How to create “how-to” content
Hell yea, you made it.
This is the final post in a three-part series on creating content that breaks through the noise and motivates people to share.
If this is your first time reading CSR (what’s up?!), this post will land, but I suggest skimming part 1 and part 2 so you’re caught up.)
This week we’re dissecting actionable content.
Actionable content helps your reader solve a problem.
And readers LOVE it.
But for some reason actionable content is underproduced.
Not enough content creators think about what their audience can actually do with the great information they provide. They often think that outlining a problem is enough, but it’s not.
Truly actionable content gives your reader a quick win.
Here’s the formula:
Insight + how to = actionable content
And here’s an example:
Insight = We’ve discovered that the most effective cold email call-to-action (CTA) asks for interest instead of time to meet (source: Gong).
How-to = If you want to book more meetings, ask prospects, “Are you interested in discussing [topic]?” instead of, “Do you have 30 minutes to meet?”
Now the reader knows what to do and how to do it.
Boom shakalaka! Mission accomplished.
If I had dropped the how-to content bomb on its own, my reader wouldn’t have understood what problem it addressed or how to avoid using ineffective tactics in the future.
And if I had outlined the insight without something deeply actionable, then reader’s are left thinking, “So what?”
Providing both pieces of the formula is essential if you want to get to, “Damn, that’s good! I’m gonna share it.”
Here are four easy ways to provide the how-to element:
- Include concrete examples of the idea or topic you’re discussing
- Describe a “solve” — a unique way to make the reader’s life easier
- Give people a quick step-by-step guide (like the one you're reading right now)
- Provide some copy/paste text they can use in their own work
Remember, actionable content is shareable content.
And when you give folks something worthwhile, they’ll keep comin’ back for more.
Holler at you next Saturday,
Content on content
Every now and then I share content about content. Might be something I’m reading or something that inspired me. It just might give you a lift too.
Here’s a sweeeet content checklist that Lynette created after hearing my formula for content that breaks through the noise on the ‘Millennial Marketers’ podcast. Print this thing out before the next time you hit Publish (or save a tree and leave it on your desktop for easy reference).