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Make Your Blog a Call to Action?!

Yesterday’s posts here at ProBlogger (Better Buttons Part 1 and Part 2) looked at the question of driving readers to take action on our blogs. Whether we blog for profit or pleasure, for most, reader action is an extremely important part of blogging. We need readers to action if we hope to:

  • build a communtiy
  • create loyalty
  • use organic techniques to find readers
  • and more.

On the most basic level, we want that first-time visitor to our blog to click to another page on our blog, rather than hit the browser’s Back button. And everything else flows from there.

The strongest call to action is…

I’ve found time and again as I’ve built blogs that the strongest “call to action” is … content. Not in the content, but the content itself.

The most loyal followers my blogs have are those who have been helped somehow, as individuals, by the content of those blogs. They’re people who read a post, and felt compelled either to act on it immediately, there and then, or to bookmark it so they could implement the advice later.

That kind of content is its own call to action. As bloggers, our role is to educate and/or inspire—at least some of the time. Content that is itself a call to action so strong that readers can’t resist is ideal. Because when your content is so strong that people will stop what they’re doing to implement it, you have a huge opportunity to engage readers.

What makes CTA content?

Call-to-action content has a few common characteristics:

  • It’s extremely practical (so it lends itself to action).
  • It makes the benefits of taking action clear.
  • It meets a real need in the audience.
  • It’s clear enough that anyone in your target readership can see how to implement it just by reading the post.

To give your content an even stronger call to action, you could:

  • Do it yourself first: Be the guinea pig, and report what you experience, and your readers will be much more likely to give your advice a try.
  • Add accountability: The show-and-tell-style post is a great way to build accountability into your content. If you make readers accountable, they’re more likely to heed the call to action.
  • Make it a process: By breaking up your call to action into a process, you can hook readers into responding to a series of calls to action over a period of time—something that can build familiarity and loyalty, as well as satisfaction.
  • Recognise those who respond: Making a point of recognising those readers who publicly respond to your call to action can help you to foster a culture of response around your blog, within your community. Tie this into the accountability idea above, and double your impact.

These are just a few ideas—I’d love to hear some of yours in the comments. But the point is that if you want to create an active community around your blog, you may need to consider your blog as a call to action.

People who find the content on my blogs so useful that they can’t walk away without trying it are definitely the blogs’ biggest fans. Do you find the same is true for your blog?

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Slavko says:

    So true. If the content is useful then it is the call to action itself.
    And what you say about acting even with delay (bookmarking and reading later) is true too. At least for me. I’ve bookmarked so many posts (tons of them from this site :) and acted upon them later on (sometimes even month or so).

    Giving a clear step by step homework is probably what ignites action the most, and if we are talking about discussion developing between readers, then it’s best I guess to encourage them to share their opinion on the matter, or give alternate or similar approach.

    • Yes … to start with any call to action post, you need to pick such topic on which people are eager to know or confuse about that.

      I would like to divide this into 4 simple steps –

      1) Pick a topic which is less defined and many people wants to know in detail.
      2) Define such topic in simple terms …
      3) Take one practical example (which will go along with your post and for future growth as well).
      4) Form a place where your readers can update their status and you also yours.

  2. I love this Darren. I’ve found over the last few years I’ve been doing this without knowing exactly why. The why has come after the fact and continues to come from readers who tell me they genuinely appreciate and value the advice I share. Not only is this building my readership but it’s giving me immeasurable personal satifaction that I’m helping people.

  3. Hi Darren

    Thanks for the excellent post. It was really useful in terms of the learning. Yes compelling content and a definite call to action forms the base of any successful blog. I run my blog on personal finance topics and at the end of every post of mine, there is a bulleted list of call to action. Though I have just started out and don’t have a very great experience of people responding back with their stories, I am willing to work up on my content and CTA to get desired results.

    Thanks again for the post!

  4. If you do make your post into a call to action but not for any features on your website but action that the reader wants to perform then they will progress further on your advice hense they will want to return for more high quality advice. The reason I return to problogger!

  5. Dan Ang says:

    Hi Darren, this is a great post. I’m still starting out on this. So your article comes at a great time. *thumbs up* :)

    Regards,
    Dan

  6. Darren, that’s amazing! All this time I’d been focusing on a call to action as something that’s done in order to “sell” something. But you’re right. If your post and your entire blog is one big massive CTA,you stand a far better chance of growing your community.

  7. Kenny Fabre says:

    Darren

    I believe “It meets a real need in the audience.” will get the readers moving, because article like that would have obviously given great value so the reader will be much more likely to take the action

  8. This is delightful, Darren–I especially appreciated “The most loyal followers my blogs have are those who have been helped somehow, as individuals, by the content of those blogs.” I know as a reader, I most enjoy the content that’s really practical, that I can put into action right away. The stuff that’s motivational is nice, but sometimes it can feel a bit like cotton candy, and for me, I really remember the stuff I’ve actually used, and, like you say, I’m definitely more loyal to those writers who regularly write in a way that gives me something actionable.

  9. I definitely agree content is key. I find it a bit hard to get the community portion going. With commenting, social media and other work, it’s so time consuming and I haven’t found the best way to managing it all.

  10. I like the idea of doing it yourself first and that is the foundation upon which I’m building my blog. I blog about what I know and have experienced and when it’s something I don’t really know about, I go find out and report my findings. It is important to be both a teacher and student. Authenticity is the name of the blogging game.

  11. I just started today with building the framework for a call to action – subscribing. I guess that is breaking the CTA into a process.

    I am still experimenting here, but have chosen to offer subscribers access to cash giveaways that require very little work on their part. So many sites do contest where they want to upload you into their Rafflecopter and have you fly the bird.

    I don’t sell anything so all I have is content, but every day people return, so I think I’m on the right track.

  12. Dean says:

    Darren,

    I’m a big believer in paying it forward. When I was growing-up in the online world about 10 years ago, it was hard finding reliable evaluation of digital and other media products that purported to “help” the Internet entrepreneur. When I found something it was usually a “review” followed by a pitch and hard sell.

    It became painfully obvious most of these affiliates didn’t even know what was inside the box let alone tried using it themselves. I eventually found one or two who did open the box before trying to pass it off as gods gift. It occurred to me that that is a great business model: sell only what you know to work through personal experience. I may make less, but I will not affiliate with anything or one that I have not first tried myself.

    That’s my CTA: I’ll stub my toe first so you can avoid that obstacle.

    Thanks, Darren!

    Dean

  13. Daniel Roach says:

    The be your own guinea pig point is so true. It seems like the most ineffective content is the type that’s regurgitated from someone else, or based on theory. It’s when a blogger says “Look what I did. Look what it did for me.” That’s when readers really perk up and pay attention.

  14. Birgit says:

    You describe the essence of a great blog: A place to get advice to do/change something in a certain field.
    It is very rewarding to get posts from faraway places, telling you how you helped someone do a certain thing better or do it for the first time.
    My followers expect CTA, else I wouldn’t have any followers;-)

  15. Jemie says:

    Hello Darren,

    It’s really love this post. Yeah, the content is always important.

  16. Katyaru says:

    Hi Darren!

    The post’s great and very useful too. All you’ve tell is the truest true!
    But even if one knows how to make smth, he can break his head to realize what exactly to make:) As to me this’s the biggest problem of modern blogging. Thousands and thousands same themes, same words, same blogs…

  17. Tim Anderson says:

    The idea of ‘call-to-action’ is not just endorsing people to click links and buy our product. It is beyond that.

    A content that really persuasive are always become ‘call-to-action’ strategy. People will more likely to take action once they perceived our content.

    That is why I really love your idea Darren. The ‘call-to-action’ is always in the content itself. ;)

  18. I’ve found that using videos when I’m reviewing products has a fantastic impact. Although I mostly review books and pet products, my sincerity shines through in a video a lot easier than it does in written word.

    Plus, when it comes to products, it’s nice to see what people are talking about. Images do a great job, but video does a little better.

    My favorite How To posts are the videos that show me step by step how to do something with my WordPress blogs – they’re a life saver!

    Kimberly

  19. Cece says:

    Thanks Darren. We’ve just begun our blog so the ideas you mentioned here are very helpful.

  20. Daniel says:

    A lot of sites do have a “Call to Action” as the underlying theme of their site.

    They tend to mix it up, throwing in a few reminders to readers to keep to it in applying what is being learned. It could also doubly act as a motivator(and reminder) for the author to not stray too far from their original intent(To help others).

  21. The most powerful call to action is the content you write Darren.

    Add value, become valuable.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Ryan

  22. Lorna says:

    Thanks for this post Darren, this is something that we are not good at but will have in mind when creating our new posts

  23. Veer Modi says:

    Absolutely Right. Making a blog call to action is wise task to move on. Every blogger must think over this points. The points you shared do it your self and recognize who respond are the best tips. Thanks for sharing, Darren.

  24. Jericho says:

    I love the way you put it-”…content. Not in the content, but the content itself.” You’ve made it clear that Content is the most important part of the post is the content itself.

    When the reader found out that what he is reading will be helpful to him, he’ll surely become a fan of the blog. As natural with people, if something will be of help to us, we felt that we have to return again and again to that particular site. Of course, once he implemented what he just learned, and found out that it’s really helpful, the more he will become a fan of the site.He will even recommend it to his friends.

    Thanks for coming up with posts like this.

  25. liukman says:

    I like it Darren, hope I always can make inspired article like yours at mine

  26. Stuart says:

    This is exactly what i am trying to accomplish with my new blog. I want to provide them with my journey and have a place where there can be a community of people helping each other.

    Lets hope we call all accomplish our dreams of a great blog.

    Stu

  27. Darren, I think the success of your call to action largely comes down to what you are offering and how you are offering it. If you are in the “affiliate marketing” or “make money online” niche it is easier to get subscribers on board if you can add words like “step-by-step”, “blueprint”, “exact strategy” instead of a broad report on a topic.

  28. Great content here. Glad to be following your feed now. I don’t want to miss anything.

  29. american academy of pediatric dentistry says:

    Hello, I enjoy your weblog. Is there something I can do to obtain updates like a subscription or something? I’m sorry I am not familiar with RSS?