What’s the purpose of a CTA in content marketing?

Buy now! Add to the cart! Claim your iPad! These are the phrases commonly referred to as calls-to-action, or CTAs for short. While it’s hard to imagine quality content including a straightforward selling-focused CTA like these, you do need CTAs integrated into your works. But you should aim for something a bit more shrewd and subtle.

What is a call-to-action?

While content marketing is an example of permission marketing, you just can’t ignore the fact that your goal is to influence your audience, which eventually should convert into customers. You can do it by applying calls-to-action.

A call-to-action is a section of content which encourages the reader to do something, in other words to take an “action”. A CTA can be in the form of a button, a banner, or just a text. Usually these “called” actions involve clicking a link, hence the hyperlinked part is often the most exposed within a CTA.

There are a few tricks here. You need to write an irresistible copy that calls to action, you need to think over where to place your CTA, and you have to set your CTA goals reasonably. For example, while your eventual goal is to sell, it’s not such a good idea to utilize selling-focused CTAs in your articles. You just have to put up with the fact, that selling through content marketing is a prolonged process and an aggressive CTA pelted at the user too early may simply not work. However, it leaves the door open for numerous non-selling CTA purposes.

What’s a suitable goal for your CTA?

Before you even begin writing your CTA copy, you need to think over what you would like your audience to do. I think the best technique is to try to draw your reader into reading more of your content, which ideally should involve filling in a form, through which you acquire at least an e-mail address. But there are also other choices for your CTAs.

#1 Learn more about our product or service

One of the most powerful content marketing techniques is to present a certain issue which can be resolved via using your products or services. Given your articles or videos convey truly useful knowledge that refers to what you have to offer, a “learn more” CTA comes off as a self-evident conclusion. Think of a psychologist crafting an article that facilitates identifying common neurosis symptoms. It’s perfectly suitable to end up such an article with a CTA that encourages to learn more about neurosis treatment offered by the author.

#2 Read more articles

The simplest CTA you can apply in your content can aim at reading more articles, watching more videos, etc. Every news website does that. It can be performed by suggesting similar, or the most popular articles through graphic banners, or hyperlinked words and phrases within the article. If you use WordPress you can achieve that simply by installing a couple of ready-made widgets for internal promotion, which can be found through the built-in widget search engine.

#3 Download an e-book

Ebooks are a powerful way of sharing free resources, which will be appreciated by your prospects. If you have ebooks (and I encourage you to craft them), the action you may call to is downloading an ebook. Your prospects get useful knowledge, while you get their details including an email address which you can utilize to get in touch with your prospects later.

#4 Leave a comment

When there’s a commentary section in your content, your CTA may include an encouragement to leave a comment. While comments are an important sign of your content’s popularity, they’re also important in terms of SEO. A commentary section may be used to reach out to your audience and engage in discussion with them. That’s the place where to look for fresh ideas and tips on how to improve your works.

#5 Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or other social channels

You want your prospects to read as much of your content as possible. Hence, you need them to follow your social media profiles where you share your precious knowledge. Your CTA may be focused on asking them to follow you on Facebook, Twitter, G+, Pinterest, Instagram, or wherever you’re present and find it important.

#6 Share the content

Another option for a reasonable CTA is encouraging shares. If your content is focused on valuable and precious knowledge, it’s quite possible that your readers may want to reward you by showing others with what they found out. The simplest way they can do it is by spreading the word through their social media profiles. All they need is a subtle nudge in the form of a CTA.

#7 sign-up for our newsletter

Crafting great content is often followed by an equally awesome newsletter, which needs a solid e-mailing list. Therefore, a CTA may encourage readers to sign-up for your newsletter, and get more interesting stuff as a result. Also, you may consider a newsletter sent automatically based on your RSS updates via specialized tools, such as Campaign Monitor, Weber, etc. Some websites utilize a pop-up newsletter sign-up form, which is somewhat intrusive, but certainly very effective.

#8 Join a live event

A lot of content marketers focus on live events. They can be held offline in a physical spot, or online as webinars. In both cases, signing-up should involve filling a form in which you acquire those precious contact details, that you can later use to propagate your content.

#9 Inquire for more information via helpdesk

It’s quite possible that there are people in your company who are experts in your subject-matter, whose responsibility is to answer enquiries, and who know even more about the article’s topic than the author. If so, your CTA may focus on suggesting your readers that a further contact will undoubtedly help them to understand the topic better.

Pawel Piejko

A passionate online content marketer with experience in creating content strategies for small businesses, as well as managing the entire content creation and distribution process. I keep up-to-date with constantly evoloving trends in content creation, Social Media, SEO, e-mail marketing and emerging technologies. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions, concerns or suggestions.

So, what do you think ?