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Call Your Readers to ACTION [Day 23: 31DBBB]

Posted By Darren Rowse 28th of April 2009 Writing Content 0 Comments

Today’s task in the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog challenge is another writing oriented one – it’s to write a post that contains some kind of a ‘Call to Action’.

While this type of post might not be one that you’ll use all of the time it is a handy style of post to have in your tool belt of blogging techniques as in the life of most blogs there are times that you want your readers to go beyond just ‘reading’ and to take some kind of action.

The types of actions this might include could be many and include:

  • Implementing something that you’ve written about
  • Subscribing to your RSS feed or an email newsletter
  • Buying an Affiliate Product
  • Writing a Comment
  • Voting in a Poll
  • Making a Donation to a Charity
  • Voting for you on a social bookmarking site
  • Buying a product that you’ve developed
  • Visiting another site
  • Hiring you for some service that you offer
  • To read something else you’ve written on your blog
  • Visiting your business site

The list could go on… and on….

Some of the ‘actions’ that you’ll want to call people to do are things that will benefit your blog and others are things that are just about applying the types of things you’re writing about (and of course some will benefit both you and your reader).

The ‘Problem’ of Passive Readers

call-to-action.jpgWhile the above list might seem like a list of fairly simple things to get readers to do the reality is that most blog readers are fairly passive. Looking at my own blogs I’d estimate that less than 1% actually make comments and that the vast majority of those who come to my blogs leave without ‘doing’ anything.

Talking to other bloggers I get the feeling that I’m not the only one with passive readers. How about you… would you like to have a more active and interactive readership?

How do we snap readers out of passivity?

Learning how to call your readers to ‘action’ is not something that happens over night. There are some techniques that I can point you to that will help – but the best way to learn how to do it is to practice your calls to action and see what works best for you.

Hence… today’s task – to write a ‘Call to Action’ post.

Before you attempt today’s task I would highly recommend that you read my recent post – 12 Tips to SNAP Readers out of Passivity.

It contains some useful tips and techniques that will help you in today’s task. Once you’ve read it all you need to do before writing your post is to choose the action that you want your readers to take.

If you’ve not done this type of thing before choose something simple and achievable (eg. getting readers to comment or subscribing to your feed). Another option might be to write about a book that you’ve read and recommend and call people to action to buy it at Amazon with an affiliate link.

Really the action that you’ll want to call people to will depend upon the goals of your blog.

Once you’ve written your post I’d love to hear how you go with it.

  • Do you have passive readers?
  • What techniques did you use to call people to action?
  • Did it work?
  • How would you do it differently next time?
  • What have you done previously that has got your readers ‘doing’ something?

Update: You can share the above at the forum post for this task: Call Your Readers to ACTION (Day 23)

Want More?

This task is a sample of one of the tasks in the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Workbook – a downloadable resource designed to reinvigorate and revitalize blogs.

Join over 14,000 other bloggers and Get your Copy Today.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. Darren,

    I try to make specific call to actions on my blogs, however they’re usually very passive.

    I used today’s post to be more direct about the CTA…




  2. My blog is very, very new, so I can’t say whether my readers are passive are not.

    But since my blog is based solely on my opinions and thoughts, and I know that it’s pretty hard to be interested in some random blogger’s opinion, I always try to make my posts relatable and relevant for everyone.

    I think it helps the readers feel more comfortable with sharing their own experiences and opinions… I hope so, anyway.

  3. After enjoying a sudden burst of followers (thanks), comments, and the like, I am seeing a cool down. I am continuing to perform each tip, and I can see results from them. It is the tips as a whole that add up, that bring us all to the top! My studio photo blog is at full steam ahead!

  4. Today I added a poll – So I am looking for visitors to discuss their thinking habits.


    Thanks for inspiring this post.

  5. I have been running contests asking for comments or tweets in exchange for books or licenses of our products. It works but I can’t keep that up. I do hope that the comments and traffic keep up. Oh and did I mention that my traffic is up 30% at least? Very nice…

  6. I went all “outrage” on my blog tonight, (very rare for me) and specifically asked for reader’s opinions.

    At the end I included a question, “Is this post worth a stumble?” I wonder if that’s considered appropriate, but I made sure I qualified it so it was clear I wasn’t asking for unearned stumbles.

    What do y’all think? http://www.reallifeblog.net/2009/04/dear-american-idol-mom-takes-stand.html

  7. I wrote one of these posts on Sunday. I challenged my readers to change the way they deal with feedback and to share the results.


  8. I started off the 31 days pretty well. Then I got a little behind. Then a little more. Then I started getting the emails at 11 o’clock at night, so I was starting a whole day behind the 8 ball.

    So anyway, this is more a call to action for myself, to start doing the 31 day project again. I guess I can always catch up. Was going to write a blog on Friday about sweeteners for Fight Back Friday on the Food Renegade blog. So, I guess I will include a call to action!!

  9. That’s nice. That actions of reader is very effective if possibly made it all by a certain viewer. Sometimes some readers are not reading the articles completely.

  10. WooHoo!
    I can’t believe we are slowly winding our way towards completing the workshop and this is definitely worth a call to action! I have used my blog to address both popular and motivational topics and I always encourage my audience to act.

    My most recent blog is on the phenom that we know as Susan Boyle and the focus on her appearance. I have invited all to add their voices as I don’t claim to have all the answers. http://bit.ly/qeIBs

    My piece on Ending Malaria also called all to action by either contributing or getting the word out. http://bit.ly/mmDwC

    My blog on 12 Tips for a stress-free job interview invites both my audience and a reader who left a comment to write in… http://bit.ly/fm7gk

    Doing our best D! Thank you!

  11. I would say that if the resource is valuable users would eagerly perform some actions. Recently i observed an interesting situation. Some very authoritative online translator (will not mention it)) was being carried on other servers and thus was not working for 2-3 days. the feedback was immediate: hundreds of comments with offers to help financially and technically. The resource really is of great value for people and some cannot even work without it so no special techniques were needed to call people to action. just be useful!!!

  12. You are right when you said that a good amount of people who visit the blogs don’t do anything but browse and walk away. I have often seen that though the traffic to my blog is very huge, there are very less amount of people who would normally comment or, do anything else on my blog.
    I normally offer a free and valuable ebook to people who would subscribe to my RSS through feedburner. Though the success rate in getting people to sign up is very low, it still works.

  13. Saturday I asked readers to participate in writing a simple poem in honor of National Poetry Month, and offered to write a post highlighting the blog of each person who joined me—no response so far.

    Monday I gave a call to action for a book promotion project, and didn’t specifically ask for a reply on my blog. There is no way to know if anyone did it since there are still no comments on it.

    Today I asked readers to recommend books for me to read…hopefully that will generate replies from someone besides the two faithful readers who comment on the majority of my posts.

  14. I just wanted to report a minor success due to this post. To complete this assignment, I coupled the ideas here with others I have learned from ProBlogger. I regularly get a big flux of traffic on Tuesdays, but have never made specific aims to welcome those visitors directly.

    Yesterday, I added a “welcome visitors from site X and site Y” blurb above my first post with an invitation to subscribe by RSS or email. Many days I have around 10 new subscribers and others less. Yesterday I had 20, breaking the 400 mark. I feel very confident I can reach my goal of 500 by the end of June.

    I know it’s not a lot, but my blog soft-launched in December, with a grand opening in January. I’ve seen steady growth, including direct ad sales, much of which I credit to my ProBlogger education.

    I feel more confident wearing my ProBlogger tshirt outside the home now, all because of the 31DBBB series!

  15. Our Civic Duty (in America) is my call to action post I just wrote. http://lindylou-abbott.blogspot.com/2009/04/our-civic-duty.html

    We all have a responsibility as a citizen. We have a voice and we are the “We The People” of the constitution. USA is people run not government run!

    Give it a look (:

    Thank you for giving this assignment.

  16. Do have any old university tomes lying in the garage? Are your kids textbooks using up a whole chunk of space in the cellar? Could your office bookshelves and your home library do with a good spring clean?

    Instead of building a bonfire or handing off to an anonymous 2nd-hand shop, could you maybe help Alexander out instead?


  17. I am going to include a “bonus item” when people subsribe so lets see how that goes.

  18. I end most of my posts by asking my readers a question and asking them to share their opinion.

    I also set-up a static page that lists some of the questions I’ve asked on the various blog posts so they can find something they may be interested in contributing to, even if the post they are reading isn’t right for them the time. Here’s what it looks like: http://wealthwisdomandsuccess.com/success/join-the-conversation. This page is new so I don’t know yet what kind of effect it will have.

    Also, every post has a section below the post that starts out “Dear Success Oriented Reader” which invites people to comment and subscribe.

    So far, I’ve still had a difficult time getting people to comment, but my feed subscribers have risen since adding that.

  19. This one has been bookmarked. I love the ideas. I am always looking for easy/free ways to market the crap out of my new site. Thanks!

    @ezFreeSamples – Twitter

  20. I asked my readers to sign up for SMS text alerts. About 5% of my readers followed through. Its a start ;)

  21. This is a great idea and can help build a sense of community too – which is what I am after with my sites.

    Something I have done for the past couple of months on one site is to have a ‘get off your arse Thursday’!

    My one site focuses on reducing landfill waste, so Thursday’s are all about getting my readers to take one small action or cross something off their procrastination list that will help them reduce their waste.

    It’s gathering momentum and I keep it light hearted and fun and give away a silly prize with it. You can view last week’s here:


    I’m going to read your article now though, because, like you, only a tiny percentage of readers actually bother to comment and I’d love to be able to help change that!

    Thanks for another fabby and inspiring day!

  22. Thanks for your suggestions Darren, I have done this post a few days ago, with a pool asking my readers if they were interested by a forum on site:


    The response has been positive and I went on with it. My forum opened yesterday.

  23. Thanks for this great post. For the last couple of weeks I have placed a call to action on my site http://www.TheGospelBlog.com encouraging readers to share my posts on their favorite social networking site. I’m not sure if it has been effective or not.

  24. I opted to use a poll – I’ve had good results with this before
    Who Does She Look the Most Like?

  25. This one I am pretty good at, in different ways. In this post I reminded people to sign up for our School of SocialFish workshops before they fill up, and in this one I asked people to help my biz partner Lindy with association-industry burning questions she could bring to the Smart Brief Advisory Board on their behalf. These are only two examples, I bet I could come up with a whole ton more. I try and ask people to participate a lot. Often it just takes an ask.

  26. My blog is very new and I do not have a lot of visitors yet. I am trying to learn all I can about blogging. I am reading all the advice and tips and I found a lot of information on your blog. I have found answers to so many questions I had in mind about blogging. Thanks!!

  27. I actually just did this on my personal blog, before even reading your post (I`m a little behind). I highlighted a local organization here in Guatemala that doesn`t just give the poor food, but they are running a special program to provide families with chickens that they can raise for food and profit. It`s a wonderful example of “teach a man to fish and he`ll eat for a lifetime” and I asked my readers to consider donating $3.50 to buy a chicken. The response was wonderful and so far 22 chickens have been donated . . . all from one little call to action.

    You can see it here: http://www.expatmom.info/got-350-feed-a-family/

  28. I gave a call to action for a book promotion project, and didn’t specifically ask for a reply on my blog. There is no way to know if anyone did it since there are still no comments on it.

  29. I always ask questions at the end of my posts and hope my readers will answer. They sometimes do, which makes me really happy.

    This time, I wrote a post about how the whole Susan Boyle phenomenon could be used as a lesson plan (I am an EFL teacher). I called my readers to share their lesson plans or, if they are not EFL teachers, to share their dream. We all have dreams.

    Here is my post: http://lunas994.blogspot.com/2009/04/lets-have-susan-boyle-moment.html#links

    By the way, has anyone else fallen behind? Or is it just me?

  30. there are times that I asked them to share me their idea on what I wrote. But it seems that my readers really don’t interact with me. Most of my blogpost got only 5 to 10 comments from readers.

  31. The problem with most blogs today is that there is a lot of passive readers out there. Often, I would describe passsive readers as those who constantly skims through your blogs and loves every minute of it though he or she couldn’t care less with leaving a feedback or comment on your post. Although I really appreciate it if somebody cared to drop by my blog, I appreciate it more if he or she will leave a comment saying that he/she was pleased or some corrections if I was mistaken with something on my post.

    In your post, I remember one blogsite owner. He would post this wonderful topics that are very helpful to his fellow bloggers as well and at the end of every post, there would be an icon of a beer mug and then a link saying: “Like this post? Do me a favor and buy me a drink” or something along those lines. I still find it funny but it is a good call to action.

  32. I like this idea. As I have a travel blog, I try to entice comments to up my website’s popularity. I also find the Amazon affiliate links helpful for a few extra bucks, as I like to recommend travel books.

  33. My call to action is for readers to “ask a question”. Here’s what I wrote in my most recent post:

    I’ve started a new series at my blog, Fit for Faith, called “Ask the Expert”. It’s a Q & A format that will address common questions fitness enthusiasts may have. Drop by and leave a comment. Better yet, ask a question!


  34. Whenever I end up posting on Saturdays (I post every three days no matter what day it is) I’ll be posting a call to action to be an advocate for special needs children. My most recent post in this category is: http://thesimplelifekdl.blogspot.com/2009/05/ride-for-autism.html
    I think it’s going to be a lot of fun to find ideas for posts in this category.

  35. wow.I like this idea. Kind of physically taking yourself out of the ‘box’ and so getting your thinking out of the box as well.

    Great suggestion Darren, will definately plan time for this in the next few days

  36. I think a call to action (especially with a benefit) is even more important for us newer bloggers.  People will naturally comment on the big name blogs and high PR blogs in the hope of getting traffic and attention. Lets face it we all suffer from information overload and we really can’t expect others to sit down to write a meaning full comment, digg or stumbleupon to our posts – even if it is a great post, unless of course there is a “what’s in it for me” type benefit in doing so.
    Given that most of the people who comment or bookmark are newer people with blogs of their own, I think offering to reciprocate a comment on their blog would be a worthwhile benefit. With this in mind we went back and produced a little “we support blogging community” badge on some of our posts offering to comment back on peoples blogs if people also leave relevant comments on our posts.

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