Here’s my notes on Darren Rowse’s Problogger Free Podcast on 31 Days to Building a Better Blog. You can listen to Darren Rowse’s free podcast here Day 23 Write a Post That Contains a Call to action. The complete list of challenges can be read here on Day 0 – Welcome and Introduction.
As I’ve mentioned before, to get the full benefit of this series I’m going to go at a slower pace by posting this series on Tuesdays each week. I hope with this challenge we are all able to improve our blogs and websites.
So lets do this together! Day 23 here we go! Subscribe and check back often! #31DBBB
Day 23: Today the challenge is to write a post that contains a call to action.
Calls to action are a really big part of blogging. Today you are going to be challenged to practice this by doing two things.
First, write a post with a call to action.
Second, leave a comment below with your link sharing your call to action. Or if you’ve published a post with a call to action recently leave your post link below too!
At some point in the life of most blogs the blogger behind it wants or needs to ask their readers to do something. While this may not be something you ask your readers to do on a regular basis it can be very useful to learn to do. The goal is to snap readers out of passivity and to engage your blog.
Darren estimates that a fraction of one percent of readers leave comments on his blog posts. I imagine that is the case for many blogs. How do you change that? One way is to engage your audience with calls to action.
11 Ideas for Calls to Action:
- Implement an idea. Something you have taught or challenged them to do in the past. I did this with 31 days of The No Spend Challenge which is in full force this January 2016.
- Subscribe to your blog or newsletter. Give them a reason to do so.
- Follow you on social media. Perhaps it is to follow you on Twitter, Instagram, Google+, or Pinterest. Maybe you might ask them to like your Facebook page. Don’t have some of these? Consider expanding your social media and re-evaluating your social media accounts. Read more here.
- Buy something through an affiliate. This could certainly help you in monetizing your blog.
- Buy one of your own products. This could be your latest eBook, PDF file, blog improvement kit, etc.
- Vote in this poll. Simple yet very effective if you ask good questions.
- Take this survey. Feedback from readers can be key in the direction your blog needs to take. Is your blog reaching the target audience you have in mind? Do you need to narrow your topic or topics to reach your niche?
- Make a donation to this charity. This can be a great way to raise money for a good cause you believe in.
- Ask readers to hire you to buy some service you offer. Do you provide services? Great opportunity to highlight those services.
- Attend a meeting, meetup, or event you’re running. This might be very beneficial in getting to know your readers and build community.
- Read this other piece of content you wrote or a fellow blogger wrote. A great way to pay special attention to one of your readers or another blogger in your niche. Could create some good will and even possibly the idea of cross promotion.
Only you know what suits your readers and your blogging goals. Make it challenging enough to stretch your readers.
If you’ve never done a call to action before perhaps asking your readers to take part in a poll, vote, or comment might be in order. If you have already done this and you have an interactive audience try something a little bigger. See this post I wrote last week with a post with my first giveaway of a $50 Amazon gift card and two books by John C. Maxwell on leadership. This post may very well double my subscriber list.
A call to action can be a really great teaching tool. This can be really beneficial with a “How To”, “DIY”, etc. blog for example. Most of the time our readers are quite passive. However, they may just need to be asked.
7 Tips on Calls to Action:
1. Know what action you want your readers to take. What is the purpose of your post? What do you want readers to do as a result of reading the post? Answer these two questions before writing your call to action. Call it writing with a purpose or end-goal in mind.
2. Make it as simple and clear as possible. One or two calls to action per post. I really do like the RaffleCopter which I used for my first giveaway. However, simplifying the call to action is something I will be doing myself on my next giveaway for example. If your call to action isn’t a simple thing consider outlining what it is you want your readers to do in steps or points.
3. Make it a win-win. Do something that will further your blog goals but also benefit your readers. You don’t just want to take from your readers.
4. Make the action simple and achievable. Probably a bad idea to ask a reader to write a 400 word comment, link to their own blog, and subscribe to the blog. First not everyone who reads your blog is likely a blogger. Second, if you make it too complicated people will shy away from participating. Perhaps asking your reader to tweet your most popular post is a good idea to the social media account of their choice.
5. Make the call to action in your post. It’s significantly better if you have your call to action in your post rather than on your sidebar or making the reader open a new window. The logical place for your call to action is the bottom of your post. However, you might want to add it toward the beginning of the post and then list it again at the bottom of the post. This could work to your advantage as first you are sowing the seed of the action in the readers mind early and second not everyone will finish reading your post.
6. Give an incentive. An extra incentive such as a free printable, pdf file, or eBook can really add a bonus to your readers and encourage them to take the action. Instead of just writing please subscribe to my blog tell them the benefit of subscribing. Why is your blog beneficial to the reader? What benefit would there be in subscribing to your blog?
7. Mix up Calls to Action from post to post. Readers tend to become blind or numb to calls to action that are always the same. “Leave a comment” is probably the one I see the most of in blog posts. Mix things up from post to post by including a call to action to answer a question, follow you on social media, or respond. Also don’t feel you need to have a call to action in every single post.
If you want people to comment invite them to do it. If you want people to subscribe to your blog ask them to do it. Give them a reason to want to comment or subscribe. If you want people to buy something give them a way to do it and show them the value of the product. Might seem rather obvious but without calls to action many times readers forget to do this on their own. I’ve seen great blogs in the last year and a half with few followers on social media for example.
Ever heard the phrase “The squeaky wheel gets the grease”? There’s a reason for that.
It’s time for you to squeak!
Remember that people respond to invitations. Action grows reader engagement in your blog. Action brings loyalty to your blog. Finally, action breeds action. John C. Maxwell in Law #16 The Law of the Big Mo talks about momentum. Momentum makes barriers small and people believe they can overcome. People rise or fall to expectations. A blog that has comments and engagement will continue to breed action in building that momentum.
Expect your readers to simply read your blog and that will be the extent of their engagement.
Remember, knowledge only goes so far. Action is the key to lasting change. If you are trying to lead your readers on a path or goal, a call to action can be a very powerful tool.
Be a bold today. Ask your readers to do something.
- WordStream: Hook, Line, and Sinker: 7 Tips For a Killer Call to Action
- Tweak Your Biz: Call to Action – The One Thing Every Blog Post Needs (And How to Do It)
- Hubspot: 8 Types of Calls to Action You Should Absolutely Try on Your Blog
Previous Challenges in this series:
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What has been your most effective call to action? What call to action do you plan on proposing to your readers next? Feel free to link your calls to action below!