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Understanding Call-To-Action CTAs

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Source: Canva

Every article that we write has a reason for being written.

The reason is usually to get someone to either buy something or to do something. And that something is usually in the best interests of the client, but also of interest to the reader.

This component is referred to as a Call-to-Action or CTA.

The goal of a CTA will depend on the kind of response required from a blog’s audience. For instance, you can use CTAs to encourage your reader to:

  • Engage with your content and readership (on a blog post)
  • Explore other content on your blog
  • Subscribe to your blog email newsletter
  • Share your content through social media
  • Purchase a product from your website

For those reasons, you want your CTAs to be:

  • Compelling
  • Interesting
  • Clear and easy to understand
  • Actionable

Where Should You Place CTAs?

Everywhere that’s relevant. Not just at the end of the article.

Consider that many readers won’t reach the end of your article. In this case, you need to include a CTA in the middle of the article.

Or, consider that some readers won’t even reach the middle of your article! If that’s the case, then you’d need to mention something about the client’s product or preferred action at the beginning of the article.

There is no single right placement for your CTA. Use it where appropriate, in a contextually relevant way, and without shouting at your reader. And without being overly blatant.

Think about how you like to read an article. You don’t mind mention of a product or service, especially if it adds to the overall conversation, but you shy away from blatant, loud declarations and exhortations.

We use one, or a combination, of three types of CTAs throughout articles.

1: End of the Blog CTAs

The reader has read through your article and now has a firmer grasp of the topic at hand. What do they do next? You can summarise the point of your article and then direct the reader to take an action. This might be to join a newsletter, buy a product or read another article in the blog.

The end of blog CTA is the most common. It’s a natural conclusion for your reader.

2: Embedded In-line CTAs

While you’re writing about comfortable dog leashes you can mention that our client has these available in a variety of sizes and colours, right in the middle of your article. These in-line CTAs are simply statements that provide more information on a topic but that also link to the client’s desired action, whether that be buying a product or signing up to a newsletter.

3: Product CTAs

Whereas in-line CTAs may tell a reader to read another article, contact the client, or look through a variety or products, including products and services is more specific. It’s more direct. It’s showing the reader what exactly they should buy.

If we are writing an article for a client with an eCommerce store, we can literally promote their product within the article with images, product names and product descriptions.

You can include a picture of the product or a screenshot of a gallery of products.

Try to avoid mentioning the price of a product/service as prices can change.

Learn How Conrad Created the Perfect CTA

Don’t Throw Your CTA in at the End of the Article as an Afterthought

It’s helpful to see examples of what not to do. This will give you some context as to what a CTA is not.

Here’s a great example of what not to do!

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  • Don’t end your article with an exclamation mark.
  • Avoid using exclamation marks with your CTA.
  • Avoid being overly sales-y with your language.
  • Don’t leave it until the very end of the article to try to sell the reader.
  • Don’t encapsulate your entire CTA into one final statement.
  • Don’t link the client’s name to their homepage. Link the product name to a product name.
  • Don’t link out to external website in the final CTA.

A CTA can be embedded into the article throughout and it can also be used as a final section to wrap up the premise of the article with a final solution. But, the CTA needs to be carefully worded, enticing, interesting and add a nudge, not a BANG, to the end of the article. Be classy.

Watch the following brief screencast to see how to improve on a conclusion and final CTAs in an article.

Avoid Overusing Exclamation Marks!

You really want to get over the finish line. I get it. But it doesn’t need to be a huge burst of excess energy at the end. One final throw.

Try to integrate your CTA throughout your article so that you don’t get to the end of the article and end up overusing your exclamation points in order to make a vain attempt to …. get your point across.

screenshot from a Google document

Further Reading

Although our focus is on textual CTAs – aka in-line CTAs – within blog posts, the main principles of creating CTAs is the same and as a content writer you can learn about CTA buttons and many other forms of CTAs.

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