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Whether you’re curating content on your blog, email newsletter, or elsewhere, calls to action (also called CTAs) can help galvanize readers to take the action you want. These could include sharing the content with a friend, leaving a comment, following you on Twitter, or signing up for your next webinar.
Without a clear call to action, readers won’t know what to do next, so they’ll often click over to another article and forget all about your content, however brilliant it might have been. Calls to action are often (but not always) placed at the bottom of a piece of content.
Here are some examples of calls to action on blogs and websites:
- Copyblogger’s curated roundup of writing and productivity links encourages the reader to follow @copyblogger on Twitter for more links.
- A post on Content Marketing Institute’s blog invites readers to download an ebook for more examples.
- This blog includes a CTA for Curata’s demo on the right hand side (as shown in the screenshot below):
When thinking about CTAs and how they work with curated content, the key is to focus on the annotation. You don’t want to touch the original writers content at all, since you’re linking and providing clear attribution. But when annotating, you have the ability to ask your readers to do something. Ask your readers opinion on the curated content, do they agree? Do they disagree?
Now that I’ve explained what a call to action is, and how to think about it in conjunction with curated content, here are some best practices for creating strong CTAs:
Define your goal. Is it to get email signups, ebook downloads, social media shares, something else? Base your CTA on your goal and include a link so that the reader can take that next step without hunting around.
Make it clear. Don’t make your customers guess what they should do next. Tell them! Most people understand that a hyperlink is intended for them to click, so it’s not necessary to say “Click here to download our ebook.” Instead, a simpler call action stating “Download our ebook” has more impact.
Keep it short and actionable. Long calls to action can confuse readers or simply get ignored, while multiple calls to action can lower conversion rates. Also, if you’re putting a CTA in a button, long strings of text won’t have the same visual impact as a short CTA.
Consider context and where the prospect is in the sales cycle. It doesn’t make sense for someone coming to your homepage for the first time to get a CTA about buying an expensive product. CTAs like “request a demo” or “learn more” might be more appropriate. CTAs for curated content on your own blog might assume more familiarity with your brand than CTAs in guest blogs or other content you place on third-party websites.
Place your CTA strategically. If you’re writing a short snippet of content, it’s not recommended to include a CTA in the first initial view of that content because it takes away from the content itself. If the reader clicks to view a longer annotation on why the content is relevant, that might be a more appropriate place for a call to action. Share bars are another way to incorporate calls to action into your curated content and encourage readers to spread your content through social media or email.
Test the placement and wording of calls to action. Consider doing A/B testing to pinpoint what works best for your audience.
And now, to follow our own advice … For more tips on curating content, download our ebook on How to Feed the Content Beast (without getting eaten alive).