Content can be both informative and entertaining (we call this “infotainment”). It can also give advice, or suggestions for how an audience member can constructively respond to that piece of content. This is called actionable content, and the more of it you create, the more likely your audience will be to come back for more.
Here’s how you can start putting together content your audience can apply to their own daily lives.
Have a goal for every piece of content you create
If you’re going to create content that motivates a person to take a certain action – whether that’s click on a link or change a behavior or work on a project they’ve been avoiding – it’s not the best idea to create aimlessly. You need to have a plan, so you can make sure that what you’re creating and publishing will actually be helpful.
When coming up with ideas for content, do so with a problem-solution model. Decide, as you’re starting to put it together, if it’s going to address a specific problem your audience might have. Create your own goal, in putting together that project, to help them solve that problem. The tone and overall message can be whatever you want it to be, but do it with purpose.
Give tips – A LOT of tips
There are appropriate publications and audiences for strictly informative content, and if that’s the kind of content you’re writing, you’ll know it. Otherwise, you can’t just release a stream of facts and opinions and expect a meaningful response from readers. You have to give them something to walk away with. Something they can use later, and won’t soon forget.
Make whatever tips you’re giving out as specific as possible. Use examples people can relate to and that answer common questions about the topic you’re addressing. When it comes to content creation, people want to know how to get more clicks on their posts or videos, for example. You might link them to a how-to guide, whether it’s yours or someone else’s, or give a brief SEO vs. content quality breakdown.
End with a call to action
You want people to remember what they’re supposed to get out of watching, listening or reading. An effective and widely used way to do this is by ending with a call to action, or a clear statement that tells the reader what to do next or think about in the meantime.
Some have a direct call to action at the end of their pieces, such as “subscribe for more videos like this” or “if you want to learn more, click here.” Others incorporate those statements into their conclusions more subtly. Some sprinkle several smaller call-to-actions throughout their work, or a combination of all of the above. It al depends on preference, style and purpose.
Do you struggle with creating actionable content for your audiences? Have you found an effective method that works for you? Share your struggles and triumphs in the comments! (See what I did there?)
Image courtesy of Courtney Dirks/flickr.com.