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)
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.”
- 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.