There are plenty of posts that are written without a call to action.
And when you mention this to the blog author, their eyes widen when realisation kicks in. They’ve all heard about a call to action, and yet they didn’t think about adding one to their post.
The basic need to get your message across in your fabulous content overshadows any concept of asking your readers to help you make this post more of a success. And yet all it needs is a little bit more at the end…
This Infographic explains a lot more about the call to action, why you should have one and what a difference it can make:
And here’s some code you could paste into your own posts (via the text mode) if you want to share this Infographic with your readers.
Never make assumptions
All a reader really wants to do is to read your post. And your first focus is to make sure they enjoy it, and that is it suitably satisfactory for them.
However, this is all they will do unless you tell them otherwise. The ordinary, common-and-garden reader won’t have the nonce to think what else they can do to make it a better deal for you.
So never assume any reader will understand what to do next. They aren’t blessed with the powers of clairvoyancy and the ability to read your mind. They have to be told.
Tell them what to do
Not only do you have to give them specific instructions, but they need to understand why, and how it can benefit them as well as you.
Not every reader will have altruistic tendencies. It is perfectly normal for a reader to consider what is in it for them if they do decide to respond to your call to action.
So any request you make at the end of your posts should benefit your readers just as much as it would be good for you.
Ask a question
Why not ask for a comment at the end of your posts? This is a very simple request, and the best way to do is is to offer a question that relates to the post’s subject matter.
This question could be designed to get your readers thinking. Examples are: “What else could you provide to add to the post?” “Is there anything missing from my list?” “What is your opinion on this?” “Do you agree with my point of view?”
However, this question needs to be open ended, something that isn’t answerable with a yes or no. This will encourage a much more applicable and relevant answer that is worth accepting and reading.
Ask them to share
Another simple call to action is to ask your readers to simply share your post. The majority of them will be connected to social media, so they can easily choose which one they prefer.
Even though you have have highly visible and colourful social sharing buttons at the bottom of your post, not every reader may be inclined to use them. But a small reminder may make a difference.
Sharing is beneficial to everyone. You get your posts seen by a bigger audience. They are perceived to be widely-read and willing to share valuable content with their followers.
Can they relate to you?
If you are going to convince your readers to respond appropriately to your call to action, they need to understand why. They also need to be able to relate to your request and feel a desire to do so.
Therefore your post needs to be able to relate to your readers. This will encourage them to take on a more positive role. Having an affinity with the subject and your point of view will make it easier for them to comment and provide feedback.
It is so important for your readers and followers to be able to relate to you, and appreciate the relevance of what you write about. This gives them a sense of connection and sense of belonging.
Show your humanity
One of the ways of getting your readers to relate to you and what you have written is by revealing your human side. Show them you are just like them. This will make them feel more comfortable with your blog.
Part of this humanity is through the style of your writing. I’ve said before about the importance of using a conversational style. This humanises your posts and brings your writing down to your readers’ eye-level.
Think of the kind of words you use, as ideally they should be the same that your readers would use. Give them a reason to have an affinity with you and your blog, and this will help towards a more positive response to your call to action.
What’s in it for them?
Persuasion goes hand in hand with beneficial results. If you want your readers to regularly react favourably to your call to actions, you need to give them a valid reason why.
Tell your readers that leaving a comment can provide an acceptable backlink to their own blogs. It can allow them to showcase their expertise and raise their credibility. Not everyone knows or understands the benefits of commenting.
And any other call to action needs to spell out what the action-taker will get out of this transaction. They are much more likely to be tempted to respond if they get something in return.
Tell them you can’t wait
Another method of getting people to take action is by creating a sense of urgency. If they feel that this fantastic deal is going to disappear overnight, they will be more likely to respond.
Countdown apps that contain numbers descending to zero shows that time is slipping away and that readers need to act now. People have an inert sense of foreboding of missing out on something that could be good for them.
You may not be able to recreate this on your blog, but you could use the same principle. Give your readers a deadline to respond by.
Focus on your call to action
All successful posts are much more likely to be based around a call to action. Usually this is the main reason why they are written.
What call to action could you write about in your next post? Perhaps it could be as simple as asking them to visit another page on your website that offers more information on the post’s subject.
Or perhaps your post could be a convincing, information-packed article explaining what you do, or how you do it. The accompanying call to action would be to tell interested readers to email you or pick up the phone to find out more.
Offer a solution
The sort of post mentioned above will be more successful if it is based around providing a solution to a problem. I know this is a well known phenomenon for writing posts, but it is the perfect accompaniment to a call to action.
Think of the gaps in your readers’ knowledge, and work out how you can educate them. What do your readers most desire, so write something that fulfils it. Find out what they want to read, and give it to them.
This also contributes to the beneficial part of a call to action. Stick the solution behind it, and your readers will be more disposed to clicking on it to get what they want.
Over to you
My call to action is to ask you to leave a comment in the box below, telling me what you think about this post. Alternatively share this post on social media so your followers can read it too!
The next and final post in this series will be looking at the editing aftermath of a perfect post, and how this can improve it. And you can also catch up on the other posts in this series from the parent post.