It was 95 degrees but it was a dry heat.

I had just taken a sip from a frosty cold cerveza and glanced skyward observing the 3 palms blowing gently in the breeze. After a couple of days of rest and relaxation, my mind was fully disengaged from its usual fretting about commitments, deadlines and financial obligations.

And I thought to myself, what stories this trio of frond producers could tell of people and life they’ve seen over the years. What trials and tribulations they witnessed. The stories of love and loss they overheard.

And then that famous quote was confirmed to me yet again. “Curiosity is the lust of the mind,” said English philosopher Thomas Hobbes more than 330 years ago. 

We just have to know.

We’ve got to find out.

We must quench that thirst.

All of which brings me to the "content and mission-driven organizations" part of my title.

Are your posts and articles engaging or should I say “magnetizing” your readers? Does your title promise a story worth reading? Does the content fulfill on that promise?

What I'm saying here is that curiosity helps you in content development because it gets your “need to know” overriding everything in your head. It's what I call my "silver bullet" when it comes to engaging content. And it’s a safe bet that if that topic stirs your mind, it’s going to do the same to those coveted readers, ambassadors and potential evangelists of yours.

Just how do you that, you ask?

Engaging content starts with one action: Asking a question.

For example: How specifically did your organization help a family in need after living in their car for 17 months?

How many trees did your employees plant on a forgotten city lot only known for its piles of litter?

Or how did your contribution help seniors lacking access to medical care?

Then your content answers that question by being specific and personal.

By personal, I mean add your own emotional viewpoint about what you saw and how it made you feel. Don’t hold back. Authenticity is not only highly valued in our world today, it is mandatory if you’re to be a trusted communicator.

Stuck for ideas and no palm trees in sight? Consider these time-tested, mind-freeing suggestions:

  • Take a walk in a city park
  • Visit an art museum
  • Ride public transportation
  • Eat in a restaurant you’ve never visited
  • Listen to music you know nothing about.

My bet is you’ll come up with several worthy ideas that promise to make your audience curious (and engaged) indeed. Just as those 3 palms did for me as I dozed off for my afternoon siesta.