It’s great that you have a steady stream of eyeballs on your content, but what’s that really worth if readers aren’t performing some sort of action? After all, you’re not spending precious marketing dollars on content creation for nothing. Whether you’re producing blog posts, articles, white papers, eBooks, or other types of content, there should be several points of interaction—elements that persuade your audience to complete tasks that inevitably result in leads, revenue, and advocacy.
Besides producing impactful content filled with tips, advice, and ideas your readers can practically implement in the real world, here are nine more ways to create opportunities for action on your written content.
1. Create a Comment Section
Astonishingly, many business sites still lack comment sections. The writing simply draws to its conclusion with no place for readers to contribute their ideas. Besides being bizarre in an age when generating online conversation is crucial for brands, it can be highly frustrating for readers who want to make their voices heard. If you’re developing stimulating content (which you should be), be sure to provide a space where people can leave their opinions without having to publish an article of their own.
When you enable public comments, keep in mind that there are those who will want to submit their thoughts privately. Make certain you provide that option, even if it’s through your contact page or social media properties.
2. Include an Actionable Summary
Tell your readers what the next steps are. Identity specific behaviors you’ve outlined in your post—the ones your audience should carry out in order to achieve the goal of your article—and then list them in a bulleted or numbered format.
Sarah Arrow does a great job of this at the end of her SteamFeed blog post on the connection between blogging and Kindle. Not only did she follow on with a brief list of links to resources (another point of interaction), but she also included a call to action for comments. Note how she slips in a bullet point that tells readers to subscribe.
3. Incorporate Powerful Calls to Action
Actionable content drives a response. It’s your job to engage readers and move them further down the conversion funnel with a compelling call to action (CTA) that consists of a short, explicit instruction. Whether that actionable step is clicking, downloading, commenting, taking a tour, starting a trial, or signing up depends on your agenda.
HubSpot excels in this area, placing a relevant lead-capturing CTA at the end of each blog post. The beautifully designed, clickable image contains a persuasive message to take action. It’s always related to the topic the author has covered in the post, and it always leads to a gorgeous landing page where a reader’s email address and other details are captured.
4. Add Subscription Options
There are two ways visitors can subscribe to your content: RSS and email. Both can drive tons of traffic to your blog each day—traffic you can potentially nurture through a well organized marketing funnel. In the image on the left, you’ll notice that HubSpot offers both methods. Their CTA is prominently placed on the right-hand side of the blog, ensuring all new visitors have easy access to it.
The inbound marketing experts also place a CTA for blog subscription at the bottom of each post. While the CTA in the right-hand panel can be completed without leaving the page, the CTA at the end of the post leads to a landing page that allows readers to enter their email address, set the frequency of email notifications, or subscribe to their RSS feed.
Alternatively, you can go for something simple and effective like this signup form Derek Halpern at Social Triggers uses.
Besides blog posts, subscribers regularly receive helpful content, advice, and updates right to their email box. It’s all part of a wonderful content marketing machine.
5. Include Internal Links to Related Content
Internal links carry a bevy of benefits, ranging from an improvement in user-friendliness and a reduction in bounce rate to an increase in page views and a boost in link juice. Readers know you’ve put a link within your text for a reason. That link acts as a CTA, telling them you want them to click on it because there’s something relevant on the other end. Get wise about your linking strategy and use internal links within an article sparingly, but strategically.
6. Make Suggestions for Other Relevant Content
Every clickable link presents the potential for an action to take place. There’s no better way to keep readers on your site and engaged than with a list of relevant content suggestions. “Most Popular Posts,” “Related Posts,” and “Other Posts You Might Like” are just few common examples you’ll see on sites optimized for action. Available plugins and built-in options will vary depending on the content management system you use, so be sure to check them out and choose one that suits your web design needs.
7. Integrate the “Send to Kindle Button” Into Your Site or Blog
In early 2013, Amazon.com released a “Send to Kindle” Button for publishers. For content marketers, this is a great way to offer an audience convenient reading anytime, anywhere. Rushed readers who can’t enjoy your content right then and there can simply send the article directly to their Kindle for reading on the go.
If you’re a website owner, you can visit www.amazon.com/gp/sendtokindle/developers/button to generate a widget code. If you’re a WordPress blogger, you can visit http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/send-to-kindle/ to install the button.
8. Use the “Click to Tweet” Plugin or Similar Tools
“Click to Tweet” serves as a fabulous little CTA all on its own. When you have valuable insights, original data, or interesting facts scattered throughout your text, they offer an ideal opportunity to encourage promotion of your content on Twitter. Readers can quickly and easily Tweet the info to their followers, along with a link to your post.
9. Invite Readers to Share
Many readers barely take cognizance of social sharing widgets when their focus is solely on consuming information. They forget you’d like them to spread the word; share a link. Therefore, you have to remind them by inviting them to make use of those powerful little buttons. Ask people to share your post with their networks if they believe others will find it helpful.
As a final note on actionable content, users must understand the points of interaction in order to complete the task. Therefore, navigation and functionality are essential. Spend time evaluating your content for interaction points, make sure they’re clear and understandable, and then check that they work correctly. If you want readers to click on a link, subscribe, share your content, or leave a comment, then they shouldn’t have a hassle performing the task. Most importantly, ask yourself whether you’ve written something that will make people want to take action.
How do you ensure your content is actionable? Is there anything you’d add to our list? Share your thoughts in a comment.