31DBBB Day 23: Call Your Readers to Action
This is Day 23 of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, a group project 60+ of us bloggers are doing together in an effort to help each other become better bloggers.
I’m frequently reminded of the statistic that the average person is bombarded by as many as 3,000 marketing messages a day. TV ads, radio ads, billboards, ads on websites, email messages, magazine ads, newspaper ads, direct mail, and more area all competing for our attention.
Most of these ads have been written by marketing professionals. The pros know they’re competing for our attention, so they don’t beat around the bush. They tell you exactly what they want you to do. They include a clear call to action.
Even if you’re not selling anything through your blog, you are competing with these 3,000 marketing messages to get your readers to take action, even if that action is as simple as posting a comment.
7 Tips for Calling Your Readers to Action
Today’s lesson in the 31DBBB ebook has lots of great advice. There’s also a link in it to a blog post titled 12 Tips To SNAP Readers Out of Passivity. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. Here are my top seven suggestions for calling your blog readers to action.
- Make only one call to action. Asking readers to do more things will actually result in them doing less.
- Limit your big asks. Most of your calls to action should be small, requiring little time and effort and no money. Occasionally you can make a big request, but pick and choose those “big asks” carefully.
- Make your call to action at the end of the post. It’s OK to include the call to action earlier in the post, but then repeat it again at the end otherwise it’s likely by the end of the post many readers will have forgotten your request.
- Make your call to action clear and specific. Asking readers to “Spread the word about X” is vague. Asking readers to “Retweet this post and share it on Facebook” is clear and specific.
- Make most of your calls to action benefit someone other than you. If you’re always asking readers to do things for you, they will tire of it. In some posts, call readers to do things for others. Often the most effective calls to action are when you challenge readers to do something for their own benefit. For example, every day in this series one of the calls to action is to do that day’s assignment, which is a call to do something to improve your blog.
- Serve your readers first. If you want your readers to do things for you, show them that you’re blogging to serve them. Make your posts helpful, respond to comments, answer questions, promote their blogs, etc.
- Thank those who respond. Whenever possible, thank the people who respond by name, maybe even with a link to their blog or Twitter profile. When that’s not possible a general thanks shows you appreciate those who followed the call to action and don’t take them for granted.
For big asks, be strategic, focused, and varied
If you have something important you want to accomplish, consider doing a series of posts on that theme. End each post with a call to the same action but in a different way. For example, if you want to raise money for an orphanage in Kenya you might do a one week fund raising series. One post might feature a video and include a call to action to give money so the kids have a shot at a productive life. One post might feature an interview with the founders, and the call to action might be to donate to support their efforts to raise the children to know Christ. One post could focus on the various passages in the Bible that call God’s people to care for orphans, and the call to action could appeal to the readers desire to follow God.
The point is that your readers are all very different. Even for small calls to action, like asking readers to comment or subscribe, you should try to vary your approach.
- Can you give an example of a time when you were successful at calling your readers to action? Why do you think it was successful?
- What other advice do you have for converting passive readers to active readers?
I’m going to break the “one call to action per post” rule, but I’m hoping to make up for it but varying my approach today.
- Post a comment responding to the discussion questions above.
- Write a call to action post and include a link to it in your comment.
- Share this post on Twitter and Facebook.
- Review Jon Reid’s blog, Blog One Another, and give him some feedback.
[image by theparadigmshifter]