Content marketing is one of the most important aspects of a successful business blog. Unlike other forms of marketing though, it’s flexible in its design and approach. If something isn’t working, you don’t need a team of programmers to fix it, just a different approach.
When you start a blog, you do so with a singular focus in mind. Your content should reflect that focus, but more than simply showcase elements of your niche, it should inspire your readers to take action. Today we’ll look at four ways you can boost your content marketing strategy to trigger action from your readers.
4 Ways to Make Your Content Actionable and Relatable
As content marketers, our goal is to create posts that immediately engage the reader. We want them to feel understood and valued. Ultimately, we want to give them a purpose and a plan so they can have a set of actionable steps to take.
However, too many content marketers are just pushing out content for the sake of having it available. Wade Harman put it perfectly in his post over at Convince and Convert when he said:
“Too many people create content simply because it’s Monday and they have it on their schedule to do so.”
Does that sound familiar? Does your content marketing strategy simply require you to put out content for the sake of content? How do you define a focus and generate posts that speak to your audience? Today, we’ll find out how to give your posts purpose and action.
1. Listen and Understand Your Audience
Having a schedule for your posts is great, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Instead of trying to change your schedule, try to spend the time in between pausing and listening to the people you’re trying to connect with.
If you don’t understand your audience, then you cannot be sincere in your writing. There’s a science to knowing your audience, but there’s also the simple truth of human nature.
For those who are willing to listen, we can determine our successes, our failures, our goals, and our aspirations. By knowing these things, you can write content that helps your readers be and do what they want.
That kind of value is hard to come by, and it only comes from truly understanding the people you’re writing for. Beyond this simple truth, try seeking out your readers with these simple and actionable tips:
- Create a persona of your ideal reader. Describe their demographic, their interests, and put yourself in their shoes.
- Utilize polls, surveys, and even interviews to get your answers straight from a reader.
- Look at trends on social media within your niche to find inspiration and ideas.
- Examine your competitors, always keep an eye on what they’re doing.
- Look to your comments and respond to them when people ask questions.
2. Cultivate Relationships
You simply can’t go through your career solo. Building and maintaining relationships is a key part of any successful content strategy. This comes naturally when you implement the first point.
As you listen, engage, and communicate with readers and fellow bloggers out there, you will naturally build relationships and network with people who can help you in the future. Building these alliances is about more than just having friends though. There are many ways you can create mutually beneficial scenarios if you know the right people.
- Befriending other business owners or bloggers opens up opportunities for cross-promotion
- Creating an email list allows you to utilize these relationships to send actionable content via email.
- Creating relationships with readers gives you further insight into the content they want to share.
3. Stay Grounded in Reality
This is the Internet, which means people like to pretend they’re someone or something they’re not. Creating a fake persona and overselling your brand or product ultimately ends in a disaster when your readers realize they have been lied to.
Keep expectations in check by being yourself and promoting your brand in a way that is realistic and truthful.
Providing trustworthy and credible content is the best way to gain a reader’s trust. While we’re on the subject of gaining reader trust, here are some scientifically-backed ways to increase that metric in your content:
- According to research done at Harvard’s business school, people are more likely to trust someone if they empathize and apologize for situations that are out of their control.
- Make sure your authors and writers have pictures on the blog. Not just any pictures either, make sure they’re smiling. People want to connect with the person behind the words, and they’re more likely to trust someone who is smiling.
In the end, if you want your content to connect and inspire your readers to take action, they need to feel like they know you to an extent. They can trust a person, but they won’t be so quick to trust a faceless blogger.
4. Tell a Story
We tell stories every day, even if we don’t realize it. We as humans are captivated by the structure and the relatability that a story provides. It helps us connect with a situation or with the words on a page. In the lens of content marketing, it helps us grab our reader’s attention and create an emotional spark within them.
Since most of our purchasing decisions come from personal emotions, it’s important that your content creates some kind of emotional trigger within the reader. Of course, simply telling a story isn’t all there is to it. Here are some tips for creating content that pulls your readers in and engages their basic emotions:
- Whether it’s a real person or not (don’t pretend it is), create a hero for your readers to connect with. Put them in the story and show how your brand or product affects their daily lives.
- Establish the problem or issue that your product solves. Again, putting yourself in their lives and showing how you can benefit them in certain situations, triggers emotion.
- Wrap it up with a satisfying conclusion. Depending on the action you want from your readers this could be a call-to-action for a variety of things. The main takeaway is to give them something to do once they’re done reading.
Writing content for the sake of content isn’t going to cut it in the world of content marketing. You need to provide actionable steps and give your readers reasons to take them. These tips will help you cultivate the right content both inside and outside of your blog.
What tips would you like to share? Provide your own actionable content ideas in the comments below!