Why the Call to Action Matters (And How to Write a Strong One)

For bloggers and online copywriters, the call to action may be the single most important part of any post, and any piece of writing. Why? Simply because business is a lot like life—and if you want something done, you generally have to ask for it to get done.

Think about it in terms of your family life. Maybe your teenage son is playing his music too loud, and you want him to turn the volume down. Sitting and wishing for it to happen probably isn’t going to decrease the decibel level a bit. Asking him to turn it down is what it will take for you to get your way.

That’s how it is with a blog entry, or a piece of sales copy. Do you want readers to click a link and buy a product, or perhaps “like” a post on Facebook? Whatever you want readers to do, you’re better off asking for it. Wishing and hoping won’t get those links clicked, those posts shared, or those products purchased.

That’s where the call to action comes into play. This is the part of your copy where you tell your readers what you want them to do—and persuade them to do it. A strong call to action is invaluable. For many bloggers, it is also very hard to write.

What follows are a few basic pointers for constructing a purposeful, effective call to action. Following these steps is vital if you want to persuade your readers into doing, well, anything!

The first thing to remember is to keep it brief. Nobody wants to read three or four paragraphs of text to figure out what you want them to do. A call to action should be one or two sentences, at the most.

Keep it practical, too. This is where many bloggers err. They think the call to action is a good place to get technical—to explain how a product or service works, or to illuminate internal processes.

But the call to action is not the place for technical writing—it’s the place for practical writing! It’s where you list the benefits, and communicate the value, that readers will receive if they do what you’re asking them to do. In other words, make it about them.

Be careful with your words. Remember that this is a call to action—so using a strong action verb is vital. Unnecessary words, like adverbs, are probably better left off your final draft, however.

And it’s not just the words themselves that matter—it’s how they are arranged. Many online readers prefer to skim, which means they will begin reading at the left side of the page, but won’t always make it to the right. Place your subject and action verb on the left side of the page, at the beginning of your sentence, to ensure the important information is conveyed.

Writing a strong call to action is challenging, but important. These pointers should set you in the right direction.

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