Does your current content strategy consist of throwing random words onto the screen and clicking the publish button? Or do you actively seek out ways to make your content engaging and interactive? The truth is that most of today’s content marketers are more focused on word counts than they are on developing actionable content.
Boring Content Doesn’t Cut It
Millions of words of new content are published on an hourly basis. If you think that you’re going to attack this firehouse of content by writing more, you’re mistaken. In order for your content to deliver any sort of positive return, you have to prioritize quality over quantity.
When people come across your content, do they merely look at it and skim over the main points, or do they fully engage with it and extract value from it? Most businesses, if they’re honest with themselves, don’t have content that moves people to action. Instead, their content merely fills space. In 2017, you’re asking for trouble if your content is merely fluffy filler.
5 Tips for Making Your Content More Actionable
As the term suggests, actionable content is any sort of content that moves people to do something. More specifically, it’s content – whether in written, visual, or auditory form – that encourages people to follow through with a particular “call to action.” If you’re struggling to get people to take desired actions, then you’re falling short.
Here are a few specific tips for making your content more actionable in the future.
1. Use Interactive Tools
Interactive tools consistently rank as some of the most effective types of actionable content. An interactive tool is any piece of content that allows the user to manipulate in real-time to achieve some sort of customized results. A student loan consolidation calculator – such as the ones highlighted in this article – is a good example. As are these interactive infographics, which put users in control of what information is displayed.
It’s usually fairly expensive to create an interactive tool, unless you already have the right people and tools on your team. But the good thing about interactive content is that it continues to deliver a high return for months (and even years) down the road.
2. Provide Action Steps
Content can’t be actionable if the reader doesn’t understand what’s happening. Instead of assuming that they’re going to process your content and do something, be overt about it. Provide very specific action steps that guide them along.
For example, let’s say that you’re writing an article about building your own table out of wood. Instead of just showing pictures and providing a list of the materials needed, it’s helpful to have a section that tells the reader exactly what to do – i.e. go to the store and buy these items; use these specific tools; start with this step; etc. It may feel like you’re insulting your audience’s intelligence by telling them what to do, but that’s rarely the way it comes across from a reader’s perspective.
3. Ask for Feedback
People want to know that their opinions matter. As you create an actionable content marketing strategy, make sure you’re regularly asking for customer feedback and implementing some of the suggestions they provide you with.
The best way to ask for feedback is to encourage readers to post their thoughts and questions in the comment section. Not only does this give you a chance to interact with them, but it also adds some SEO value to your content. Blogger Jeff Goins has some good advice on this topic.
4. Use Examples and Statistics
If you’ve ever listened to a lecture, keynote speech, or sermon, then you know how effective real life examples are. They serve as a momentary break from the normal and have a way of bringing theoretical concepts to life.
Whenever possible, include a “for example” statement after any fact you include in a piece of content. This will help you engage and convert a far greater percentage of your audience.
5. Visuals are Powerful
Finally, don’t underestimate the value of visuals. While textual content still has a place in content marketing, video, infographics, memes, and other visuals are incredibly powerful. Considering that the brain processes visuals 60,000-times faster than text, it’s no wonder that more and more marketers are turning towards graphics in place of dense paragraphs. Find a way to develop more visuals and you’ll find that your audience is much more engaged.
Breathe Life Into Your Content
Stale content isn’t just boring – it’s ineffective. Instead of trying to fill up space and write massive blog posts or ebooks just for the sake of writing “more,” start breathing life into your content by making it more actionable. As you’ll soon realize, actionable content is mutually beneficial.