Often overlooked as a minor detail, the call-to-action included in each and every article on your blog is vital to driving results from your efforts.

As part of your content marketing strategy, the goal of your blog should be to educate your audience, stir the right emotions, and build a positive memory of your business as it pertains to your expertise. But it’s also meant to drive traffic, increase social media conversations around your business, generate more conversions in the form of downloads, and add email subscribers to your marketing list.

The call-to-action, or CTA, is text, a visual, or a combination of the two that drives a person to perform an action after reading your blog post—whether that’s downloading an e-book, signing up for your email list, activating a free trial of your product, or another action that slowly drives results for your business.

Why a CTA Matters

Everything your team does should relate back to the core objectives of your business, which is why it is crucial that every blog post written by your company helps move your organization closer to achieving its goals.

Including a call-to-action within and around every blog post can help drive more readers to your blog content, increase lead generation, and improve the relationship between your company and its customers.

According to Search Engine Journal, companies that blog have more inbound links, and over 434 percent more indexed pages, than those that do not blog. This highlights how beneficial blogging can be as part of your content marketing strategy, since the medium can dramatically increase ongoing interactions with your business.

The Components of an Effective CTA

Calls-to-action can come in many forms, but they all share a few components that make them successful.

Your blog’s CTA should be:

  • A soft sell that isn’t highly promotional or sales focused—think of how you can provide more value with more premium content or service;
  • Non-disruptive to the reader experience on the blog (make the CTA blend in as part of the article or blog homepage, but don’t let it get lost);
  • Relevant to the article next to which it is being displayed;
  • Simple and concise, driving a user to easily perform the desired action;
  • Well-written (visuals can be helpful, but aren’t always necessary);
  • Gripping, with a hook to provide incentive for a reader to take action;
  • Designed with the reader in mind (be sure to get insights from testing different formats).

Examples of Successful Blog Post Calls-to-Action

Many organizations out there have mastered the art of the CTA. Here’s what they are doing right.

1. KISSmetrics blog: KISSmetrics is a measurement tool that provides insights on who’s performing an action on your website. At the bottom of all the KISSmetrics blog posts is a call-to-action that encourages readers to download a related e-book. This way, leads who have just read an article will get an offer of more related content—but to access it, the lead has to fill out a download form.


2. Nasty Gal blog: Nasty Gal is a women’s apparel brand based in California. The brand’s blog occasionally features articles that mention some of its products; at the bottom of those articles, the reader sees a grid of thumbnail pictures that feature these products. This helps Nasty Gal direct readers to the specific products included in a post, emulating the thumbnail experience elsewhere on their e-commerce store. Here, the brand decided to take a visual approach, presenting the products it sells like a Pinterest board and letting the content do the talking.


3. Dell’s Tech Page One blog: The popular consumer tech brand Dell has a blog called Tech Page One, focused on providing technology and operational insights to business owners. At the right-hand side of all blog content is a CTA to sign up for the blog’s email list, and a CTA in the form of an ad for some of the company’s relevant product offerings. Including multiple calls-to-action on your blog is an effective way to ensure you are capturing as many relevant leads as possible. However, too many on one page can confuse the user by not clearly conveying which action the person should take next.


4. Big Commerce blog: Big Commerce is an e-commerce software solution for businesses of all sizes. The company’s blog homepage and every individual blog post features a visual CTA on the right-hand sidebar that drives users to start a free trial of its product. This is an example of using an engaging hook to drive interest from your readers, and the free offering increases the likelihood that they’ll take action. The ad doesn’t disrupt the reader’s experience, which is an essential component of any CTA. In this example, writing is key—every word matters when you’re trying to get the user to take action immediately.

Remember, while CTAs are a critical factor in your content marketing strategy success, they have to be done right to generate leads and build relationships with your clients.

What are your content marketing strategy goals? What kinds of calls-to-action do you plan to experiment with in the future? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

This article originally appeared on the Content Standard.