How to Make Your Blog Posts More Strategic with CTAs

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By Jillian Frager

No matter what type of business you run or how robust your blog is, every blog post can benefit from the incorporation of strategically placed CTAs. 

You may be familiar with the use of CTAs in social media posts—“Learn More!”—or on other pages throughout a website—“Request a Demo Here”—but many businesses are missing a big opportunity on their blog posts to direct users even further into action.

A blog is a great top-of-funnel content marketing strategy that often serves as a brand introduction or an educational entrance to the site. However, once on these pages, visitors to your website need to be told what to do next. Help nurture them through the funnel and guide them to the next step by adding CTAs to your blog post.

What are “Calls-to-Action”?

A call-to-action (CTA) is simply a gentle (or not-so-gentle) nudge that tells the reader/consumer what to do next with the information provided. It is most often in the form of a clickable button, a hyperlink, or an email-capture field. If you don’t prompt the reader to perform an action, you may never know if they read, absorbed, or even abandoned your blog mid-paragraph. 

Or worse yet, they may leave your blog without venturing further into your website 

and you will have lost the chance at any sort of conversion, engagement, or sale.

But before you can actually call your reader to action, or even begin writing your blog, you should have a few things in the forefront of your mind.

Why Are You Writing This Blog? 

We’ve all been there: time is short, resources are limited, but we need a new post for the week. So we begin our stream-of-consciousness, meandering post; we add some stunning imagery and a link here and there; we hit publish; and we wonder why our CTA didn’t translate to a sale, a comment, or even a click. If you don’t know why you’re writing your blog, you can be certain your reader won’t either.

Who Is Your Audience?

Writing with a specific persona or audience in mind will keep your blog in the correct tone, voice, style, and language to make your CTA infinitely more effective. 

  • Will your blog be informational, conversational, scholarly, or sales-oriented?
  • Is your ideal audience scholars, consumers, younger, older, novice, experienced, etc.?

What is your Ultimate CTA goal?

The “why” of your blog post goes hand in hand with your goal. Knowing your ultimate goal will help you craft the perfect verbiage for your CTA within your post. Are you seeking to… 

  • Promote a sale
  • Acquire an email address to grow your subscriber list
  • Inform your readers about changes to your business
  • Introduce a new product
  • Engage your readers with quizzes or surveys
  • Present a delightful and perhaps whimsical side of your business

Examples of great CTAs to use in Blog Posts 

Before we get you started on your journey to better CTAs, let’s decide what kind of CTA you’re aiming for in your blog. Breaking it down into direct and transitional categories may help. Simply put: do you want your reader to buy something (direct)? Or do you want to lead them further into different parts of your website (transitional)?

If your end goal is to sell a product or service through your blog, your CTAs can still be creative, but will tend to be more direct:

  • Buy More, Save More (history tells us that the most direct CTA’s still gain the highest conversion)
  • Some Deals Just Can’t Be Missed
  • Order Online and Save Time
  • Try Us for Free
  • Start Your Quote—You Won’t Be Sorry
  • Want Even More Savings?

If you’re wanting to invite them into your story and delve deeper into your website, try these:

  • Interested? See what’s next!
  • Wondering if we can do “that”?
  • Continue the journey…
  • Questions? Let’s chat!
  • Need Inspiration? Follow the magic!
  • Fill out our effortless form to…
  • Follow us—we love the attention!

Where to Place CTAs in your Blog Posts?

This may be a painful reality to those of us who’ve poured our heart, soul, and valuable time into meticulously crafting a blog post; but it is true nonetheless that people generally scan a website, rather than actually reading it. For this reason, it is imperative that both your design and layout speak the message you want your words to convey.

Design

Ahhh the endless battle to be “pretty” yet still say something meaningful… We’re not talking about all of you smart-yet-beautiful people out there: we’re talking about your blog posts. 

Even if your website is more utilitarian than visual (for example: you’re a tech company, you’re in the finance sector, or you’re a scholarly .edu), your blog can creatively stray a bit from your theme. In fact, people expect it to!

Incorporate eye-catching clickable imagery: 

A few thoughts: 

  • If you’re able, break up each thought with a large stunning image to illustrate what you’ve just said, especially if it’s a “how-to” or step-by-step blog. Remember: a picture’s worth a thousand words!
  • Tailor infographics so that your CTA can give reader-specific results (and ideally capture their email address).
  • Include videos with alluring Q&A forms to engage your reader (and, again, capture their email address).
  • Create industry-specific financial, academic, “your style,” or otherwise information-gathering quizzes to learn about your audience, capture their email, and send them pricing quotes or information about your business.

White Space is Your Friend:

  • Give your readers visual rest with plenty of paragraph breaks.
  • Keep paragraphs short and break them up with subheadings and bullet points.
  • Speaking of white: if you want a responsive blog that will translate to every screen and every device, choose a white background. CTA buttons always “pop” best on white.

Choose Fonts Wisely:

  • Use only 2 different, but complementary, fonts to avoid a cluttered look
  • Use a font that best mirrors the overall theme of your post, yet still matches the style of the rest of your website
  • Use the same font for every CTA button in your blog—repetition, repetition, repetition…
  • Make the font in your CTA buttons bigger and bolder than the rest of your text

Use Colorful Buttons:

  • Make all your CTA buttons the same color
  • Choose a bold, but not garish, color for your buttons
  • If possible, use red (stands out), green (GO!), or orange (warmth/happiness) buttons
  • Avoid black (negative), white (hard-to-see), or brownish (Just. Plain. Ugly.) buttons

Layout 

Aside from the overall design of your blog, the layout is key to keeping the reader engaged. Again, if they bounce from your page, your stellar CTAs won’t be good for anything. Remember that readers engage with webpages much differently from how they engage with a book. You only have 5-15 seconds at most to capture your reader, so make it count!

Let Your Title Imply Your Call to Action:

You shouldn’t begin your blog without knowing what you want to accomplish and who your target audience is. Once you know this, you can easily craft your title in a way that will entice the reader to act when the moment presents itself. 

Think of your blog as a story with a beginning, middle, and end. Then present your reader with the problem in the title and the solution in your CTA buttons. Here are a few ideas for crafting your title:

  • Need Solutions for…?
  • How’d We Do That?
  • Get Ready to…!
  • Hitting a Snag When…?

Don’t Interrupt Your Content with CTA buttons:

We know—dangerous waters here. But let’s think about your blog as a whole: its purpose is to inform, entertain, connect, personalize. And adding a flashy CTA button right in the middle of your content is like interrupting a great story mid-thought. Your content is where you can add links to products, FAQs, questionnaires, other pages on your website, current offers, etc. 

Pro tip: make sure the links open up as a pop-up box or another window entirely. Again: you don’t want to take the reader off your page, or you may just miss a conversion. 

Use Your Sidebar:

Although blogs have seen a recent trend in hiding the sidebar to make them look cleaner and less cluttered, hiding your sidebar is losing you valuable conversions and hiding vital CTA buttons! By all means, make sure your sidebar is visually-pleasing and not littered with ads; but always try to keep the following variations of CTAs visible:

  • Subscribe to our blog
  • Join our newsletter
  • Sign up for savings
  • Download our…
  • Follow Us on Social Media

Last, but Never Least:

Be sure to always include social shares at the bottom of your post. Even if your reader has somehow breezed past your well-placed and well-thought-out CTAs, you might grab them with your “like, comment, or share” buttons!  

Finally, whatever route you decide to go with your blog CTAs, remember to keep the focus on your audience and not on you. Your customer is the “hero” and you are the “guide” to helping them live their best life, right? So, try to include an end-user benefit in all your CTAs. They’ll remember you—and hopefully, patronize you—if they think you care about THEM.

 

Sources:

Wordstream. Hook, Line, and Sinker: 7 Tips for a Killer Call-to-Action. https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2014/10/09/call-to-action

Usability.gov. Personas. https://www.usability.gov/how-to-and-tools/methods/personas.html

Impact. Call-to-Action Examples: 15 Designed to REALLY Generate Leads. https://www.impactbnd.com/blog/examples-of-calls-to-action-for-lead-generation

CLX. 10 Useful Findings About How People View Websites. https://conversionxl.com/blog/10-useful-findings-about-how-people-view-websites/

Digital.com. The Most Powerful CTAs in History and Why They Worked. https://digital.com/blog/ctas-history/

SWEOR. 27 Eye-Opening Website Statistics: Is Your Website Costing You Clients? https://www.sweor.com/firstimpressions

Building a Storybrand. One Overlooked Strategy That Will Dramatically Improve Your Marketing. http://buildingastorybrand.com/overlooked-strategy-improve-your-marketing/

Designmodo. Tips on Using White Backgrounds in Website Design. https://designmodo.com/white-backgrounds/

Yahoo Small Business. The Truth About the Best and Worst Call to Action Button Colors for Your Website. https://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/advisor/truth-best-worst-call-action-button-colors-website-212506540.html

Column Five Media. What Is an Infographic? Find Out What They Are and Why They’re Useful. https://www.columnfivemedia.com/infographic