Actionable Content: Content That Speaks Less and Does More (Guest Post)

The following is a guest post from Avinash Nair. Avinash is a Digital Marketer at E2M, one of India’s fastest growing Digital Marketing Agency committed to meeting the highest ethical standards of digital marketing strategies and drive sustainable business growth. He is responsible for SEO and Content Marketing Services. You can find him on Twitter: @AviNair52

There are thousands of companies that upload blog posts and case studies every few months. The send out press releases every time they make a minor tweak. The internet is choked, almost asphyxiated, with content that no one bothers to read. And yet, these companies keep doing it.

But there has to be a better way to do it. There has to be a way to get people interested in your content. The answer lies in making your content actionable. You have to create content that not only tells something but stirs reactions. Here are a few ways to do that.

1) Leverage Opinion Entitlement

It is a general human tendency to give opinions. When the silver-backed gorilla, Harambe, was killed at the Cincinnati zoo, everyone jumped into the discussion with their advices and opinions, including celebs like Kat McPhee, Piers Morgan and Holly Peete.

During the Brexit debate, everyone from San Francisco to Singapore had an opinion. There are many such incidences and with the power of internet, it is obvious that everyone wants to share their opinion sitting in any part of the world.

If you are a smart content marketer, you must know how to leverage this opinion. One of the simplest and the most basic forms of doing it is asking for opinion through feedback surveys like Mercola in the following example.

On a normal day, inbound.org is struggling to get marketers share their experience, tips, or knowledge. But when this post was put up, more than 200 marketers, all big names in the industries, had something to say about it. Some of these responses were of more than 200-300 words, which means they spent considerable time sharing their opinion. This is how actionable content should look like - it should have a sassy headline and must trigger a reaction and then you can sit back and watch people firing away their opinions.

There are many ways to leverage the opinion entitlement factor. You can add polls and surveys after every blog post, you can even use Twitter polls or Facebook Surveys. After every post, include a CTA which prompts readers to share their opinions and thoughts.

2) Gamify Your Content

If you are regularly posting long form articles, you might want to try adding something interesting. In this Sunday Review article, the author shares her views about uncivility at work. The article is untiringly long but to stir things up, they’ve added a quiz on ‘How Toxic Is Your Work Environment?’

MentalFloss has a random fact generator which shows facts and life hacks on their home page. This fact generator is prominently displayed on the home page. It is sponsored by Allstate. They have also sponsored an article but the article doesn’t get the same amount of attention as this fact generator.

From badges to games, from goal completion scores to interactive tools and videos, there are tons of resources to make your website more engaging and actionable.

3) Use Guerrilla Tactics

The recent influencer campaigns are all examples of disguising your ads and making them appear au naturel! Rudy Mancuso made a funny Vine where he promoted Verizon in his own inimitable way. Disguised as a funny video, Verizon Vine got 321.4K Likes, 60.7K Revines and 3,212 Comments.

The objective of using guerrilla tactic is to surprise your reader. You can do this by creating content that doesn’t take the usual route. You can surprise your reader through popups too (but by making them less annoying).

See how ChargeBee.com uses a cool popup with a great headline and cleverly disguises the core message in the example below.

4) Try Neuroscience Marketing Strategies

Neuroscience marketing or neuro-marketing has an answer to all our marketing woes.

Visitors not paying attention to your site?

Add animation videos to hijack their attention. Visitors think your product is highly priced? Drop a dollar from $500 to $499 and convert visitors to customers. These are just a few examples of neuroscience marketing in practice.

The human brain is wired to react in a certain way. Use these prejudices and biases to keep your audience engaged and inspire them to take action. From font selection to use of alliteration and rhetoric, you can hold attention of people more with the right neuro-marketing knowledge. Tap into emotions like guilt and fear and inspire them into action.

Brainfluence has over 60 chapters where the author shares ways to persuade and convince customers with neuro-marketing. These methods are not strictly for content marketing, but you can apply the basic principles while creating your marketing campaigns.

Over to you

Are you using any of these four methods to create actionable content? If not, read books and articles on marketing, find out what worked and what didn’t, understand how the human brain works and use that insight to create content that sticks.