You may have heard the term actionable content, referring to articles, blogs, checklists, whitepapers and other content marketing that give readers detailed, useful advice. Even if you haven’t, you can likely understand why this type of content works best to connect with SMBs. According to Bredin’s research, nearly two-thirds of SMB principals say it’s important that marketing content “provide practical advice or tips I can put to use in my business.”
At Bredin, when we think about practical and actionable, we mean that the content:
- Has a narrow focus
- Is easy to understand
- Enables a next step
- Is industry-specific, where possible
If that seems obvious, take a close look at the piece of content marketing copy nearest you, and ask yourself the following questions:
- Does it address the topics, concerns and problems in a narrow-enough way to be manageable?
- Does it only use concepts and terms I’d understand if I were new to the topic?
- After reading it, do I know what next step I need to take, and am I equipped to take it?
If you answered ‘no’ to these questions, you’re not looking at content that inspires action.
From our view at Bredin, a lot of not-quite-finished work makes its way to SMBs — work that we would have put under much closer scrutiny. In many cases, it’s either not actionable or not focused on business pain points in the way that businesses approach problem solving. Let’s take a simple example.
A generic article on finding money for your small company is less compelling than a piece that highlights specific ways to increase your chances of securing funding. SMBs won’t be able to take much action based on a content item that introduces a topic and perhaps explores it a bit, but fails to provide concrete next steps that a business can take.
When content is focused and actionable, and linked to other good pieces or product information, readers stay on your site to learn more. When content fails to deliver, readers are likely to turn to a search engine to learn more. This means you may have unintentionally driven readers into the arms of your competition.
This is all predicated, of course, on you knowing who you’re trying to reach, and what their objectives and challenges are. If you don’t know that, stay tuned. Between our recent post on using original research and the next in our series, we’ll get you writing more audience-focused copy.
Can’t wait to find out? Get in touch with Bredin with your content needs. We’d be happy to discuss them with you.