comes to what matters in online conversation, we can’t overlook the essence of humility and self-efface. As a brand, this is a matter of life and death. You either talk to your fans nicely to survive in your competitive market or do otherwise and watch your brand die.

Prospects can always smell arrogance from a distance. Show humility in your words by using self-effacing language. Use the right words at the right time to convey the right message. Self-effacing language also acknowledges that contacting someone out of the blue can be a bit awkward.

Whatever it is that you want to discuss with your fans, start out with a concise and direct message. Do this using one sentence that shows you’re obviously starting a conversation out of nowhere.

4. Personalize Your Message and Be Unique

When you craft a generic salutation to send your fans, expect the worst outcomes. The least effective yet most popular openings to conversations that we love to use are “Hey,” “Hi” and “Hello”.

Words like “what’s up,” how’s it going,” “howdy,” “yo” and “hola” have done quite well in initiating online conversations. The key here is to be as unique as possible.

We can only create great content that suits our unique audience when we know it very well. Develop content that is tailored and personalized for your specific fans. Be unique and work on your brand voice and usage of words. You do not want to sound like any other brand out there.

5. Patience Pays Big… Join the Game and Play

Don’t just sit there waiting for your fans to take charge of the game and begin conversing with you. Go ahead and put yourself out there, but take it one step at a time.

Prepare in advance — a few days or weeks will do — before jumping into the game.

You can also follow your fans on social media sites like Google+, Twitter and Facebook (you don’t need their consent to do this), tweet your fans’ content, comment on their posts, mention them in your content and share on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Write a message that talks about your fans and what they like, including but not limited to a link or quote as a way of giving them credit.

6. Go Live Chat

Live chat support is a tool that can help us as marketers to engage our audiences. With live chat, you will not just begin conversations, but customers will enjoy so much convenience when shopping online, you will get reduced expenses, increased sales, competitive edge over your competition and exploitation of customer pain points.

Bold Chat is one of the greatest tools for holding conversations online in reference to engaging your prospects.

7. Take Part in Twitter Chats

Twitter chats have redefined online conversations.

Go ahead and begin conversations with your audience, with the possibility of mentioning what you had previously written. Twitter chats have heavily changed how online conversations are carried out to become conversational platforms for you and your prospects. I launched one, #ContentWritingChat, in January of 2016: I was shocked to see it hit No. 11 in the trending sidebar in Twitter in just six months. It was a fairly easy marketing effort on my part. Twitter chats are very hot right now.

Meet at pre-determined times to discuss particular issues with your fans using Twitter chat hashtags. Enjoy creating deep connections and generate several conversations chatting with your fans.

Use the hashtag to speak to people live on the platform during your chat time. Post a message using the hashtag and converse with your fans in real-time as they share their opinions regarding your post.

Most importantly, remember to be honest and prompt in your responses to keep the conversation going. Do not just post content, but begin online conversations. Ask open-ended questions that discourage the use of single words. Follow-up questions are also recommended.

You can readily ask for something from your audience in a polite way as you make connections. Request your fans to collaborate as a way of starting your much-awaited conversations.