Creating Actionable Content & Why Yours Should Be

You may not think it, but people like to be told what to do.  Its one reason why people buy solutions to problems and just the education to solve them. As bloggers, we are usually asking, telling, or informing our readers to do something. No matter what it is specifically, we want them to take some type of action when the content we publish. If you blog for your business, it is especially important to create actionable content, because its how you will educate readers on what you do and encourage them to work with you in doing so.

Creating Actionable Content & Why Yours Should Be | BlissandFaith.com

Creating actionable content is one of the many ways in which you can build community, because in being actionable, you are making it easy for your audience to communicate with you and amongst each other. When content is actionable, it gets people’s wheels turning and gives them something to not only think about, but talk about.

I’m going to be sharing with you some of the many ways I’ve been able to grow my readership and engagement by creating actionable content. I’ve seen a substantial increase in my traffic, as well as starting more conversations in my space, building community, and driving the results to accomplish my business goal. I want for the content I put out to help others, and in turn it gives me all the more reason to create more. Here’s how you can do it too:

1.  Ask questions throughout your posts.

I do this in nearly every post I publish. Its one of the main ways I invite readers to start a conversation with me and respond to what I’m writing. Its also a way to get reader’s wheels turning, and have them thinking about what you’re informing them on. By doing so, it prompts them to ask more questions, seek clarification if need be, or offer suggestions that would supplement the information in the post.

2.  Position call-to-actions in various places throughout your site.

Recently, I’ve added several new call-to-actions to my site. I’ve done so for a specific reason, and that is to invite readers to join my tribe. Previously, I never realized how important it was to have multiple call-to-actions throughout my site, but it really is in terms of building community. I’ve placed these call-to-actions in pretty much every place that someone’s eyes could land when they visit my site. When it came to placement, I had to put myself in the visitor’s shoes and think about where the most noticeable or best places I could put these call-to-actions, so that they could be easily accessed. If you notice, I have one at the top of my site, on my homepage, in my sidebar, after posts, and even a slide out widget that appears once someone scrolls down a certain percentage of the page. In addition, I have a specific page dedicated to joining my newsletter.

Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 6.45.19 PM

When you invite others to become a part of your community, they shouldn’t have a hard time finding out how to do so. If you make it easy for them, they are that much more apt to join. It also sends the message that you are open and  want them to be a part of your community. All to often, I’ve visited sites that had amazing content, and because of that I wanted to sign up for their mailing this or follow them on social media and couldn’t find any means to do so. I was left with the impression that engagement and community wasn’t important to the site owner. Needless to say, I don’t typically return to sites like that, because they don’t foster genuinely helping or caring about their audience.

3.  Create unique, engaging and eye-catching graphics to go along with your posts.

One of my absolute favorite parts of publishing posts, next to writing them is creating engaging graphics for each of my posts. If you notice, I’ve recently updated all of my post graphics on published posts since my rebrand. Even after my rebrand I still didn’t have branded post graphics that I was 100% happy with. It took a few revisions until I finally settled on the post graphic I have now. In creating it, I aimed for something that was reminiscent of my brand and that has bold elements that could be easily recognizable as Bliss & Faith. My post graphics don’t look like those of anyone else’s (which I see all too often in my niche) and they are versatile, while still staying true to my aesthetic. I’ve noticed a significant uptake in my referrals from Pinterest, which I attribute to my new post graphic.

Check out the before and after:

How to Set Effective Goals & Get Things Done | BlissandFaith.com

Before

How to Ramp Up Engagement on Your Site | BlissandFaith.com

After

As you can see, the new image is much for streamlined and branded. I keep with some of the same elements, but changed some to make the headline pop and to take away some of the emphasis on the image behind the text. Additionally, I can use the same template whether I’m using a stock image or not. This allows me to have variety in my post graphics, without straying from or sacrificing the branded elements of it. Here’s a few examples of how I use my same template without using stock photography backgrounds:

4.  Offer content upgrades, such as guides, workbooks, etc.

Giving away supplementary products, such as a downloable,  to go along with your posts shows your readers that you’ve gone the extra mile for them. Even better, when you give them a way for free you show your readers that you care about them and that helping them is your main priority. When people feel as if they’re being put first, it gives them more of a reason to share your content, getting the word out there to others, expanding your reach. Now the conversation does just start and end with them, but with their followers and audience as well. These content upgrades also allow a way for people to hold on to your content forever.  It is one reason why its so important that they also be branded, so that when people go to utilize them they remember where they came from. This reason alone is why I decided to offer to branded content upgrade creation in my new graphic design service offerings.

I’ve seen the results myself of offering content upgrades, but know that not everyone has the time, resources, and even creative juices to create them. Offering a little something extra for your readers can make a world of difference, because you will no doubt build your community from them being appreciative. Its the give and take that starts with you and ends with them. You can find a few of the content upgrades I’ve created recently in the following posts:

5.  Let your readers know how your content is specifically benefitting them.

Creating Actionable Content & Why Yours Should Be | BlissandFaith.comIt’s easy to assume that people really know and understand why you are publishing the content you publish. However, many times they don’t and may utilize your content to its full capacity. Things also get lost in translation, because people have different perspectives and could potentially process your content from a completely opposite angle than what you intended. When you tell readers the exact purpose of your content and how its meant to benefit them, it mitigates the possibility for it to be used or understood incorrectly.

It comes down to be detailed and precise in your content, and thinking simplistically about the presentation of it. Tell readers how to content benefits them, not just putting it out there as mere facts. People like explanations for how things work, so the better you offer them, the more use they get out of them. Don’t just present an answer, but break it down and explain benefit of it. When you come through on the promise of the headline it makes you an authority on the subject and builds trust that you’re an expert on the topic. Its one goal that I aim to accomplish with each post, because its important for people to trust and believe in what I publish. I want to be seen as an expert and resource with the content I put out, so in letting my readers know exactly how it benefits them positions me to be exactly that.

6.  Invite your audience to participate in a challenge with you.

I love a good challenge, because it combines so many of the awesomeness that is interacting with your audience. You not only allow them to hold you accountable in doing the challenge, but vice versa. Whether you’ve created the challenge yourself or just participating in someone else’s, you provide a way for your audience to check in with you and hold themselves and you accountable. They feel like they are going through everything right there with you, further fostering the community aspect of your space.

If you decide to put a challenge on yourself, you make a way for readers to invite you into their inboxes, building your list. You can send out daily or weekly accountability checks, give tips on how to be successful in doing the challenge, or send over motivation and inspiration throughout the time of the challenge. When you do this, its let’s those participating know that you really care about them. Furthermore, you are opening the doors to direct communication, because you can discuss the challenge specifically with them one-on-one (via email) or in a group setting (via social media).

Here’s a few of the challenges I’ve participated in lately:

7.  Create a series that your audience can submit to and follow along with.

Series, much like challenges are a direct way to get your audience involved and following along with the content you’re publishing. The great thing about series is that you can have them go on for an unlimited time, so people are always able to join in following along with it. For instance, my Why Design Matters series is one that allows readers to submit their blogs for design feedback and reviews on a monthly basis. Its beneficial to not only those who submit, but also to those who read the posts and see the feedback. I invite readers to give their feedback on sites I review within the series. Series also allows for a lot of versatility, because you can post them weekly, monthly, or even quarterly and excitement is built during the times in between. Your readers will be looking for updates on the series or to submit to it, as well as spreading the word about it.

8.  Start a hashtag for your content to share on social media.

Hashtags start the party, and because people are naturally curious when they see a new one pop up they can help but to check it out. This drives traffic to your site and allows for those outside of your niche and community to learn about you. Asking your readers to share your content using a hashtag also makes them feel like that are directly involved in the movement. Its a way to link everyone to a particular post, series, or challenge and creates a real sense of community and excitement.

Everyone loves to be a part of something, and sharing content using a hashtag fosters this. It also makes it easy for others to follow along and see how things are progressing with whatever content is being shared. A prime example is if you are putting on a challenge, and have a hashtag for it, those in the challenge can search the hashtag and see who else is participating in the challenge and what they have to say about it. People are constantly updating their social media accounts, because they want their following to know what they’re doing. If they’re using your hashtag its pretty much free promotion for whatever content the hashtag is linked to and anyone can run across it at any time.

9.  Broadcast a webinar so that your audience can directly interact with you.

Webinars are the new Jan Brady (Brady Bunch movie reference if you’re a kid of the 90s like me) right now.  They are one of the most effective ways to ask your audience to do something. In exchange for their time you are going over a specific and beneficial topic relevant to them. They wouldn’t be in attendance if it weren’t. The best thing about a webinar is that they are getting quality FaceTime with you (if its live and they can actually see you) and people love being able to directly interact with those they are learning something from. If you are promoting or selling a product or service, conducting a webinar is one of the easiest ways to get the word out about and make instant sells.

The reason being is because you have an entire audience’s undivided attention (for the most part) with open and willing ears, because they are looking to learn. It is prime time to ask them to participate in or purchase something, as long as you give them a specific reason for how it can help them or make their lives better. Its much easier to pose questions or pitches in this format, because people are already happy to see and interact with you. In addition, they are hearing all the details from the horses mouth, so you have ample opportunity to build trust and sell them on your idea.

10.  Be responsive and reply to questions and comments across platforms.

In every post you publish, you should be inviting readers to comment. However, if you ask people to comment or interact with you on social media, its essential that you respond (even if its not immediate). The more you respond, the more people will continue to interact with you and can get to know you. As visitors to your site or social media accounts see that you respond, they will be more likely to initial communication with you. If you don’t invite or ask people to comment, they probably won’t. With that being said, if they see that you don’t respond they are less likely to interact as well.

Creating Actionable Content & Why Yours Should Be | BlissandFaith.comPeople really appreciate you taking the time to respond back, especially if they know you are busy (which we all are!). It sends the message that you value them and that you are humble. It also increases your engagement and makes your site more welcoming because readers can see that others are visiting and that there’s a conversation going. Same thing with social media, because many people will take a gander through your profile to check you out and see how you interact with you following. Most people that frequently interact with their following, tend to grow even larger following, because people feel as if they can get to know you a bit more on that platform.

Whether its on my blog, Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter I try to be diligent about responding. I carve out a few times a week to go through all of my platforms and respond to those who have shared my content or commented on it. On Twitter specifically, I always retweet when someone has shared my content and I thank them personally. Not only is my content getting shared again by me, I’m opening to doors of communication to the person who shared it. It lets them know I’m grateful and that them sharing my is something that I value.

 


Your content being actionable is essential to increasing engagement, building community, and having you be seen as an authority on what you write on. Asking people to be a part of it and share it allows them to see this in you. The fact that you want people to share your content also shows that you are confident in it, and people are more likely to share what they feel someone has expertise in and authority on.

How do you foster your readers and followers taking action with you content? – What are some of your favorite ways to do so?

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