Tell your blog readers what to do nextOk, your blogging regularly, working hard to create great content for your readers, optimizing all of it for search and building a library of branded assets that increase in value over time. All is good right? Well, maybe.

At the end of all of your posts, what exactly are you expecting your visitors to do? If you’re not directing them with a Call to Action you may be missing an opportunity to further any relationship that you have started with them.

Simply put, a Call to Action (CTA) guides your readers to how they can receive more value from your site or blog. It’s one of the fundamentals of traditional direct marketing and it’s more important than ever for online marketing.

Your Call to Action should not be a superfulous afterthought to your content. It should be considered and integrated when you are initially developing your content. It should also align with how it helps to guide a prospect through a selling cycle. And this should map to a structured content calendar that addresses the needs of the prospects you are trying to reach.

The one thing you should always remember is make your blog post Call to Action super clear. Bloggers run the risk of confusing readers when they are presented with too many actions. Every Call to Action should be simple and uncomplicated for the reader to act.

Below are some simple techniques to follow when creating a Call to Action that encourages reader action.

1. Identify the Action right from the start

Before you ever develop your content, be clear on what action you want them to take. Downloading an eBook, subscribing to your news feed, leaving a comment, responding to a poll—whatever you seek from them, make it clear and make sure that it furthers your relationship or the selling cycle.

2. Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS)

Whatever the call to action is keep it simple.  If it takes too many steps or too much work, your readers aren’t goin to bother and they will move on. As always, less is more.

3. Call attention to the Call to Action

Instead of blending the call to action within the text of your post, make it stand out so it creates attention and interest. Try placing an oversize link near it, using a different font, or integrating a key image that demonstrates value.

4. Don’t force fit it

The call to action should naturally lead the reader so taking action seems like the logical next step. If there’s a disconnect with the logical action, readers won’t work to figure it out.

5. Mix up where you position it

Try positioning the call to action in a different location for each blog post. If the reader gets accustomed to seeing the call to action in the same place they may eventually become immune to it and ignore it. By mixing up the position of the Call to Action, you can use your analytics to see which one is more effective over time. Don’t be afraid to experiment.

6. Forget the Hard Sell and get in to WIIFM

Be clear and precise with the action you want the reader to take but avoid coming on too strong. If you hard sell the action this is the equivalent of badgering the reader until they get disgusted and walk away. Whenever possible, approach the CTA from the readers perspective.

WIIFM (What’s in it for me) should be top of mind as you create a call to action that provides a benefit to your reader such as offering a freebie, entering their name in a giveaway, or providing a deeper dive on content that you’ve already delivered to them.

7. Bring on the benefits

Stay positive and always highlight the advantages of taking action to the reader. Your prospects are always looking for solutions or ways to make their life easier.  Keep the focus on their needs and how you can assist them.

Now that you’re up to speed on the value of a Call to Action and how to make it effective, here’s what you can do next:

A. Share your tips or best practices on creating effective CTA’s
B. Share this post with your community
C. Leave a comment and tell us if we left anything out