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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.

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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. I’ve been trying to offer giveaways on Sunday’s to help encourage my readers to comment.

    Hopefully by seeing how easy it is to comment they will be more apt to do it in the future on a post they particularly like.

    The first contest had 52 entries, which I considered to be a great turnout. I am simply mailing out some of my old books within my niche, so I’m only paying for postage.

    For me, this is a small price to pay to try and get some people stirred up and commenting more!

  2. @darren rowse
    I had already written post for calling readers to help my blog by leavinga comment ans subscribing to my feed and if they like article submit it to social networking sites.
    Here is the article. http://computersservicing.blogspot.com/2009/03/help-us.html

  3. Call to actions are extremely useful. One of my favorite books, The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur has a call to action at the end of every chapter. This makes the experience of the book so much better, as it can actually be used as a work book for business.

    Hellomynameisblog.com also has great call to actions on a lot of posts.

    When it comes to passivity of readers:

    Perhaps our readers are passive because we are. If we just hope they will do what we want them to do organically, without us being clear about what that is, we will probably be disappointed.

    If, on the other hand, we say “Hey, do this to get this result” we may be surprised. I personally need to overcome my own passivity and give better directions on my blog.

    What do you think? Can our action or lack of action as bloggers effect our readers actions?

    Please share your thoughts on this.

  4. I think one of the most important ideas in this post may be the reminder to bloggers that the blog is (or should be) a two way street. It reminds me that my purpose in writing is to engage readers actively. If all I want to do is hear myself talk for the sake of talking, then I don’t need a call to action. If I want to make a difference, then people need to want to do something after reading the blog. Thanks for the reminder.

    Of course, at this early stage of my blog, I’d settle for even passive readers, but I am going to keep this concept in my mind as I go along, and I’ll work on my call to action post.

  5. If you’ve got a new blog, isn’t a call to action just going to be seen as desperation?

  6. I recently hosted a readers’ pool for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Although I didn’t get a ton of participants, those that I did are now hooked to my site.

  7. I sort of did something like this already when I asked my readers to join Twitter. But I will think of another action post. Thanks for this!

  8. Hey,

    I’m not sure about dedicating a whole post as a call-to-action one (I think it will come across as rather transparent) but I always try to add a line at the end “what are your thoughts” or “don’t forget to subscribe for updates”.

    I’m not sure about the actual conversion rates of adding those lines but it does seem hard to really call readers to action. At the end of the day, people will only act if they really WANT to… It’s a saddening thought but you probably do have to offer some kind of freebie if you really want to make a noticeable difference.

    This is something I am currently putting a lot of thought into for my blog as I want my blog to be pure valuable content without much noticeable ‘filler’ such as these suggestions.


  9. Yes Darren ,
    This is a cool tip. I have started my blog very recently and i notice that many people have visted the blog but not a single comment { Good /bad }. It really frustating , like you just want them do it .. But now after your article , i will let u know how it went . Thanks

    Blogging for Optimum Health

  10. I normally write my post with a question at the end of the post- a form of call to action for my readers.

  11. Thanks Darren, one of the more difficult things for me to determine is how to create a call to action on my blog without it feeling too much like I’m pushing the idea. This article helped a lot.

  12. I’ll be telling people about the new audio feed on my blog and inviting them to subscribe.

  13. I had written a guest post for an online buddy last week: How to Bring Sexy Back into Your Blog. It was my first guest post.

    When it went live, I announced my guest posting stint on my blog. I asked my readers to pay my blog buddy a visit to read my post. I also asked them not to comment on my post, but to head directly to my friend’s blog and to leave their comment there.

    A majority of my active blog commenters read my guest post and left comment on my friend’s blog. And they went back to my blog to report what they did – and left another comment in my blog. A few loyal souls heeded my instructions, but they went back to my blog and chose to leave their comment in my place. Odd, but I let it be.

    I did not close blog commenting on my blog because I could not do it selectively in Blogspot. Maybe I should have.

    My finding is that readers often do as told especially if they trust you and you have active interaction with them. They seem to feel a stake in your blog, a sense of belonging that when you ask them for something they usually deliver.

    Up next for me will be to ask my regular viewers to visit a new reader’s blog. I think that has a nice community building ring to it. Secondly, it’s not all about me this time, but one of their own.

  14. I’ve a lot of readers but less than 1% comments. Sometimes, in older or controversial post the people used to comment. Now, I really don’t know how to do the people to take an action.

  15. I’m actually surprised by how active my readers are. My posts always get lots of comments, and from those I get great ideas for more articles.

    That said, I’ve got some ideas for competitions and giveaways coming up, so we’ll see how that shakes things up.

  16. I rarely call my blog readers to check out my sight or to consider hiring me to speak. I did it in this post because of your prompting. I will let you know if people click through.



  17. Hi Darren,
    well, I just finished reading my first novel on the Amazon Kindle. I would like people to buy the book, buy the Kindle, subscribe to my newsletter, in the latest issue of which I have written an extensive review of the novel I read, and of course subscribe to my feed.

    Is it wrong to ask people to do more than one thing? Should the call to action be limited to one action only? I know that we are always being told to keep things simple, but I don’t like treating my readers as if they were children.

    Any suggestion from the great Darren Rowse would be highly appreciated!!!


  18. For my personal blog: My call to action’s purpose was to 1) draw attention to a reader and 2) draw support to this readers

    My topic: “Say “no” to dance theft”


    For my business blog: I’m looking to get some giveaways and to win, readers will need to subscibe to my blog amongst other to dos’. This post will be a future post.

  19. I’ve been writing about women and chronic pain. At the end (of most) of the posts I list at least one action step to take with the material. Usually I don’t have any responses via the comments. I am hoping that the material is helpful.

    Maybe I need to word my action steps differently?

    THe current post is here: http://fruitfulwords.wordpress.com/2009/04/28/things-to-donot-do-for-a-woman-in-chronic-pain/

  20. Thanks for your tips. I started a blog to help fundraising to buy my son a special device to help him walk. I have a lot of support from friends but don’t know how to reach more people. I will apply some of your tips.
    Hope some readers will help me.


  21. I am a portrait photographer and am using an online scheduling service so clients can schedule appointments online.

    I just posted a special, with a link to book online.


    I feature client’s session images, and when their friends visit our blog to see image, we get bookings on those days. We’ve been using the online scheduling for about 3 years now, and it is one of our most effective cal to actions online.

  22. I use POLLS when I have a photo contest. In fact I have one running now where 250 photos were submitted and narrowed to 10. I would LOVE for all of you to come VOTE.

    Here is a link to the poll so you can see how I set it up – and vote on 3 favorites if you wish:


    I also use polls to survey my readers and find out more about them or what they like, etc…

    Very effective.

    MCP Actions

  23. Hah, I just happened to exactly this yesterday. A call to action was my whole reason for posting. I wanted to call attention to the trademark infringement fiasco Leo Babauta is currently involved in.

    My post, “Get up, stand up”, is here:


  24. Hi Darren,
    I would agree with other commenters that it is really a good idea to end the post with ‘A call to action’ like asking a question, apply the method or subscribe to RSS, twitter etc.
    But the problem I see generally is most of the readers on my blog are generally reading the article in an e-Newsletter. And more so often, they happen to read it while in office, where they are a little bit reluctant to open any website.
    Probably, if there was an option to comment by replying to e-Newsletter, then I think I would have got lots of comments on most of my articles. Because people do reply my e-Newsletter, mentioning they liked the tip, article or recording etc. and how it will be beneficial for them.
    I think, most of the time it is not the passivity, it is more of a convenience which holds the reader comments back.

    Hope you agree with me.

    I myself have added a Call to action in my blog post footer and it seems to work pretty well.

    My recent article asking for an action is:

    Anurag Bansal
    Follow me on Twitter @knowliz

  25. Whoops, forgot a word in that last post.

    I just also wanted to say that it really worked. I asked people to tweet, facebook, digg, and stumble this story, and they certainly have. All I did was ask!

  26. I’m actually surprised by how active my readers are. My posts always get lots of comments, and from those I get great ideas for more articles.

  27. Debra says: 04/29/2009 at 1:40 am

    I am reading your blog and Yaro Starks Mastermind ebooks. I am trying to learn all I can about blogging. I am studying all the advice , tips,reading all the blogs I can and also subscribing to as many RSS Feeds I can about the blog world. I am very passionate about this and I want to learn all I can from all of those who offer their help and ebooks. Yall are all doing a great job of explaining and setting forth opportunities for people like me who doesn’t know much about how to get started and such. Anyway, Thanks to all , and keep up the great work.
    My only problem is I am having a very hard time picking out a niche to begin. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Again Keep up the good work.
    [email protected]

  28. Love this task, and what i’ve done so far in my local blog, in the end of article i always put a sentence/suggestion to my readers which point that they are free to agree, disagree, or else related mine. The next one is a kind of reminder which work just like a ‘command’ that a form is fully dedicated to readers related the articles. So, it would be good if they use it.

    I also pointing, that by having a value added comment will help them in some traffic to their site.

    Else, i highlight that BLOGGING is 2 ways communication and it would be unfair if they do not share their mind with me.

    3C: Content Counter by Comment – 3A: Article Ask an Action.

    Any idea, response, or suggestion from you Darren?

    Would be glad if i can hear it directly right here :-)

  29. I added a new page to my blog on Sunday night. It details a writing productivity program I am conducting in conjunction with a well-established writing program (Complete That Manuscript). My “call to action” is getting readers to register for the program, which will help them overcome their procrastinating behaviors and get their novel written in 10 weeks.

    Here’s a link to the page: http://www.procrastinatingwritersblog.com/procrastinating-writers-unite-to-complete-that-manuscript/

  30. I usually include a call to action on every post, something a long the lines of “I would love to know how you feel about this, let me know in a post or a comment”

    But I think I am going to take this assignment and do a whole post asking for something… just gotta figure out what LOL

  31. I also did auction on my blog http://3arabax.blogspot.com/. It was to win free 1 month rapidshare account, and all what was to do is to post anything funny ( pics, vids,..etc) you can believe it, i had only 1 visitor commenting from about 250 visitors in week. and of course he win it :). It was very frustrationg for me.But it’s ok for me 100% are passive. i go to about 10 blogs/ day randomly mostly arrounf my tags, and never get this bloggers to come to me back. whatever!
    Thank you Darren for another great post.

  32. Love this post Darren.

    I’ll bet there are thousands of bloggers out there that are totally frustrated about this problem – me included.

    Perhaps there is a point to make the econometrics of the blogosphere – are there too few readers compared to too many blogs? If all bloggers were to receive their expected comment volumes, will that require the current readership to be commenting for more hours than a day provides? (Forget the motivation to do so!)

    Anyway, if we were to believe in abundance…

    I found two methods of inducing comments.

    1) I ran a monthly commentator leaderboard where I would give the top commentator for the month ten bucks. This worked! And the quality of comments went UP, not DOWN as I thought might happen (thinking that readers would try to game my offer). I don’t do this now as I really just did it to get commenting off the ground.

    2) I instigated a charity fundraiser where I would pay 10cents for every comment left on my blog (with other contributions for number of social bookmarks). I raised $1,000 for cancer research charities (being a cancer survivor myself). This brought in loads of comments and stumbles and the like but only for the duration of the fundraiser. I am looking to discover a more sustainable tactic.


  33. That twitter stuff is addictive. My call to action would be to pull me away. =o)>

  34. Hi,

    I’ve just written a new blogpost titled ‘dealing with arguments in relationships’ http://sparklife.info/blog/2009/04/dealing-arguments-relationship/ where I attempted a call-to-action at the end.

    Do people think this is enough? And also does anyone know ways of specifically tracking how many people do the call to action?



  35. As I’m writing for non-governmental and non-profit pages too, that type of posts are most in these pages and blogs.
    * Do you have passive readers?
    – Yes. They should be/are (IMHO) on every blog.
    * What techniques did you use to call people to action?
    – One technique (#1) is posting for action.But this is more for active. Second (#2) was putting links in RSS post footer. That worked for passive readers.
    * Did it work?
    – #1 yes, #2 yes.
    * How would you do it differently next time?
    – Be more ready for passive readers, because some times too many passive readers are becoming active.
    * What have you done previously that has got your readers ‘doing’ something?
    – writing and interlinking
    On e-art.lv I even created page for people, who would like to join some creative projects AND receive information about them – http://e-art.lv/jaunumi/aicinajums-pieteikties/ (coming soon in English too)

  36. Passive readers are equal to readers who help the bounce rate to increase. Not a good thing. But usually if you ask call to action, people leave.

  37. It’s funny, because I had just completed a “call to action” post right before I read this. Actually, my whole blog really is a call to action, but this particular post (http://bit.ly/du6gU) really seemed to be appreciated by people on Twitter, even though I don’t have any comments yet.

    I gave a lot of thought to the title: “Why Children are Not Reading, and What We Can Do About It,” as per your previous suggestion, and I think it helped!

    I’m glad that I actually got to do one of the assigned posts on time, because usually I plan out my posts before I receive your email. I must admit that I have fallen behind with the assignments, but do read your updates regularly.

    Thank you for sharing so much valuable information with us!

  38. I’ve found that in most cases a question at the end of a post is not answered. A lot of readers prefer to say their piece and that’s not always related to a question. But I still ask the questions anyway. It seems to complete the post.

    This year I organized an online project where I invited my readers to submit some of their own original inspirational or humorous quotes. Thirty-three of us submitted 90 quotes to what is now called The Quote Effect. It was great.

    Then, I discovered an ebook by another blogger. I purchased a few copies because I was so enthralled with it. I offered them as a give-away, but the response was low. You just never know.

  39. I have built a poll using PollDaddy asking people what sort of articles they’d like to see me create for them.

    Maybe I should have added a final option of “Forget it, the blog’s crap, just wrap it up” but I wasn’t that brave!!

  40. Yeah. But we have to plan carefully how we want to bring the readers into action.

    When you got this, you win =D

  41. Not sure about today just yet; my updates go up the midnight before I get these things.

    The most effective call to action I ever wrote wasn’t actually for my blog; it was a guest book review for one of my colleagues a few months ago. While I didn’t actually get much by way of comments on it, I did notice that three different bloggers suddenly had the same several decade old collection of writing essays at the top of their wish lists.

  42. Darren – I really appreciate the way you keep readers waiting for your posts.

    I am all the more eager to see what you would do after the 31DBBB.

  43. Thank you for this idea, it sparked a light in me that made my fingers fly across the keyboard with my today’s blog.

    I write a travel blog of the Western U.S. Todays blog was a threefold call to action. I called for vacationers visiting the Grand Canyon North Rim, Zion and Bryce National Parks to take an extra day an volunteer at a no kill animal sanctuary as part of their vacation.

    I am interested to see the response – comments! I will let you all know. You will have to see my blog to find out what the other two call to action items are in this blog:
    Thank you for keeping me inspired!

  44. I’ve put up a weekly Mr Linky asking for fellow bloggers to link to frugal deals posts, and for non-bloggers to leave comments-so far the results have been less than spectacular.

    I’ve done giveaways with good subscription and comment results, and participated in a couple of bloggy carnivals where I received a far amount of traffic and comments.

    Everyday posts, though, just do not seem to draw many, if any, comments or interaction, even asing questions at the end.

  45. I have some regular call to action “things” in place–RSS subscription request, leave a comment below, etc.

    For my audience (who tend not to be very web savvy believe it or not) I actually find that doing blog posts that address really specific niche problems work well.

    They attract a lot of traffic and the affiliate links actually work pretty well sprinkled through the article since they help solve the problem.

    What my readers seem to enjoy is when I pick up their questions submitted via email and blog about it. I still might not get comments but they do email…I am still working on teaching them how to do blog comments.

    On the flip side, they are VERY responsive to any of my email requests. When I only had about 500 subscribers more than 50 responded to a survey I sent out.

    I am just starting to share products and services with them and look forward to seeing how the community progresses…many have been subscribers for over five years!

  46. Thanks again Darren for another great tip. I am going to include a “bonus item” when people subsribe so lets see how that goes.

    Heidi Richards Mooney

  47. I’ve actually done this twice in the past few days. (I swear, I’m reading ahead or something).

    The first was a VERY popular blog about possible baby names for my next son (due in July). more than 3x as many comments as any post on our site before. Link here: http://www.weareawesome.net/weareawesome.net/A_Rogues_Life_%28blog%29/Entries/2009/4/22_Whats_in_a_Name.html

    The second (which I’m certain won’t be quite as popular) hasn’t had a lot of time to work as I only posted it last night, but I promote the new EP of a great independent band. Link here: http://www.weareawesome.net/weareawesome.net/A_Rogues_Life_%28blog%29/Entries/2009/4/26_Run_%22Rabbit%22_Run.html

    Good suggestions in your “12 tips” blog, Darren (as always)

  48. I am a portrait photographer and am using an online scheduling service so clients can schedule appointments online.

    I just posted a special, with a link to book online.


    I feature client’s session images, and when their friends visit our blog to see image, we get bookings on those days. We’ve been using the online scheduling for about 3 years now, and it is one of our most effective cal to actions online.

  49. I love this – my call to action is have readers commit to Spreading Joy’s 30 day challenge. It is doing one thing for someone everyday for 30 days so that they may build a habit of giving.

    I include tips on how to go about Spreading Joy – and the picture is of something that I do occasionally – Giving out Little Debbie Cakes.

    I challenged them to commit to it by letting me know in the comment section or the “Tell Me Your Story” section of my website (www.spreadingjoycorp.com)

    I want to be able to report back at the end of the month all the things that “WE” accomplished together to make a huge difference.

    Here is my article


    Thanks again for prompting us to do this.

  50. I just wrote a call to action post on my more personal blog. This post I pray gets comments.


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