3 Ways to Drive Sustainable Online Engagement


You’ve developed audience personas. You know the unique value your brand provides your customers–the reasons why they engage with you. That information guided you as you created an engagement strategy, anchored by a solid content plan.

Now it’s time to select a way to deliver content that will drive sustainable online engagement between your brand and audience.

As an experienced partner in improving online engagement, Refactored has seen three main ways to build an effective online community with lasting engagement/value.

Let’s look at three main ways to nurture your audience and drive sustainable online engagement.

No. 1: Brand Awareness and Thought Leadership

Under this model, your brand provides free access to the content you create. The idea is to cast a wide net, providing value to a larger audience (think industry-wide or beyond).

If you have identified multiple personas that your brand serves, then consider creating content that’s applicable to all.

To promote brand awareness and thought leadership, create content that:

  • Informs and educates

  • Shows your industry expertise

  • Avoids sales language and product promotion

Brand awareness and thought leadership are about fostering long-term relationships, not quick sales.

If you’re using this model, it’s important to:

  • Provide easy access (free, ungated)

  • Make it easy to share and invite others

  • Avoid self-promotion

  • Not pressure your audience into sales

Effective engagement under this model helps a brand establish and increase trust among potential customers.

You are building momentum with your audience that will pay off when they are looking to purchase products or services that you provide.

Example: Team Run Smart 
An American truck manufacturer and financial business consultant firm partnered with Refactored team members to create a website full of trucking content.

The site helps drivers across North America run their small business more efficiently by providing valuable content. Truckers from every stage in their career can go to the site for advice on business, truck maintenance, and lifestyle.

Engagement on the site is strong because it follows all the guidelines mentioned above for this type of engagement model. Their audience finds the content valuable, it’s free, and it’s informative – without sales pressure. Read the full case study or check out the website.

No. 2: Subscription-Based

Choosing a subscription-based online engagement model is the right choice if you have a B2B business or industry association that offers exclusive features or content that provide a high level of value immediately.

Organizations with a rich library of content created by experts and access to a contact directory will do well under a subscription-based strategy.

If you’re using this model, it’s important to:

  • Ensure your audience places a high value on your content

  • Properly price your membership/subscription

  • Continue to find ways to add value

  • Understand what makes your offerings unique

  • Provide some free content so prospects understand your value

Example: The Economist
As one of the most respected publishing brands in the world, The Economist is focused on producing quality content.

Their site and magazine is filled with extensively researched articles and posts from experts. Readers trust it as a source for exclusive content that provides premium value that other publishers can’t match.

Since there’s a high level of value customers receive by reading, they offer a paid subscription-based model.

If your brand shares characteristics with the Economist – in other words, you provide high value immediately – consider a paid subscription or membership model.

No. 3: Blended

Let’s say your brand holds some great exclusive content and features but you also are looking to grow the size of your audience. You may consider a blended strategy, offering free access to entry-level content and membership or subscription options to gain access to more valuable content.

If you’re using this model, it’s important to:

  • Reduce barriers of early engagements

  • Nurture your audience to become members/subscribers

  • Provide multiple ways for your audience to gain and reciprocate value

Example: XtremeAg
Refactored partnered with a group of award-winning farmers to create an online community website aimed at helping others build successful agricultural careers.

Historically, this group presented at regional events. But as the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of in-person events, they quickly recognized bringing their value online could increase their reach.

Together, we built a multi-tier membership site that features hundreds of hours of videos, field reports, and tutorials. Content is updated regularly – adding even more value to members.

Because XtremeAg wanted to grow its reach, they decided to pursue a blended model for engagement – offering a community designed to nurture members while also receiving revenue for their content. 
Read the full case study or check out the website.

Let’s Talk About Your Engagement Strategy

As a full-service digital marketing agency, Refactored can help you determine the best way to connect with your audience and deliver superior online engagements that build lasting momentum for your business.

From marketing strategy to managed content creation to website development, our seasoned experts are here for your customer-centric needs.