What businesses get wrong on their blog
Business blogs have evolved to become an almost standard feature on most websites. And in our line of work, we see many organisations doing great things – they feature decent, thorough and helpful content that really speaks to the customer and sets the tone as an industry authority, without being a hard sell. But time and again, we see the same common mistake popping up on so many blogs. And it all comes down to the very last line. The blog content has excited us, informed us and left us wanting more and yet… nothing.
All too commonly, blog posts end with either a cue to write a comment, the option to share the article on social media or just, nothing. Are you really too scared to ask for more from your reader? After all, you’ve just given them some pretty amazing insights and information.
So let’s take a look at the all elusive call to action and the type of call to action that works best in a blog setting.
Common mistakes in blog calls to action
Even though your blog subject should steer away from being too pushy, there is still room for a good, well thought out call to action – asking the reader to do something further. What we commonly see however, is something like:
- If you found this article interesting, please make an appointment.
- Request a consultation.
- Contact us for more information.
Not only is this style of call to action very generic, it’s also asking a bit much of the reader. They’re only just getting to know you, so asking them to call you is quite frankly a little scary, and is an investment in time and effort they’re not prepared to give you yet. It’s like asking for their hand in marriage after the first date! At this stage, they’re probably still finding out about you, what problems you solve and for who, and whether you’re going to be a good values fit for them. They’re in the information gathering stage and don’t yet know or trust your business.
Tips for writing a good blog call to action
Ideally, if you’ve provided good helpful content, answered an important question for the reader or given them something of value, then the next step should be to give them another piece of content that they will find value in – either in a downloadable or gated format. It’s not just a link to another blog, it’s something they can take away from their read and use in their business. It’s a piece of your intellectual property that you’re willing to share with the reader. Think checklist, template, case study or tool kit. It relates to the blog but is an even higher value piece of content.
And here’s the tip: The takeaway piece of content you provide will generally tie in with a problem that your company can eventually help solve for this target customer.
Gated and ungated content – what’s the difference?
Gated content: As the name suggests, gated content is only available behind an access gate – they can’t just click to download. In order to receive the content, the reader must give their details and email address. And yes, this does contribute to making money for your business because once you have their email address, you can begin building a relationship with them and slowly build towards a sale.
Gated content should always click through to a very simple landing page where you ask the reader to enter their name, potentially their business name, and their email address. Nothing more. Once they’ve done this, you’ll send them an email, thanking them and providing the piece of content, as promised.
Here’s a couple of great examples of companies getting landing pages right… and very wrong. Simple is always smarter.
Ungated, downloadable content: In some instances, it may be even too early in the relationship to ask for the reader’s details, so ungated content is little something for nothing. It builds trust and when they see what valuable content you provide, it won’t be quite so hard to ask for more from them next time.
It’s worthwhile testing out different types of content to see what works best in a gated or ungated format.
A good call to action is:
- Has a download prompt for a piece of valuable content such as a template or a checklist
- Clicks through to a simple landing page
- Is ideally gated so that the reader gives you their email address in return for the content
- Avoids being generic and asking for too much from the reader (or asking for the wrong action such as sharing on social media).