What Do You Want Your Readers to Do?3 min read

Why do you blog? Why did you choose to blog about your topic? What do you get out of it? What are we, your readers, getting out of it?

And, finally, are we doing what you want use to do? Following your blog, downloading your ebook,  signing up for your newsletter?

These are all important questions that you must answer. Be honest. How much time do you spend thinking about these questions?

Do you know your why?

How do you get your readers to do what you want them to do?

Well, there’s this secret technique that only a select few of the blogging world know about.

You get your readers to do something… by asking them.

Annoyed? Think I’m pulling your leg?

Don’t be. Most of your blog posts don’t do it.

And that’s why your readers never do what you want them to do.

If you want to be persuasive, you need a strong call to action

What do you think about when writing a blog post? You sit down at your desk, having been visited by the muse in your sleep or in the shower, and furiously start writing away?

Do you think about the emotions that your reader is supposed to feel? What are they going to learn from all this?

What should they do after reading your blog post?

You never thought about that? How so?

If your blog post has no call to action, no one is going to act. It’s that simple.

Be specific

If you want your reader to take action, use highly specific language with clear, concrete details. Don’t leave any question about what you want to see happen. And don’t be afraid to be a little “too obvious.”

Your readers are not stupid; they’re just not paying much attention

As you’re writing, you’ll think you have made yourself stupidly clear. You spent 10 hours working on the perfect blog post. It’s clear that you want them to subscribe to your blog, comment, like the post, share it with everyone they ever met.

It’s obvious.

Well… not really.

Because, in reality, your reader may have found your perfect post on Twitter and spent 30 seconds skimming the subheads. He read the first sentence twice because he thought it was funny; then he skipped down and read part of the last paragraph.

Then you got lucky — instead of exiting your post and going on Youtube to watch cats being cats, your reader’s boss (most of your readers are going to be reading your stuff at work; it’s a fact) decided to make an appearance and  came up behind his cube and your reader had to think fast. He brought up a spreadsheet to look like he was working.

After the boss was gone, your reader spent the next 20 minutes surfing videos of epic fails, then he spent some time in his e-mail inbox.

Four minutes before he shut down for the day, he noticed your post again, so he read your first paragraph and one of the sections that looked kind of interesting…

Your readers are not stupid, but there are a lot of things clamoring for their attention.

So no, no one is going to know what to do next unless you spell it out with painful clarity.

It might be hard to believe, but many folks don’t instantly get that they are supposed to click here. You have to tell them.

Decide what action you want your readers to take. Ask them to take that action. Ask them clearly, succinctly, and unmistakably.

Put at least one unambiguous call to action into every piece of persuasive writing you create. You’ll see results.

Cristian Mihai

Became Internet famous by the age of 23. Never recovered. I write short author bios all over the web. I’m an acquired taste. Don’t like me? Acquire some taste.

21 thoughts on “What Do You Want Your Readers to Do?3 min read

  1. So how to carry out this self assessment? I share my thoughts and readers like or comment or both. But I would for sure, like more responses.Musings and reflections can have a ” call to action”, how?

  2. This applies to comments too. Help readers think of what to comment on.
    Does that mean we expect readers (and ourselves) to need lots of large breadcrumbs in order to follow a thought trail or do an action? Is that better in the Big Picture of life or worse. Maybe it’s like the saying on my favorite hat: “It is what it is.”

  3. Something we all probably know in the back of our mind, but great reminder, thank you. I’m just now trying to bring my blog back to life after a long abandonment. Your tips are helpful. Thinking I need to put more time into my posts, being then up a level or ten.

    1. Thank you, Cindy. And this is my purpose: to show people what is hidden in plain sight, for these are the things that most impact our success in life.

  4. This seems so obvious and yet it’s not. It’s something that I forget to do all the time.

    Question: When first creating an email-list, what is the best way to create a call to action? Should I write a blog first letting them know that I created one and telling them to sign up? Should I tell them to sign up at the end of each blog? I don’t want to be too annoying about it so I don’t know how to do it correctly.

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