This article is part of our series on the 4 Essential Types of Content Every Marketing Strategy Needs. Make sure to get your special free bonus at the end of the article.
And this is where all the work you’ve done as a content marketer starts translating into revenue for yourself, your clients, or your organization.
The good news is that Action content is probably the easiest type of content to understand. But the bad news is that it can also be some of the most difficult to produce.
We’ll dig into the reasons why shortly, but since we are in the habit of defining each term before we get started, let’s do that here for Action content:
Action content is content designed to get somebody to take an action.
How about that for easy?
The marriage of copywriting and content marketing
Content marketing is a new kid on the block in some ways, surging in popularity in the last five years.
In other ways, content marketing has been paired with advertising for quite some time. Take John Deere’s 118-year-old magazine, The Furrow, as an example.
The Michelin Guide, first published in 1900, is another great example of classic content marketing.
However, what I’m talking about here is the marriage between copywriting and content marketing.
A marriage between copywriting and content marketing helps you attract attention, increase engagement, and then ultimately, persuade someone to take action.
Types of actions
When you create content, you should have an action in mind that you’d like the reader to take. Actions could include, but aren’t limited to:
- Asking your readers to comment on a blog post
- Asking your readers to share an article or podcast
- Asking people to participate in a poll or survey
- Encouraging people to download a free video training course
- Persuading people to subscribe to your email newsletter
- Convincing people to follow you on social media
- Enticing people to hire you
- Getting people to buy your product
Naturally, you’ll want to start off with small requests. Get people used to taking your advice and following your instructions.
You first want people to say, “Hey, I want to pay attention to this person (or this company, or this brand) because it’s really relevant to my current challenge and the journey I’m on.”
You get people to warm up to you and trust you — step by step — until the sale, and then the repeat sale or the recurring sale.
Let’s look at some successful pieces of Action content.
Examples of Action content
The most obvious piece of Action content you will create is promotional — sales copy that you publish and run for the duration of the offer. After the sale is over, we recommend you remove the post from your site.
In addition to those two cases, your best content will combine all four types of “A” content. Here’s a stellar example: What’s the Difference Between Content Marketing and Copywriting?
What makes it so great?
- It’s useful. The headline suggests you are about to learn something important. The question-style headline also helps attract attention. People wonder whether or not they do indeed know the answer. They think, “This might be too important to miss.”
- It’s authoritative. Sonia Simone’s years of working in the copywriting and content marketing world turned what could have been a shallow answer into an extended clinic in effective writing.
- It takes a stand. The content exposes people to one of our core philosophies at Copyblogger: Really good content is unsurpassed at building rapport, delivering a sales message without feeling “salesy,” and getting potential customers to stick around.
- It’s laced with action. You might not see it at first blush, but this piece of content motivates readers to check out the educational resources Copyblogger has to offer — from the My.Copyblogger free membership site to the paid offers like Authority and Content Marketing Certification.
The success of this content wasn’t accidental. There was a plan: the content primes people for when we actually do make an offer.
How to write Action content
Writing something interesting to fill space and keep people reading won’t cut it here.
You need to pair your content with a business goal.
That’s not as complicated as it might seem, because all you have to do is ask yourself this simple question before you write each piece of content:
What is the action I want my audience to take?
Now, getting people to actually take that action requires some skill. Like I said above, this is the hardest type of content to master. It takes time to learn copywriting skills, and it also takes time to master them.
The following resources can help you:
- Copywriting 101: How to Craft Compelling Copy
- The Copyblogger Conversion Series
- How to Be a Copywriting Genius: The Brilliantly Sneaky Trick You Must Learn
- 9 Classic Must-Read Direct Response Copywriting Books
- The Ultimate Guide to No-Pain Copywriting (or, Every Copywriting Formula Ever)
- The Ultimate Copy Checklist: 51 Questions to Optimize Every Element of Your Online Copy [Free Poster]
Once you’ve worked through that list, the next best thing you can do is to practice. Write. Then write some more.
And on that note, let me close with a little encouragement.
Keep your chin up
When I first got into copywriting, I threw myself into it whole hog.
I devoured every book I could get my hands on. Tore through successful promotional pieces. Listened to a legion of cassette tapes on the art of direct response copywriting, human psychology, and negotiations — yeah, this was way before podcasts. Wrote a mountain of sales letters, emails, and text ads (and then watched mentors tear them apart).
This went on for years. I thought I knew my stuff. However, it wasn’t until about Year Five when things clicked … when I turned the corner and all that head knowledge became heart knowledge.
The moral of this short story is that if I can learn how to write Action content, so can you. But it’s going to take time. Don’t expect too much of yourself too soon. Just start learning, publishing content, measuring results, adjusting, asking for feedback, and so on.
You can do it.
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Over to you …
What’s your favorite example of Action content?
Drop us a note in the comments section below to share your thoughts.