How Action Words Support Content Marketing

Posted by

Creating and distributing quality content is essential to every company’s marketing strategy. Among content marketing’s many benefits are:

  • Building brand value and credibility;
  • Educating your target audience about your products and services;
  • Attracting more search traffic;
  • Improving search engine optimization (SEO) rankings;
  • Generating more leads; and
  • Minimizing customer acquisition costs.

As such, businesses need to nail their content assets–whether it’s their emails, within website pages, blog posts, ebooks, landing pages, or other materials. One way to create persuasive content is by keeping them action-focused.

Why Action-Focused Assets Are Essential in Content Marketing

The primary objective of content marketing is not producing as many posts as possible to generate website traffic. Ultimately, those visits must turn into conversions. 

If your posts are not converting as much as you hope, start analyzing the words you chose. 

Are your assets written in the active voice? Are you using the right words to appeal to your readers’ emotions and prompt them to immediately act on your offer?

Before diving into tips on creating conversion-oriented posts, here are some content marketing figures you must know:

  • Just by looking at the subject line, 47% of recipients open an email while 69% report it as spam. (OptinMonster)

  • 43% of people skim through posts. (HubSpot)
  • The most popular words in highly shared headlines are “list post”, “you/your,” “free/giveaway,” and “how to”. (OkDork by Noah Kagan)

How to Use Action Words to Create High-Converting Content

#1. Switch to the Active Voice

Sentences written in the active voice–that is, the subject is the one performing an action–are brief but sharp and easy to read and grasp. Compared to passive statements, active language is more energetic and engaging, keeping your readers hooked until they reach the bottom of your post. They are more effective at persuading visitors and compelling them to take action.

Source: attanatta at Flickr

#2. Create Headlines That Capture People’s Attention and Spark Curiosity 

Think about your latest online search query results or the marketing emails you opened this morning. What compelled you to click on some links and skip others, or open some marketing emails but delete the rest? 

By any chance, is it because their titles or subject lines captured your interest?

Headlines are often the first things visitors see when they look up information through search engines or browse articles in business websites. In content marketing, headlines and subject lines are your first chance to make an impression, so you need to get them right. 

Attention-grabbing headlines have three key traits: uniqueness, emotional impact, and benefit-driven.

  • Crafting Unique Headlines – To find out if your title is unique, copy it in Google’s search bar and enclose it in double quotation marks. Keep editing your headline until you come up with a persuasive title that has not been used before.

  • Using Emotional Words – Also called power words, emotional terms such as those below can influence how your readers feel, fire up their curiosity, and inspire them to take action. 

  • Highlighting Benefits – As mentioned in the statistics above, list posts are among the most shared form of content. In one of Thiam Hock’s articles, he shared a formula you can use to generate benefit-driven headlines for your list posts:

If you’re planning to use your content asset for a paid campaign or you can’t pick from several title options, run an A/B test. See which version brings in the highest engagements or conversions.

#3. Avoid Lazy Language and Too Much Word Repetition

For your content to be persuasive and concise, you need to be ruthless during editing.

  • Eliminate fillers.
  • Revise sentences that use the same term or root word twice.
  • Too much word repetition makes your content monotonous and can turn off your visitors. Instead of recycling the same words, use synonymous terms. Doing so makes your piece a livelier read and it benefits your SEO proposals too.
  • Steer clear of lazy words like “very.” Say “miserable” instead of “very sad” or “thrilled” instead of “very happy.”

Other lazy terms you must avoid are:

    • Great
    • Stuff
    • Things
    • Best

#4. Pick Words That Communicate Benefits or Value

If you want your target audience to open your email, sign up for a free trial, or buy your product, you need to give them a powerful why. You can do this by:

  • Rephrasing statements to focus on what visitors will receive. In this case study on a B2B site, the CTA “Get information” generated 38.26% higher conversions than “Order information.” While the latter focused on what readers need to do, the former highlighted the value they will get.

  • Choosing words that communicate value like this list from Business2Community:
    • Free
    • Proven
    • Lucrative
    • Unbelievable
    • Bargain
    • Double
    • Affordable
    • Convert
    • Essential
    • Detailed
    • Better
    • New
    • Remarkable
    • Professional
    • Best-Selling
    • Guaranteed
    • Unique
    • Improved
    • Tested
    • Immediately
    • Bonus
    • Easy
    • Advanced
    • Results
    • Effective
    • Massive
    • Impactful
    • Increase
    • Expert
    • Lifetime
    • Highest
    • Lowest
    • % Signs
    • $ Signs

#5. Create Scan-Friendly Content

Most web visitors are not reading your content word for word. They skim through it, looking for the information they need or picking ideas they can apply in their lives.

Below are five tips to make your content scan-friendly.

  • Keep your sentences short. Limit them to 16 words.
  • Use subheads to divide your work into sections.
  • When enumerating more than three items or tips, format them into a numbered or bulleted list.
  • Use boldface text to emphasize key points.
  • Focus on one main idea per paragraph. Make it easier to read by keeping it under six sentences long.

#6. Make Your Content Readable

Readability is all about keeping your writing simple and straightforward. Prioritizing readability makes your content more appealing and scannable to a bigger audience. When people can easily understand your message and the value you offer, they spend more time on your website, and this reduces your bounce rate

You can make your posts more readable by:

  • Choosing short words instead of terms with too many syllables
  • Using concise statements and splitting long sentences.
  • Writing in a conversational tone
  • Avoiding buzzwords and technical jargon, and using acronyms sparingly.
  • Inserting illustrations to help get your message across
  • Matching your content’s reading grade level with your buyer persona and the asset you want to publish. For instance, Content Marketing Institute keeps blog posts at a grade eight reading level (14 to 15-year olds) so more readers can appreciate these.

Use readability tools to determine your content’s grade level and receive tips on how to improve your work.


#7. Have Strong and Actionable CTAs

In CTAs (Call to actions), companies ask visitors to give their personal information (like their name, work title, and email address) or payment details in exchange for downloading a report or product. 

Increase the chances of converting your visitors into subscribers and buyers by answering this question your readers have: “What’s in it for me?”

  • Clearly state your offer or its value. Your readers must know exactly what they will get when they click on the CTA. Instead of saying “Sign Up,” write “Get your free 14-day trial.” If you are offering a discount on your product, replace “Order” with “Buy Now & Save 50%.”
  • Keep it short. Brief CTAs written in the active voice are more impactful and compelling.
  • Minimize friction. Have only one CTA per landing page to avoid confusing your visitors.  
  • Run A/B tests. Know which CTAs work best for your target buyers and conversion goals by coming up with different versions and running A/B tests. Aside from editing the wording, try different placements or button colours as well.

#8. Invite Readers to Follow You on Social Media

Once potential customers discover your company through organic or paid search, you want to have as many channels as possible to nurture their interest. 

Giving them only one option to receive updates from you–such as by joining your mailing list–limits your engagement opportunities with them. You also miss on prospects who don’t want to share their email address but are active on other platforms such as social media.

Always invite your website visitors to follow you on your social media channels. You can include these links on your website, email campaigns, or at the end of your blog posts.

These free channels allow you to attract and nurture potential customers on the platforms they’re most comfortable with. They also alert your followers regarding your latest posts, keeping them on the loop regarding new products and offers. 

Here are a few tips to boost your traffic through social media.

BONUS TIP: Sprinkle Your Content with Words That Drive Conversion

Aside from the pointers above, below are a few tips to make your posts and offers more irresistible.

  • Use persuasive and influential words like:
    • You
    • Free
    • Because
    • Instantly
    • New
    • Now
    • Improvement
    • Introducing
    • Hurry
    • Easy
    • Quick
  • Create a sense of urgency by including these phrases:
    • Limited offer
    • Only few left
    • Sale ends soon
    • Get them while they last
  • Communicate exclusivity with phrases like:
    • Exclusive offers
    • Be one of the few
    • Members only
    • Become an insider
    • Only available to subscribers
  • Guarantee safety and increase trust with statements like:
    • Authentic
    • Best-selling
    • Cancel anytime
    • No risk
    • Privacy protected
    • Certified
    • Lifetime
    • Results
    • No strings attached
    • Secure
    • Proven
    • No questions
    • Endorsed
    • Moneyback
    • Tested
  • Inspire your readers and stir their emotions using encouragement power words like:
    • Badass
    • Life-changing
    • Awe-inspiring
    • Phenomenal 
    • Celebrate
    • Prevail
    • Seize
    • Daring
    • Empower
    • Eye-opening
    • Jaw-dropping
    • Unleash
    • Unbeatable


Source: Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

The success of your content marketing strategy lies not just on the quantity of your assets but more so on their quality. Packing helpful content with action-oriented words allows you to amuse your readers even as you educate. It enables you to promote your company while genuinely assisting your prospects. Finally, it inspires them to take action and receive offers that will add value to their lives and benefit your business too.

Aaron Chichioco is the chief content officer (CCO) and one of the web designers of Design Doxa. His expertise includes not only limited to Web/mobile design and development, but digital marketing, branding, eCommerce strategy and business management tactics as well. For more information about Aaron, visit



Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.