On a recent trip to New Orleans, I was walking through the French Quarter enjoying the street musicians and performers. It wasn’t Mardi Gras, but there still seemed to be a brass band on every corner.
One group of dancers was really drawing a crowd, and I wandered over to see what the commotion was. A father and his two small children were doing an amazing break dance routine, and the crowd loved it. The kids were probably no older than eight, but they danced like pros.
At the end of their routine, I said to one of the kids, “good job,” and without skipping a beat, he grabbed a tip bucket and shoved it in my face as if to say, “Pay me now.”
His brashness startled me, but I quickly realized this was how things worked in New Orleans. Street performers never wait around for tourists to throw a few bucks in the tip jar. They take things into their own hands, literally, and go from person to person actually soliciting payment for their entertainment services. And they make bank.
Bloggers: The Street Performers of the Internet
I don’t think having a blog or a web page is much different than being a street performer. Instead of tourists, there are countless casual browsers looking for entertainment or to pass some time. And instead of performing an epic dance routine, you write blog posts complete with entertaining stories and vivid photographs.
If you put hard work into your blog and come up with great content, then you’re likely to impress more than a few people. But unless you do something about it—showing them the proverbial tip jar—then your readers will just move on without a second thought.
The Call to Action Is Your Tip Bucket
Of course, people can’t exactly throw their pocket change at your blog.
You may not even be interested in direct payment from your readers—at least not right away. For much of the time you simply want people to share your blog with friends, or join your email list, or write in the comment section. Other times you do actually want them to purchase a product or service.
Either way, you still need to push and prod your readers in the general direction of taking action, which is where the call to action comes in.
What is a Call to Action?
The call to action is a short paragraph, about one or two sentences, usually located at the bottom of the blog post. You want to use strong action verbs to entice your readers to act right away. Including a hyperlink to a contact page or services page is also a great idea.
Here are some examples of a call to action:
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The 8-year-old break dancer can probably get away with shoving a tip jar in someone’s face. You need to be a little more subtle with your blog.
Many people are uncomfortable coming right out and asking for money from their readers. If you come across as too pushy, or like you’re constantly giving a sales pitch, then you’ll probably scare away most potential customers. However, if you truly are providing great content for your readers, and you ask them to give back, they will.
In the end, your content needs to stand out above the crowd. But just like tourists need to be reminded to tip, readers need to be reminded to give back to your blog as well.
Did you find this blog helpful? Have anything to add? Let us know what you think in the comments below! (How’s that for a call to action?)