How to create (really) actionable content your readers will love

by | Oct 1, 2020 | Analysis, Public Relations

Actionable content engages your audience and promotes your message, research, or marketing collateral through appropriate channels. It elicits a response from the readers, and more importantly, it compels them to take action.

While writing for your business, ask yourself, “Would I click on this?” If it’s a no, then you need to produce content that engages, excites, and inspires.

Put yourself in the reader’s shoes and think about what excites them. Then, come up with a well-rounded content marketing strategy to create and promote actionable content that calls on them to take action.

And how do you do that? Let’s find out.

What makes your content actionable?

As digital marketing continues to replace traditional advertising, digital content has emerged as the driving force behind its success.

It includes the written word, i.e., blogs, articles, eBooks, etc., while also making use of visual cues such as infographics, videos, podcasts, and more.

Of course, these are just some of the tools in a digital marketer’s arsenal. But, with the right strategy, they can make quite a difference in brand awareness and sales for a business.

If you want to create content that’s truly actionable, make sure that it can:

  • Create value for the reader
  • Establish credibility
  • Build a relationship
  • Resonate with the reader
  • Provide guidance and instructions
  • Compel the reader to take action
  • Address readers’ concerns

As the term suggests, actionable content inspires people to respond to a particular “call to action” and do what you want them to do. It resonates with the reader and stimulates engagement.

Why should you focus on creating actionable content?

Worldometer reveals that every day, more than three million blogs are written and published on WordPress.com alone. The real number could be far higher if other platforms are taken into consideration.

To ensure your digital artifacts don’t get lost in people’s newsfeeds, you need a content amplification strategy that can get you seen and heard above everyone else.

However, views alone are not enough; you need to create blog content that compel people to proceed to the next stage of your sales funnel. Otherwise, all that hard work of getting noticed is for nothing.

Read on to learn about how you can develop and use actionable content in your digital marketing strategy:

Best practices for really actionable content

If you’re struggling to create valuable content that drives the reader to do something, here are a few best practices that can help you make it more actionable.

  • Involve the audience and make it personal

It’s important to develop content that resonates with your potential consumers and helps you build a relationship with them. And you can do that by striking conversations naturally.

This means being genuinely caring for their needs and doing all that you can to ensure that they can get real value from your blogs, videos, or guides. Rest assured that they’ll reciprocate in kind, and give you what you need (A click, a download, a sign-up… the sky’s the limit here).

Your social media pages are a great place to get started as they give you a direct leeway into your audience’s screens and their lives as well. You can make use of content curation tools to show some content variety and know what your audience likes.

So talk to your fans and followers … just like Edible Arrangements. Their page is one of the best examples of how interactive content drives engagement. They use everything, from images and videos, to ask followers to participate in small competitions, for example. Doing so also provides  a chance to gather more valuable data on your customers from which you can extract insights.

The result is greater engagement, brand awareness, and a bigger customer base for the business; and more edible goodies for the people! That’s a win-win situation.

How to create (really) actionable content your readers will love

Source: Edible Arrangements

  • Address your audience’s needs

Research suggests that nearly 67 percent of shoppers go on their social media pages to look for customer support.

And if you aren’t there to answer their questions, queries, and concerns, they’ll move on to someone who will do it readily. On the other hand, deliver all the pertinent information on a topic/problem, and you’ll get the response you’re looking for.

One of the most relevant examples here is The Poor Traveler blog. It perfectly demonstrates how you can let your readers know that they can find what they’re looking for, with you.

How to create (really) actionable content your readers will love

Source: The Poor Traveler

  • Provide REAL value to your audience

The cornerstone of actionable content is value. If your offerings help the reader solve an issue or answer their question, they’ll make sure to do exactly what you tell them to.

Your content should offer concrete advice, your unparalleled expertise, or a to-do list or guidebook that solves a problem. But even if it’s just a blog post, ensure that they enjoy reading it and connect with your content.

This way, you can establish yourself as a thought leader in your niche and get your readers to appreciate and accept your expertise on the whole.

So, in essence, content that has a sharp focus wins every time.

Let’s take this example of gated content, Backlinko:

How to create (really) actionable content your readers will love

Source: Backlinko

It offers a case study that solves a perpetual problem for businesses that want to go digital—how to rank on the first page. Here is an expert who has taken the time to explore ways of doing it right.

The fact that it’s gated content makes readers curious about what important info they’ll find inside. They’re sure to follow through on the advice in there and also respond to CTAs while they’re at it.

Also, check out these other case study examples to get more inspiration.

  • Show examples and first-hand experiences users can identify with

Sharing real-life examples that are relevant to the subject matter makes your content more believable, and that compels the reader to engage with it. In fact, real-life experiences are a great way to substantiate your actionable tips and help the reader decide on what they need to do.

A reality-based case preceded by a ‘for instance/example’ statement will help your audience engage with success stories, as long you also back them with credible sources. This way, they’re more likely to consider and follow your advice because now they’re confident that other people have also benefited from it.

For example, the success and transformation stories posted on My Fitness Pal inspired many others to get fit. They continuously share real-life stories, as well as other health and fitness-related material, to entice people to work with them and lose excess weight.

For example, one of these stories highlights the fitness journey of Kevin Nashan. Not only does this blog go into detail about Kevin’s struggles, but it also entices readers to do what Kevin did by telling them that they can get a comprehensive diet and workout plan of their own.

How to create (really) actionable content your readers will love

Source: My Fitness Pal Blog

If you want to learn more about how to write a great blog post you should read this extensive guide on blogging.

  • Use supporting media like images, videos, and animations

The value of visual content is impossible to ignore and undermine in this day and age. That’s because people process visuals more readily, understand it, and retain it easily. In fact, research shows that 65 percent of people are visual learners, making videos, infographics, carousel posts, and gifs essential parts of your content marketing strategy.

Take for example, this fantastic infographic from Copyblogger that got nearly 300,000 shares and plenty of accolades for the publisher, making them one of the biggest names in the copywriting business.

However, when you scroll all the way down on that page, you’ll see it inviting people to enroll in their Content Marketer Certification program! That’s actionable visual content at work.

Of course, you don’t need a designer these days to create stunning visuals. Check out this list of graphic design software that’s easy to use.

  • Solve a common problem

Your audience has many unanswered questions, and they need answers.

If you want them to consider you as an authority in your niche and follow every word you say, make sure your content answers their queries.

The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section can be an excellent addition to your site as it helps customers with the general concerns related to your product or service.

FATCO is one of the best examples of how to manage your FAQs in an interesting and engaging way.

How to create (really) actionable content your readers will love

Source: FATCO

  • Use interactive elements to enhance reader experience

It’s essential to hook the readers, so they don’t just skim through it. According to Buffer, 55% of your visitors spend only 15 seconds or so to read an article.

And even that is a stretch according to some marketers, as it’s no secret that the average person loses their concentration in 8 seconds flat!

However, interactive content can solve this dilemma to some extent; it compels the audience to actively participate instead of passively watching, listening, and reading.

This Maybelline ad for example, is an interactive video that has been quite effective at not only selling but also educating customers and increasing brand awareness. The result was 6 million earned impressions and more than 5 minutes of engagement per interaction!

How to create (really) actionable content your readers will love

Source: raptmedia

  • Include impressive statistics and numbers

Before you push the reader to take action, you need to substantiate your statements with facts and figures. Your content should contain hard evidence from credible sources. Also, don’t forget to cite the facts.

Furthermore, it’s a good idea to quote industry experts and thought leaders to build a relationship with the reader and gain their trust. Including statistics also makes your content more reliable, but be mindful of the accuracy and authenticity of the websites you source.

To quote Andrew Davis, Content Marketing World Speaker, “Content builds relationships. Relationships are built on trust. Trust drives revenue”. This makes it vital to maintain quality by incorporating up to date information from trustworthy sources.

How to create (really) actionable content your readers will love

Source: Andrew Davis

Conclusion

Content creators often tend to overlook and undermine the importance of actionable content. When it comes to engaging the reader, it’s a highly effective way to do so.

However, creating such content is not easy. If you incorporate these best practices, it can help you make a lasting imprint on your readers with actionable and relevant content.

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Max Benz
Max Benz is a marketing manager at Filestage and loves creating actionable content that really makes a difference. On the side, he’s running his own blog, Let’s be crazy.

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