3 Keys to Writing Actionable Content for More Customer Engagement

06/14/2016 09:36 am ET | Updated Jun 14, 2016
Write actionable content—and customers will flock to you. Here's how, in three simple steps.

We can all agree that ideas are good. They stimulate conversation, get us thinking in new ways, and improve our businesses. However, there’s one type of idea that rules the roost: the actionable idea.

The only thing more powerful than content that engages your readers is content that compels your readers to take specific action.

Especially for entrepreneurs, the difference between regular ideas and actionable ones can mean everything to the success of the business. Indeed, it can have a powerful influence on bottom lines. Why? Because the more integrated your ideas become in your readers’ lives, the more integral you become to their businesses.

No matter the industry, customers value tangible results above all else. If your audience can achieve tangible results just by reading your content, you’ll earn their trust and attract their business. Here are the three keys to writing actionable content that promotes customer engagement:

1. Stop giving generic advice. The strongest pieces of content don’t just offer good advice. They also provide readers with at least one realistic action that can be implemented right away. Actionable ideas are small, manageable concepts that readers can take away from your content and apply to their real lives. These ideas are easily implemented, and directly relevant to the challenges faced by potential customers. Once readers implement your ideas and find success, they’re much more likely to seek you out for business in the future. So don't give vague, pedantic advice to your readers. Instead, focus on compelling them to take one specific action after reading your content. 

2. Show your readers exactly what to do. Turn your vague ideas into specific calls to action and you'll dramatically improve your business content. Instead of offering broad-sweep ideas on how they can improve their businesses, show them exactly what to do—today, this week, or this month—in order to improve their businesses. First, identify the desired outcome you'd like your readers to achieve. Then craft engaging, actionable tips that are clear and easy to follow.

Here are a few real-life examples of business writing that's been transformed into actionable content that does just that:

Before: Your website copy should include important information about you. After: Right now, write two paragraphs for your website that address the following information about you: education, experience, key expertise, and top accomplishments.

Before: You should prospect by phone more often.
After: Commit to making five prospecting phone calls a day for the next week.

Before: It’s important to talk to a lot of people if you want to improve your dating life.
After: Introduce yourself to ten new people this weekend to start improving your dating life right now.

3. Follow up on their actions. One of the best ways to leverage your actionable content and promote customer engagement is to follow up with your readers. It sounds simple—and it is. You can start by inviting them to reach out to you and tell you about their experiences implementing your ideas. Add a line at the end of each piece of content that asks your readers to tell you about their progress, and include your direct e-mail address. You can also utilize your e-mail list to send out "follow-ups" relating to your most recent pieces of actionable content. Survey your e-mail list by inquiring, "Who has taken action on at least one tip I shared in my blog posts last week? E-mail me and let me know!"

Which of these keys to writing actionable content did you find most useful? I'd love to know. Share below in the comments!

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