I was in one of the office hours that are part of the online influence development bootcamp I run. As part of that participants work on at least one blog post. One of the participants asked about how to write a good call to action (CTA).
Not an afterthought
He wanted something that didn’t feel like an afterthought, something that tied the post together, and something that increased engagement. I added something that felt satisfying as a writer.
It is hard not to write a call to action that feels lame. They’re usually flat, or rote (like, subscribe, share, what do you think, etc). A bad call to action is at best a missed opportunity, and at worst it can undermine the post.
Attributes of a good call to action
Thinking about the best CTAs I’ve seen, they mostly have 2 attributes (with 1 bonus attribute)
Your call to action should be specific and not general. Take the opportunity to dig into what you hoped to accomplish with the post, and ask for something the reinforces the goal of the content. If the call to action you use could be used on another post about a different topic, it probably isn’t very good.
Your call to action should be the smallest step they can take in the direction you are leading them. If they can see themselves achieving it in a meaningful time frame, then the odds of them trying increase. Conversely if the CTA is too big, they’ll ignore it.
If the outcome of your CTA is visible, that is even better. Sometimes you want it to be verifiable by you (i.e. share the most recent picture you have of yourself on your phone, comment about a time when you got talked over in a meeting, and what you did about it). Other times you want it to be verifiable by the reader (call someone you haven’t spoken with out of the blue and see what impact that has on your outlook, change your out of office responder so people know that you won’t be catching up with your email and take note of anyone who complains). In either case, it is especially rewarding to be able to associate an outcome with an action, especially one you wrote about.
Let me know on Twitter what is the most effective CTA you’ve used in a blog post, and what outcome did it drive?