Content marketing can boost your brand’s visibility.
However, many small and mid-size organizations fail to produce effective content for successful campaigns.
Consumers get bombarded with tons of information, and the attention span of the average internet user is shrinking. The solution is “actionable” content. Here’s what it is—along with how you can use it in your next campaign:
Actionable vs. regular and interactive content
Actionable content is content that can easily be implemented by readers. An example of actionable content is a “how-to” post.
Many PR pros use “regular” content that spreads information, but doesn’t connect with a specific audience. This type of content usually makes your audience say, “Duh, that’s obvious” or, “I already knew that.” As a result, it fails to create a lasting impression.
“Interactive” content prompts action from readers with calls to action, such as registering, sharing and liking your content. Its purpose is to open a two-way communication channel with your potential customers. Google usually rewards interactive content.
“ Actionable” content not only explains what to achieve, but also tells readers how to achieve it. This type of content can attract more traffic, generate leads and produce measurable growth of conversions and revenue.
How to create actionable content
Crafting actionable content is easier said than done. It requires a well-planned content marketing strategy and it will look different across industries, niches and target audiences.
However, there are some common elements of actionable content. Here are seven ways to create it:
1. Explain how to complete tasks.
Don’t just tell readers what to do; also explain how they can do it. People often turn away from content that provides no other benefits but informing the reader of a particular product, service or issue.
Explaining how to do a task can set you apart from competitors and establish you as a resource, which creates a bond of trust.
This article explains different types of health insurance plans:
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Though informative, the article doesn’t explain how to choose the right health insurance plan. Instead, it outlines available options.
This post not only compares the available insurance plans, but also explains how to choose the right one:
The author explains the factors that one considers when purchasing a health insurance policy and breaks down the process into steps using simple language. Both articles are informative, but the second is actionable.
2. Quote famous personalities and industry experts
By not quoting personalities in your blog posts, you might miss the opportunity to increase your content’s credibility and add different viewpoints.
When you include a quote in your blog post, use quotation marks and provide a source via a hyperlink. Keep the quote exactly as it was spoken or written, unless you’re using an excerpt of a longer speech.
For example, in her post ‘11 Ways to Stay Motivated & Focused to Achieve Your Goals’, author Toria Sheffield used quotes from a motivational trainer, as well as a business advisor and popular YouTube personality. This lends credibility to her content.
3. Use visuals.
Images and videos are the easiest ways to explain your thoughts and ideas. Humans have the innate ability to readily digest visual content, compared to the textual information.
Dr. John J. Medina, a developmental molecular biologist, said that people are likely to remember only 10 percent of relayed information days later. If that information is paired with a relevant image, people can retain almost 65 percent of it three days later.
Use high-quality images, videos, screenshots, memes and graphs to clarify the accompanying text. When using images from sites such as Pixabay or YouTube, source your material.
This Kissmetrics article is an excellent example of how to use different types of media to make your content more appealing. The author used screenshots and pictures to explain several types of behavioral email marketing points:
4. Be unique.
Content marketing isn’t new, so you must be unique to get noticed.
Savvy content marketers use fresh ways to connect with target audiences on a personal level. For example, Red Bull created “Red Bulletin,” which features individuals’ adventure stories:
Nike broke away from stereotypical masculine sports messages and shared messages of female empowerment:
5. Answer common questions or concerns.
Put yourself in readers’ shoes. Google focuses on users’ search intent, and you should focus on what your audience wants to hear rather than what you have to say.
Think about problems or issues your consumers might have and address them, starting with your post’s headline. Resist the urge to write your opinions. Instead, stick with information that gives people tangible results.
The Poor Traveler blog shows how addressing readers’ questions can boost online traffic. From destination-based travel guides to the most common traveling obstacles, it covers several aspects of a budget traveler’s life:
6. Include a personal touch
Bloggers and brands have different styles and voices, but stay away from writing that feels unnatural or self-promotional. Content marketing is about developing an attachment to consumers by striking natural conversations with them.
Write as if you are having a one-on-one conversation with each reader. Use first-person pronouns, or occasionally use “I” and “we.” Respond to readers’ comments and answer questions using the same personal tone.
Kathy Patalsky’s blog reveals how a personal touch can increase engagement Patalsky shares vegan recipes, healthy habits and lifestyle advice with her readers as if she is having personal conversations with them:
7. Include real-life examples to build trust.
Engage your readers by sharing real-life success stories relevant to your topic. Actionable tips should also be backed by real-life examples and statistics, as they help your audience identify the path to the success. If they can see that others have already benefited from your advice, they are more likely to consider following it themselves.
My Fitness Pal’s blog provides health and fitness information, and readers can easily access to success stories, workout videos and examples from people who have gotten into shape:
As readers get tried-and-tested diet and exercise regimens, they keep coming back for more.