Tick Yes Blog

Tag - content creation

How to Make Your Content Actionable

Content is not a magical formula that will make your target audience find your product and then breathlessly buy from you.
The power of actionable content comes from your ability to attract the right audience, enabling them to interact with you and then to elevate that relationship to the next level i.e. for them to become a customer.
So, how do you make your content actionable? Most importantly, you must give the reader, viewer or listener a sense of how they can – and should – apply that information to their own problems and experiences.
To begin your journey towards making your content more actionable you need to start by understanding what actionable content isn’t. It’s not condescending, it’s not obvious and it’s not something your reader can easily Google and find somewhere else. Actionable content gives your reader assurance that they best know how to use the information you’re giving them.
Content, of course comes in many styles, shapes and sizes but the most important thing to remember is that it has to be useful. Check out this great example for marketers, helping them build a comprehensive strategy, step by step.
At its core, actionable content has a few key steps that give you the best possible chance of succeeding every time.
Get your story straight — create and keep a good narrative.
Good writing is essential to all content, of course. The trick to making your content actionable is taking your good writing a step further and framing a narrative for your readers.
The proof is in the science. Researchers at Washington University in St Louis found that instead of just being able to produce facts presented to them, listeners of a story were living the narrative right alongside their protagonist.
This is a powerful tool for brands who want customers to understand how their product fits into their audience’s own narrative, not just communicate what they do.
You can differentiate yourself through your voice, relatability and the delivery of useful content.
The Humane Society of Silicon Valley had this dog adopted by telling a, yes humane and entertaining story about him—shaping a narrative instead of the traditional sad angle taken by most pet adoption societies:

Here’s what some of their readers had to say:
“[I]f you’re looking for a floor-sleeping, speed bump of a dog that minds his own business, strike Eddie clean off your list.”
“Actually he’s kind of a jerk. But he’s a jerk we believe in. We’re not expecting you to want to meet him but if you must, we really can’t deter you.”
This organisation urged their readers to take action through their narrative, and accomplished their goal because of the way they framed their content.
Speak directly to your customers and prospects.
If you’re wondering how to make your audience act, look no further than those who already have. Tapping into the minds of your customers and prospects is the perfect place to start, as many of them have already taken the action you’re looking to obtain from others.
Lean on your customer service and sales teams and find out what experiences they’ve had with your current customers. What questions do they ask? What problems are they facing every day?
Directly addressing these concerns is a powerful step towards making your content actionable.
Barry Feldman of Feldman creative told Forbes how this has worked for him:
“A client asked me to give her and her staff an SEO 101 in 15 minutes. I responded with a post that did exactly that and it caught fire and became one of the biggest drivers of traffic to my site ever.” — Barry Feldman, Founder, Feldman Creative
Getting to the right pain points and questions is just the first step. To make your content actionable, you must know how to ask them what you should do next. And then do it.
Get your audience to connect with you in person, not just through an email newsletter.
The most common call to action that marketers use in their content is a mechanism to get the reader to fork over their email address. They ask prospects to sign up for an email newsletter, subscribe to a blog or possibly another content series.
If you’re looking to connect with your audience on another level, try getting them to meet you online at a specific time and place.
There, you’ll be able to interact with them directly, and create a platform that will better allow you to drive the conversation towards moving them down the funnel.
“Trish Witkowski the Chief Folding Officer at Foldrite invites website visitors to sign up for her 60 Second Super Cool Fold of the Week every Thursday afternoon. She’s set an expectation for her audience and delivered on it every single week for years. And it works.” — Andrew Davis, author of Brandscaping: Unleashing the Power of Partnerships told Forbes.
Think about promotion first.
The last step should be your first. Before you even begin writing, designing or recording, you need to think about how you’re going to get this piece of content in front of your audience.
The #1 downfall of brands when trying content marketing is producing excessively promotional content. Boring. No one (and I mean no one) wants to promote your product unless you make it relevant to them.
Start by researching different publications that your customers frequent—find out who the industry experts are and build relationships with them. Shape content that they might want to share.
Another tactic is leveraging social media listening for topic distribution. Spend a day or two on different social media groups, hashtags and topics to find where your content might fit best, or find the most traction.
The goal is to create a long-term relationship between the content creator and content consumers.
To transform your content from bland to actionable include strong narratives, direct customer/prospect feedback, in-person call to actions and a rigid distribution strategy.
Images:

bannersnack blog
Humane Society Silicon Valley

The Internet of Things

The Internet is changing – and content creators need to be prepared
 
 The term ‘the Internet of things’ has been around for a while now – since 1999, to be precise – but is only really in the mobile and social media age that it has taken on real significance.
Once upon a time, the Net was a means of transferring large amounts of content across the world. Increasingly, though, it is about connectivity – specifically, the connectivity created by millions of devices like Smartphones and tablets and more, and how that is changing the behaviour of people and our life-enhancing (and life-enabling) tools.

 
But as this report from the BBC explains, ‘the Internet of things’ puts even more onus on content creators – be they individuals or brands – to ensure that the end user (or customer) is not inundated with information that they simply do not want to receive.
 
In many ways, this development confirms the findings of last year’s exclusive Tick Yes survey, which revealed that 55 per cent of people would ‘unfollow’ a brand if it posted too much content and 56 per cent would unfollow if they found the content boring. Creating content is already a specialist proposition – and ‘the Internet of things’ is only going to make it more of one.
 

 
 
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Modernising the Archibald Prize

A venerable Aussie institution embraces modern content creation
The Archibald Prize is the biggest there is in the Australian art world. Prestige, publicity and a tasty $75,000 prize await the winner, who this year could include digital artists.
Recognising the impact technology has had on every aspect of life – including art – the prize is evolving. The Art Gallery of New South Wales’ acting director, Anne Flanagan, says: ‘I think everyone’s very conscious about the way people are dealing with all sorts of media.’
Leading the charge, and bringing a 90-year-old contest firmly into the modern era of content creation, is Vincent Fantauzzo. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that his portrait of singer Kimbra ‘includes a square QR code, akin to a bar code. Used with a smart phone, it connects viewers to an online clip of her singing in the same garb she wears in the portrait.’
Of course, critics will claim the prize’s adoption of new mediums is at odds with its founding principles. But what do you think? Should the traditional hold sway, does art, with its history of pushing the boundaries, have an obligation to adopt new content memes?
 
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Best man, better technology

How technological advances are making content creation a breeze
OK, so this is blatant advertising from Google (and the fact that, at time of writing, it has 604 likes but only 301 views is a little suss!), but this cute little vid for Google Docs for Android shows how technological advances make even the most stressful life events that little bit easier. (Assuming, of course, the best man doesn’t get horrendously drunk at the reception and vomit over the helpful tablet…)
And as far as content providers are concerned, it makes ensuring your content is relevant a breeze, giving it the best chance of engaging with your customers.

 
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The Content Debate: There is no Such Thing as an Original Idea

We argue that originality is both real and essential – online and off
To deny originality is to deny humanity. Every step of human evolution – even, thanks to Charles Darwin, the concept of human evolution – has been marked by an original idea. The use of tools, of weapons, the invention of the wheel; these weren’t merely useful fiddlings that happened to catch on in the prehistoric, pre-marketing era, these were species-defining, epoch-making ideas of unparalleled originality.
It is man’s ability to think, to conceptualise, to come up with ideas over and above and in spite of our natural instincts that sets us apart from the other animals. If it weren’t for original ideas, we’d still believe the earth was flat and the sun revolved around it. If it weren’t for original ideas, we wouldn’t have electricity, computers, cars, an 80-year life expectancy…
My colleague Bek has argued persuasively that ‘we are informed, inspired and influenced by the world around us’. And certainly many inventions and developments – including electricity, computers, cars and an 80-year life expectancy – owe much to what has gone before. Isaac Newton himself, a man often held up as the epitome of an original thinker, said: ‘If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants’.
Original content challenges the status quo
But, and here’s the rub, those giants (both before and after Newton’s time) were and are the people who can imagine what others cannot. They were the Platos, the Archimedeses, the Copernicuses, the Gallileos, the da Vincis, the Mozarts, the Shakespeares, the Darwins, the Marxes, the Einsteins, the Lennons, the Berners-Lees, the Jobses… They are people who push boundaries, who challenge the status quo, who are not afraid to fail. Remarkable people, all of them, but people none the less.
Originality and inspiration comes from within, not without. The notion that the cure for cancer is floating around some cosmic ideas pool just waiting to be accessed is both comforting and cruel. Because if that is the case, presumably that ideas pool can be accessed by anything with a consciousness. And it would be both unfair and pointless if an amoeba plucked it out of the ether.

Original thought is a human trait, but not everyone is capable of it. Or, at least, not everyone is willing to stand out from the crowd, risking ridicule or abuse or even death, for espousing original ideas. Which is what makes original thinkers so remarkable and so important.
Online content has become unoriginal
Genuine originality – as opposed to Lady Gaga contrived originality – can shock, scare, attract and repel, but it always fascinates. For all its strengths, the Internet’s global accessibility and interactivity has homogenised the ideas process, which is perhaps why Bek doubts the existence of original thought.
But let’s not forget that the Internet itself sprang from an original idea, which surely means, then, that the issue is not the perceived absence of online originality, but the fact that the Net is not utilising and promoting originality to maximum effect, so that everything from ideas to companies can stand out from the crowd.
Global warming, peak oil, international inequality… these are all the by-products of original ideas thought up and worked on by humans. It will take more original ideas to find the solutions to them. Both online and off, originality is not only real, it’s essential.
To read the other side of the debate, click here.
 
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Image: h.koppdelaney & www.ideiademarketing.com.br
 

The Content Debate: There is No Such Thing as an Original Idea (part 2)

The other side of the argument is that all content producers are simply tapping into the universal content consciousness
There’s no such thing as an original idea these days. In fact – there never has been, but the ubiquity of social media and the saturation of content in our lives make it truer now than ever. We are so informed, inspired and influenced by the world around us that creativity is simultaneously owned by everyone and no-one.
Bloggers, journalists and other social commentators will have experienced the phenomenon of moving in a common direction or exploring ‘new’ ideas at the same time as their peers to produce content that reflects similar concepts.
This isn’t plagiarism. It isn’t copying. It isn’t even derivative. It is simply an example of content producers tapping into the global inspiration pool – or, to put it another way, the universal content consciousness that exists everywhere at all times. Far from trying to reject this metaphysical library of ideas (which is impossible in any case), people are finding new ways to share and access it.
We’re willingly uploading inspiration in more ways than ever before, fuelled by the possibilities afforded us by social media. Here are two examples of websites that help you embrace it.

Pinterest
Pinterest is a fascinating website with a great concept behind it. If you’re someone who loves coming across inspiring or thought-provoking content online, Pinterest is the site for you.
Developed with inspiration in mind, the creators of Pinterest encourage us to ‘think of [the site] as a virtual pinboard – a place where you can create collections of things you love and “follow” collections created by people with great taste.’
Basically, Pinterest is like a visual Twitter, where you can share images you find beautiful or meaningful and watch as others do the same. It’s a brilliant way to collect the things that plant the seeds of inspiration all in one place, where you can access them when you’re in need.
Wridea
Ideas are funny visitors. They arrive at the most inopportune times… like when we’re in the shower with no pen, or when we’re about to fall asleep and can’t muster up the energy to jump out of bed and tackle them head on.
Elizabeth Gilbert, in a TED Talk ‘A New Way to Think About Creativity’ expanded on the concept of ideas being fleeting, momentary visitors, and content producers such as poets and musicians and artists simply being the earthly vessel to get them heard.
 

Whether or not you subscribe to this view, it’s fact that ideas come and go. Wridea is a website that could put an end to this particular problem Described as a ‘free online idea management and collaboration service’ (don’t you just love the concept?), Wridea lets you record fleeting thoughts and inspiration and organise ideas by keyword or category. It also allows you to ask for help and join collaborations.
Memories fail us and are unreliable. With Wridea, all the brilliance that visits you momentarily can be instantly recorded for later use (and yes, it is available in app form), which means now your only obstacle to greatness will be figuring out how to take your iPhone in the shower with you…
•    The counter-argument will be posted in the next post.

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