Bloggers: Send Out the Call! (How to add a successful call to action to your posts)

send out the call!

send out the call!

I’ve read quite a few blog posts, and even a book, about how to blog successfully. (Check out Molly Greene’s “Blog It!” if you never have. It’s wonderful. She’s wonderful. I’m a big fan.)

Calls to action are a big part of being successful as a blogger, in terms of sales, hits, follower numbers, list sign ups, or anything else you’re hoping your blog will help you achieve.

I’ve written in the past about how to craft a great blog post by taking it deeper. I’ve talked about how to determine how often you, personally, should blog. But that’s my take on blogging.

All of the resources I mentioned above talk about calls to action. People want to do things like comment, and follow you, but they might be hesitant to, or it might slip their mind without a gentle reminder.

If you stop by here regularly, you’ll notice I’ve started concluding posts with a call to action, and my average “hits per visitor” has gone up tremendously as a result. I mean, it’s almost doubled. That’s what inspired me to write this post.

Still, what does it take to send out a successful call to action, as an author-blogger or any other kind of blogger?

Here is a foolproof method for crafting the perfect call. Molly will tell you more in her book (and her blog, www.molly-greene.com)

  1. Make heeding the call as easy for your readers as you can. If you’re inviting them to go somewhere, give them a link to that location. Tell them where on your site they can find more info. Take out as much of the work on their part as is possible. I am only realizing, as I write this, that I can include more links in my calls–especially links to my blog’s category search results–and I plan to do that from now on.
  2. Your call to action should be related to the content of your post. Yesterday, I wrote about editing. I included a call to action inviting readers interested in the topic of editing to check out my “On editing” category, where all my posts related to editing are grouped for easy access. This is a reasonable call to make, citing a logical next step, so it won’t annoy anyone, even if they don’t have the time or inclination to follow up on your invitation. Speaking of which:
  3. You call is an invitation, not an order. Maybe some people will disagree with me here, saying that strong wording and a confident tone inspire readers to act. My take is this: I try not to order people around because I resent being told what to do. I intend my calls to action to be invitations, and I try to craft them as such. I don’t want to give the impression that I expect people to follow through or I look down on those who don’t.
  4. If you want comments on your post, an indirect call to action works wonders. You don’t have to openly invite your readers to start or join in on a conversation in the comment section. As the blogger, you know what kind of insight you’re hoping your readers can provide. You can identify a discussion question or two related to the theme of your post. So ask the question. That counts as an invitation, and your readers should respond, hopefully (and rightfully) feeling good about giving back and contributing something to add to the expertise and experience you’ve poured out in the post.
  5. It’s not about you benefiting from the action your readers take. You will benefit, of course. But blogging is about community, and your calls to action should draw attention to how you can help out your community by providing further information. If not, you should be inviting readers to share your post so that others can benefit from the information too. To paraphrase JFK: “Ask not what your community can do for you. Ask what you can do for your community.”
  6. There are multiple kinds of call that you can make: calls to comment, to join a list serv, to share your post on social media, to explore other content on your blog, to download an ebook that’s free or on sale. Go back and forth between them, and don’t feel as though you need to include every kind of call on every post. You don’t.

Now, for the most self-conscious I’ve ever been ending a blog post (hahaha!):

Do you include calls to action on your blog? Have you noticed, like I did, a spike in desired results once you started inviting your follows to take advantage of all you have to offer them?

Have you ever seen a horribly presented call to action that annoyed or angered you for some reason? (Please, no identification of the blogger/blog! We’re not here to name-call; we’re here to learn to be more effective as bloggers.)

If you enjoyed this post and would like more information about blogging, you can find a list of my posts about blogging here. If you know any new bloggers, or bloggers struggling with stats who might benefit from this info, feel free to pass a link along as well.

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21 responses to “Bloggers: Send Out the Call! (How to add a successful call to action to your posts)

  1. This is a terrific post! I AM a new blogger. Also new to the whole blog-world in general having never read one till I started writing one. I’ve been at it for almost two months to the day so far. I got ‘nudged’ you could say, by a friend who suggested it would be a good start to promoting myself before self-publishing. I’m still not sure if I’m doing it right, but I’m having fun with it so that counts for something! 🙂
    My hits/views are doing okay I guess, not sure what I should be expecting actually. My ‘Stats’ page tells me I average 18 views per day and I have 45 followers now. No idea if that’s a good progression but like I said, I’m having fun with it. Plus I’ve found a bunch of great blogs to read- yours included obviously!
    This is a big help and newbies like me are thankful for the advice. Keep the great posts coming and thanks again! 🙂

    • it’s definitely a good idea to start blogging, making connections, and building a fanbase before you publish. You want people interested in your work at the time it’s released.

      Have fun, do what you can with the blog, and don’t let it suck writing time away. 🙂 Just try to publish regularly, follow other blogs so they connect back with yours, use social media to promote your posts, and you’re fine. Best of luck with the release and promotional efforts! I think you have many more blog followers than I did two months in.

  2. I bought the book because there are several valid points and tips. I have been trying for some time to engage readers enough to draw in comments and have had hit or miss success. Sometimes it works and others it doesn’t. So now I think I’m going to read this book to see maybe what I’m doing wrong. Thanks!

    • her book is great!!! It brought a lot of tips and resources to my attention. She talks a bit about marketing your blog and what your focus should be at certain stages of development. It’s a useful read. Hope it helps you the way it did me!

  3. It turns out I’ve been doing a lot of this, as well as spending quite a bit of time linking things for easy research and access for my readers, and of course the current fad of “related articles” at the end of most posts. I never knew if this was all good to do or if it was annoying. I’ve also wondered if linking something in every other sentence pulls people away from my blog before they finish the post or get tired of the topic. And unfortunately I’ve made a few posts in which their entire purpose was a call or invite… to join in an exciting experiment, or help me with suggestions for a new piece of equipment for paranormal research. Those two specifically have been some of my biggest bombs. Not sure why. Maybe it is the particular niche I hang out in. Thank you for the great “blogging” posts lately!

    • Will you please ignore the “” around “blogging”? 🙂 When I read it again it sounded like I was being a jerk. 🙂 That is all.

    • sure! I personally try to limit how many links I have in the body of my post. It’s something that can be overdone, but a handful can be helpful, I think.

      Thanks for mentioning the related links at the end. That’s something I might start when I stop publishing daily. At this point, I don’t have time to publish daily and do all that research too.

  4. Thanks, Victoria. I’m new to the blogging world too, so this was very helpful. I’ve downloaded Molly Greene’s book as well.

  5. I’ve never really had a “call to action” at the end of my blog posts. The most I had written was more like a hint. I had heard some people say calling to action looks kind of desperate and may turn off anyone from commenting. But I would like to have something like that to invite more discussion. I like sharing my ideas with others and have them give their POV back. It’s a way of building bridges and communicating in general 🙂

    • You’re so right, Megan. Comment discussions are the best. And you definitely don’t want a call to action to sound desperate. One way to do that is to avoid a begging tone or anything that can be construed as one.

      Like you mention, it’s all about an invite. An invite that they can take or leave as they feel fit.

  6. Victoria, I’m honored and deeply appreciate your mention of my blog and my book, and I’m grateful to have such a wonderful fan. Your post is comprehensive and you make excellent points. Blogging is a personal experience that each of us tailors to our audience and our personalities.

    As you know, I use calls to action to subscribe via email at the bottom of each of my blog posts. I readily admit it was difficult for me to get to the point where I felt confident enough to ask. But once I did, I noticed an immediate increase in subscribers. It worked for me.

    As for annoying CTAs, I’m not a big fan of opt-in pop-ups, although mega-bloggers swear by them and say that it works big-time. Again, a personal choice.

    My two cents about links: PR websites suggest that links be limited to no more than one every few hundred words. My opinion is that every “related-post” type link should open in a new window so readers can’t close the browser window and accidentally lose the blog.

    You’re doing such a wonderful job, Victoria! So happy that I found this link in my blog stats – another reason to watch them :-O

    • thanks Molly!!! I totally agree with you about pop-up opt-ins. I would never use those either because I don’t like them. I figure a good rule of thumb is: if something annoys you when you come across it, don’t force it on other people.

      I’m glad you found this post too! My blog has really expanded since reading your book, so I’m grateful and glad I could point a few other people toward the resource.

  7. Another wonderful article Victoria. I too am new to blogging, well, I’ve tried it two or three times in the past ten years or so but couldn’t get much in the way of response. I’ve never heard of the “Call to Action” but the links at the end make it so simple. I will definitely give it a try.

    • yea! 🙂 hope they help you get the interaction and responses you’ve been seeking. calls to action can work really well. sometimes your readers just need a gentle invitation to engage with you.

  8. Yes I’ve done some “call to actions” at the end of my Camp NaNoWriMo posts on my blog. Thanks for this article, very helpful tips!

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