Tag Archive | "Action"

3 Types of Action that Stir Up the Desire to Keep Reading Your Article

Think back to the last time you were at an event where speakers gave presentations. Typically, some sessions fly by…

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Want to Persuade Your Audience to Take Action? First, Look for Clarity

Copywriting is the answer to: “How can I make money on the Internet?” That’s why there’s so much advice about…

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The Content Path: Moving from Attention to Action

We work so hard to get attention. We craft our headlines to make them irresistible. We strive to display enticing images that make a great first impression. If we’re Copyblogger readers, we think about finding that perfect balance of meaning and fascination that will pull our audience right into our content. But what do we
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SearchCap: Google My Business dashboard & API, class action awards & clickbait

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

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Get inside your customer’s head: A guide to writing irresistible calls to action

Contributor Jacob Baadsgaard looks at common search motivations and different types of calls to action you can use to motivate people so they can’t help but click.

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8 Calls to Action that Initiate New Relationships with Customers and Collaborators

"Viral content may feed your ego, but it doesn’t necessarily feed your business." – Stefanie Flaxman

I know. I know. I know.

“Viral” is an actual term people use to describe wildly popular content that has spread across a variety of distribution channels, landing in our Twitter feeds, Apple News updates, text messages, and emails from Uncle Sue.

But I still don’t like the word.

When “going viral” is a goal for a piece of content, it puts me a little on edge.

Viral content may feed your ego, but it doesn’t necessarily feed your business.

Business success without “going viral”

I understand it’s frustrating if no one knows about your products or services. That’s why you want a lot of people to see your work.

But sustainable success stems from your dedication to produce one great line at a time and consistently publish your content. One article/podcast episode/video is not going to change everything.

Plus:

Many smart content moves have nothing to do with a piece of content “going viral” and don’t depend on a massive amount of views.

So, stop putting pressure on yourself. “Viral” doesn’t need to be your goal.

Let’s talk about what you can do right now to initiate new relationships with the customers and collaborators who will help build your business.

1. Ask for comments and suggestions

I always talk about crafting a thoughtful presentation, but individual pieces of content are not definitive articles on a topic — nor should they be.

While you want to thoroughly express your message, an exhaustive guide that tries to tackle the subject from every angle is tedious to read. It’s also futile — there’s always going to be some other point of view you didn’t consider.

Instead, publish your useful material and invite your audience to contribute their thoughts.

For example, my article last week about proofreading pointers didn’t explain every possible proofreading technique. I provided the top three tips I frequently use, and then readers added the methods that work for them in the comments.

The content opened up a discussion that encouraged people to participate. Readers, viewers, and listeners who become personally invested in your content are the ones who stick around and want to hear more from you over time.

2. Spark new social media conversations

When you optimize your content for social media sites, you don’t just increase your chances of getting clicks to your website from your existing followers.

Interesting conversations about your content on social media will attract people who have never come across your work before.

This is good, old-fashioned word of mouth that happens organically after you’ve done something remarkable.

And rather than just blatantly promoting a piece of content, see how you can initiate meaningful interactions that draw people back to your website to find out more.

For example, an intriguing photo on Instagram could spark comments, shares, and likes, as well as prompt viewers to read the blog post or listen to the podcast episode that gives the photo context.

3. Pull in audiences from different platforms

I regularly drool over the short and entertaining food-preparation videos on the AnarchistKitchen YouTube channel.

But do you know what the videos don’t provide?

The recipes for the mouth-watering food.

To get the recipes, you have to go to their blog. The videos capture the attention of people who may have not otherwise known about their website (like me).

Next week, Jerod is going to talk more about ways to distribute your best ideas on different platforms.

4. Offer a shareable summary

No one wants to be that person who bores all their friends with their latest obsession — whether it’s a blog, book, or beverage.

But the desire to share something new that you love is understandable.

So, how do we convert our friends in a non-pushy way?

It’s a lot easier if you have a sample of a blog, book, or beverage recipe that others can browse on their own terms rather than hearing all the benefits from you.

Content marketers can create mini packages for their audience members to share with their friends.

For example, you could offer a beautiful PDF as a free download that summarizes who your site is for and how you help them, with some snippets of particularly useful advice. You’d then encourage your visitors to share the PDF rather than just share your website link.

It’s a more direct way to show what you’re all about, rather than hope a first-time visitor immediately clicks on the most engaging parts of your website.

5. Take the first step

Let’s say you meet someone in person, talk about a potential business collaboration, and exchange contact information.

What if you took the first step needed to make that collaboration happen before you contact them?

You could write the guest blog post for their site that you mentioned, outline a podcast interview, or draft the budget for the video series you discussed.

The work that you perform upfront could be the push the project needs to get off the ground faster, so consider initiating it rather than merely sending a follow-up email with pleasantries or questions.

6. Build your email list when you host live events

Live events don’t have to be elaborate, expensive productions.

I’m talking about having a booth at a local fair, giving a seminar at a bookstore, or teaching a workshop at a community center.

Or maybe live events, such as yoga classes, are your business.

People who have terrific experiences will want to know how to keep in contact with you so they don’t miss anything else you offer.

Encourage your guests, visitors, or students to sign up for your email list.

I’m very (very, very) picky about where I share my email address. The only time I have signed up to be on an email list in recent history was after I had such a great time at an event that I wanted to keep in touch with the organizer.

7. Describe your products or services

If you’re not sure when to mention your business in a piece of content, ask yourself:

Would someone who benefits from this free content get even more help with one of my products or services?

Then you can find ways to show how your paid solution would be a good fit for your reader.

For example, a locksmith might write an article about what to do if your key breaks off in your lock.

The content could outline steps to fix the problem, but many people who find it are going to need immediate help. The company should include a call to action so local searchers know how to get in contact with a locksmith who can help them.

You won’t necessarily mention your products or services in every piece of content you create, but you also can’t assume your audience knows you offer something they need. Potential customers need to be absolutely clear how they can move forward with what you have to offer.

8. Provide a special recipe

Content that makes an impact on someone’s life is the type that gets shared.

As Sonia has said:

“Make your advertising too valuable to throw away.”

Use tutorial content to educate your prospects about specific ways to use your product. They’ll be empowered to apply what they learn to get the results they desire.

I was recently reminded of this technique when I bought a package of rosemary that said “Try the recipe inside!”

If I make the rosemary roasted potatoes from the package and share the food with dinner guests, they could potentially ask for the recipe and buy that brand of rosemary as well.

What do you think about viral content?

Let us know how you form individual connections with potential customers or collaborators.

Is “going viral” a major goal (or secret wish) every time you publish content?

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5 Writing Techniques that Stir Your Audience to Action

"You’ve got to stir something in them before they’ll do something." – Brian Clark

We all want a positive response to the content we work so hard to create. Not all positive responses, however, are created equal.

I’m reminded of this David Ogilvy quote from Ogilvy on Advertising:

“When I write an advertisement, I don’t want you to tell me that you find it ‘creative.’ I want you to find it so interesting that you buy the product. When Aeschines spoke, they said, ‘How well he speaks.’ But when Demosthenes spoke, they said, ‘Let us march against Philip.’”

In other words, if you’re looking for something more than “Great post!” comments, then you’ve got to prompt action. And that means you’ve got to stir something in the audience before they’ll do something.

Now, before we get to that, one easy way to get someone to do something is to simply ask. I’m assuming you’re already using calls to action, but if not, click that last link to read about those first.

Otherwise, let’s focus on what must happen before the ask. What we’re trying to stir is an emotional response.

It’s emotion that moves us to act. In fact, the Latin root for the word emotion means “to move,” because emotions motivate what we do. We don’t necessarily want to make them seethe with anger or burst into tears, though.

The goal is not necessarily to get someone to feel, but rather to want — and to act on that want. Here are several ways to accomplish that.

1. Vivid storytelling

Emotional responses come when we experience a message that corresponds with our existing beliefs. Appealing to the core values of your audience, how they view the world, and their expectations for the future is incredibly powerful — if you truly create an experience.

Dating back to the time of Aristotle, skilled persuaders understood the power of a detailed narrative. The key is that the story must be so vivid that it prompts a vicarious experience in which they can see the outcome of the story happening to them.

Here’s the beginning of a story that fueled a $ 2 billion(!) subscription promotion for The Wall Street Journal:

“On a beautiful late spring afternoon, twenty-five years ago, two young men graduated from the same college. They were very much alike, these two young men. Both had been better than average students, both were personable and both — as young college graduates are — were filled with ambitious dreams for the future.

Recently, these two men returned to college for their 25th reunion.”

Do you see the setting in your mind’s eye? Click here to read how the story progresses and see why it succeeded so wildly.

2. Ramp it up

Sometimes when we’re eager to prompt action, we’re tempted to come out of the gate swinging. High energy, high emotion — that’s what will cause the audience to latch on to our contagious enthusiasm and take action, right?

Not necessarily.

Skilled presenters, ranging from politicians to stand-up comics, know that it’s better to start low-key and build momentum as you go.

Persuasive content and copy are often referred to as a slippery slide. The goal of each and every sentence of your message is to keep people engaged the whole way down, gaining momentum along the way to the call to action.

And although the context is different, there might be no better example than Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech from 1963:

The speech was ranked the top American speech of the 20th century in a 1999 poll of oration scholars. More importantly, it inspired the huge crowd at The March on Washington to the point that the Kennedy administration felt compelled to advance its civil rights legislation in Congress.

3. Hold a unity rally

We all belong to various groups, ranging from nationality, to college alma mater, to favorite NBA team. Appealing to the tribal nature of an audience that’s part of your group naturally invokes emotion, while you also benefit from the powerful influence principle of unity.

Unity goes beyond simple similarities and liking, and instead reaches the point of shared identities. It’s inherently an “us against them” scenario, and if you want to mobilize the choir instead of just preach to it, you’ve got to communicate how “the others” present a problem.

It could be about how a competitor has chosen not to serve the needs of your group. Or how outsiders are belittling your tribe in a way that inspires action. It doesn’t have to be ugly, but it does have to motivate the group to stand together and move.

Sometimes, you can even use unity to inspire others to join the group. This happens because of another powerful, fundamental influence: social proof.

For example, one of our core values is that we believe that building your business or content marketing engine on someone else’s virtual property is unacceptably risky. When we rail against digital sharecropping, website owners flock to the comments to agree — providing powerful social proof for others to get on board with owning their own platform.

4. Be like Mike

Group identity is powerful thanks to our strong need to belong. Emulation works on the same emotional level when you position yourself as a role model to your audience.

Now, that might sound a bit arrogant, and it certainly can be. But if you’ve done the hard work of becoming a likable expert, your audience will naturally choose to emulate you in certain ways, or even desire to be like you.

Think of the whole “personal branding” movement. Everywhere you look, people are becoming micro-celebrities hoping to charge you money so you can be like them — and in many cases, it works.

That’s a little bit too on the nose for me. A smarter approach is to inspire your audience to do something with you, such as join a cause, contribute to a charity, or act in some other way that deepens the broader influence factors of unity, authority, liking, commitment and consistency, and social proof.

5. Show, don’t tell

This last technique is more of a “what not to do” tip that relates to the other four. It comes down to one of the oldest bits of writing advice around, which is to refrain from “telling” them why they should do what you want them to do while making your case, and instead letting the audience experience the realization themselves.

  • The story should be so vivid that they see themselves achieving the outcome.
  • The “ramp up” should spark the emotional response without explicit direction.
  • The realization that “they’re wrong, we’re right” should come from the group.
  • The audience should decide that they’ll emulate you before you ask.

On a related note, never telegraph the emotional response you’re seeking up front, or a natural psychological defense mechanism may arise.

Emotions are best triggered without revealing an upfront expectation.

It’s dangerous to proclaim a joke as hilarious before telling it, and it’s likewise bad form to lead with “Boy, is this going to tick you off.” In other words, don’t tell people you’re going to go on a rant, just begin and build to the rant.

Stir the win-win

None of these techniques are going to make anyone do something they don’t want to do. In fact, more often than not the desired action has to be in their best interest first and foremost, and yours secondarily.

In other cases, you may get some action thanks to the previously unmentioned principle of influence — reciprocity. If you selflessly and unconditionally give away something useful, perhaps they’ll do a favor for you in return.

You know, like sharing this article on Facebook or Twitter. Thank you! :-)

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Powerful Calls to Action: How to Get Your Reader to Take the Next Step

effective-calls-to-action

A note: My first book will be out soon! Here’s an excerpt from one of the chapters.

What was the first thing you ever had to sell? For me, it was Girl Scout cookies.

I was ten years old, dressed in my distinctly unfashionable Girl Scout vest, skirt, and knee socks, walking along the side of the road listening to the gravel crunch under my sneakers. The sun beat down on our neighborhood, and I could smell the melting tar on the road.

I was in a state of abject terror, my sweaty hands clutching a wrinkled order form.

I didn’t even know the people whose porches I stood on and whose doorbells I was about to ring: how could I possibly ask them to buy something?

It was horrifying.

I was just a kid who lived on their street. What right did I have to show up and offer something for sale?

It turns out that this lesson from my past taught me almost everything I needed to know about how to use the right mindset when asking someone to take action.

At the time, I didn’t realize that people love Girl Scout cookies. They want to buy them. They actually look forward to ordering them.

Back then, I didn’t know any of that. If I had, I might have ended up being one of the top sellers in my troop. Instead, I was lucky if I could fill in the first ten lines of my order form each year.

Why calls to action matter

Our content — ultimately — has a business purpose. Oh sure, we’re writing to attract an audience and build trust. We want to inform and — if possible — entertain. But for our efforts to have a measurable effect on our businesses, we have to take that final step.

We have to ask our readers to take action based on what they’ve read. And we have to sell them on the idea.

That’s the job of your call to action. Your call to action is the part of your content where you’re going to ask the reader to do something.

The action might be to:

  • Sign up for your free course
  • Buy a product
  • Call for an appointment
  • Register to vote
  • Take a short quiz
  • Download a white paper
  • Make a small purchase

In this article, we’re going to talk about two components of your call to action: the verbal and the visual. But first, let’s talk psychology.

The psychology of the call to action

What’s going through your head as you think about writing a call to action for your content?

You might be thinking things like, “I don’t want to turn people off by asking them to do something.” Or, “My readers might unsubscribe from my email list if I start selling them things.” Or, “What if I come across as pushy and annoying?”

All common fears. Those are the kinds of thoughts I had when I was trying to sell Girl Scout cookies!

Your readers, on the other hand, are enjoying your content, and they’re thinking things like, “This is really helpful. Where can I sign up to get updates from this website?” Or, “I trust this person — they know what they’re talking about. I wonder if I can hire them to help me?” Or, “I want to apply what I’m learning on this site to my own business. Is there a product I can buy that will help me do that?”

There are two things happening here — and they’re in direct competition with one another. On one side there’s you, feeling embarrassed about making an offer. On the other side, there’s your audience — wanting to do business with you!

How do we bridge that gap?

It starts with confidence — your confidence.

If you want to create an effective call to action, it should come from a place of knowing your offer is valuable, useful, and helpful to the customer. If you can’t honestly say that, work on improving your offer first.

I want you to stand tall and have pride that you have something amazing to offer people. Something they’ll enjoy and benefit from.

You owe it to your readers to craft a call to action that will make them want to try your product or service.

To do this successfully, you’ll need to pay attention to two aspects: the verbal and the visual. Let’s start with the words first.

Your verbal call to action

Calls to action consist of two parts: the words used to make the offer (the verbal part) and the graphic treatment of the call to action (the visual part).

The best calls to action are strong on both levels. They use the right words and combine them with a graphic treatment that makes the call to action stand out visually, so your reader stops and pays attention to it.

When we talk about a call to action, we’re not referring to all the content on a sales page. Calls to action are a specific section of a larger piece of content. That content could be a sales page, but it could also be a blog post, About page, or your bio.

The call to action is the place where you ask people to act on the information that comes before it. They’re usually about 100 words or less. And because the verbal part of your call to action is short, every word needs to count.

There are three parts to a standard call to action: the headline, the offer copy, and the button or link.

The headline: emphasize benefits, not features. The headline should reflect the specific benefits the reader will experience when they take action.

This is an important marketing concept that trips up even the most experienced marketers.

Your first impulse will be to talk about features, but effective calls to action talk about benefits. What’s the difference?

Take a look at this call to action headline that focuses on features:

Get Everyday Citrus Recipes, a 164-page ebook with 100 recipes for using oranges, grapefruits, tangerines, and clementines at every meal. Click here to buy.

Now take a look at a call to action for the same product that is written to focus on specific benefits:

Bolster your immune system, protect your heart and eyes, and enjoy clearer skin while enjoying the taste of delicious citrus at every meal! Click to get healthy and delicious Everyday Citrus Recipes.

It’s tough to pinpoint the benefits, I know. One trick I’ve used is to ask, “Why?” In the example above, you could ask, “Why incorporate citrus at every meal?” The answer is, “Because it’s good for you.”

Follow that question up. Ask, “Why is it good for you?” The answer is, “It’s good for your immune system, heart, eyes, and skin.”

These are specific benefits you can highlight in your headline and body copy. They’ll resonate with readers because they touch on what I like to call the “magic five” benefits: Health, Wealth, Relationships, Success, and Peace of Mind.

In the end, what you’re offering readers is a better version of themselves in one of these five categories. That means:

  1. Improved health
  2. More wealth
  3. Closer relationships
  4. Greater success
  5. More peace of mind and serenity

Tell the reader how your offer’s features will benefit them specifically in one of those five ways and you can’t miss.

The offer copy: be clear, not clever. As you write the copy that will go below your call to action headline, remember — you only have 100 or so words and each one must count. This isn’t the time to make a joke or use a clever play on words.

Your reader is making an important decision, and you should be ultra clear about why they should take action. If they’re at all confused, they won’t take action.

Once you’ve established the specific benefits of taking action, you can weave in features to your call to action. Your benefits will resonate with your readers on an emotional level. Weaving in features will help bring logic into the picture.

Let’s use the same example. In the first sentence, we’re highlighting the benefits. In the second sentence, we’re backing it up with a mention of the features. It’s a powerful emotion + logic combination.

Bolster your immune system, protect your heart and eyes, and enjoy clearer skin while enjoying the taste of delicious citrus! Click to buy Everyday Citrus Recipes — more than 100 recipes for using oranges, grapefruits, tangerines, and clementines at every meal.

The button: “I want to ___.” At the end of your call to action, you’ll find a button or a link. This is the physical location on your page or in your email where you’re asking the reader to rise to the occasion and take action. It’s the moment of truth!

Your button copy makes a difference. Please, please don’t wimp out and use the word “Submit” or “Buy” here. Your button or link copy is an opportunity to reinforce the benefits of your offer. Don’t miss out.

To write this copy, I like to use the tip I learned from Joanna Wiebe from Copyhackers.com. Joanna recommends you put yourself in your readers’ shoes and think about the phrase “I want to ____” when writing your button copy. Fill in the blank with whatever words your reader might use to describe the benefit they’ll experience from taking action.

To use our example above, we might write, “I want to …”

Button copy: “Get Healthy and Delicious Citrus Recipes”

You might wonder if writing a call to action is overkill for a blog post. For some pieces of content, a subtle call to action like “Share your favorite ways to use citrus in the comments section” will suffice.

But a great piece of content deserves a stronger, more confident call to action. Why not ask people to sign up for your email list when you’ve given them a valuable piece of content? Why not tell them about your ebook or your services? Don’t be afraid to ask for an action at the end of every piece of content you create.

You might think about it as a spectrum: on the low-commitment end of the spectrum, you may ask them to add a comment or click to read another piece of content on your site. And on the high-commitment end of the spectrum, you may ask them to buy a product or call to make an appointment.

And remember, when you’ve got a great product to sell (like Girl Scout cookies) don’t be shy about making your offer.

No matter where your call to action falls on the spectrum, people won’t act on it if they don’t see it. That’s what we’ll talk about next — how to make your call to action stand out visually.

Your visual call to action

If a call to action is beautifully written but no one sees it, did it ever really happen?

Calls to action, as we’ve talked about, are short — maybe 100 words at the most. And they usually “live” on a page with hundreds — sometimes thousands — of other words. Your little call to action is outnumbered — it’s surrounded by your content.

How can you ensure it gets seen?

The key to creating a call to action that doesn’t get overlooked is to make it visually different from all the other words on your page.

It needs a unique graphic treatment that will stop readers in their tracks and tell them, “This is something you should pay attention to.” You don’t have to be a designer to make your call to action stand out.

Here are the areas to work on.

Use a different color palette. Grab a color wheel, and look at the colors on your website. (Get a free color wheel at Big Brand System.) For your call-to-action text, background color, or border (more on this below), use colors that are on the opposite side of the color wheel from the colors people usually see on your site. If your site is all reds and oranges, use blues and greens for your call to action. If it’s blues and purples, use gold and orange in your call to action. You may not like how it looks at first. It’s going to stick out like a sore thumb! But that’s exactly the effect you want.

Make it larger and bolder. Look at the size of your body text. For your call-to-action headline, use at least subhead-size text. For the body copy where you share details of your offer, consider using larger-than-usual text, or making it bold. Warning: it will not be subtle and beautiful like the rest of your page. And that’s a plus.

Surround it with space. Be careful not to bury your call to action inside your page copy. Add space above, below, and to the left and right of your call to action so it floats in the middle of open white space. Doing this will put your call to action on a visual pedestal and help it stand out.

Use a background or a border. Want to really draw attention to your call to action visually? Add a border or background color to this part of your content. This is a subtle but effective visual trick: by surrounding your call to action with a different color, you’re saying, “This is something different: pay attention.” Use your color wheel to choose colors that are on the opposite side of the color wheel from what people usually see on your site. Your text needs to be readable, so don’t run it on an overly bright or too dark background. Instead, use pale versions of colors. Instead of navy blue, use a light blue tint. Instead of orange, use a light peach tint.

Repeat your call to action, especially if your page is long. If your page is quite long (1,500 words or more), don’t be afraid to repeat your call to action.

When deciding where to place repeated calls to action, think in terms of screen real estate. When someone arrives on your page, how many “screens” do they have to scroll through to get to the end? (Yes, I know this will vary according to the screen size, but that doesn’t matter for this exercise.)

Count how many “screens” worth of information they have to page through and make sure your reader sees a call to action on every couple of “screens.”

Remember, people scan text on the web. On a long page, if you don’t feature your call to action more than once, many people will miss it. They’ll never scan all the way to the bottom to see your visually prominent call to action sitting like a beacon at the bottom of your page. Call them to action — and don’t be afraid to call them more than once.

Give some love to your call to action

Think about your call to action like an on-site salesperson who’s representing the best of what your business offers. Spend time making this important element stand out both verbally and visually.

It may seem like a lot of work, but your call to action truly is where business happens!

Take care to ensure it’s as strong and convincing as it can be so it will work for you day and night, drawing prospects and customers to your business.

Wise owl art by the amazing D.J. Billings.

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Action Content: Turn Fans into Customers [Plus a Free Bonus for You]

4 Essential Content Types - Action Content

This article is part of our series on the 4 Essential Types of Content Every Marketing Strategy Needs. Make sure to get your special free bonus at the end of the article.

So far, we’ve covered Attraction, Authority, and Affinity content. Now it’s time to turn your fans into customers with Action content.

And this is where all the work you’ve done as a content marketer starts translating into revenue for yourself, your clients, or your organization.

The good news is that Action content is probably the easiest type of content to understand. But the bad news is that it can also be some of the most difficult to produce.

We’ll dig into the reasons why shortly, but since we are in the habit of defining each term before we get started, let’s do that here for Action content:

Action content is content designed to get somebody to take an action.

How about that for easy?

The marriage of copywriting and content marketing

Content marketing is a new kid on the block in some ways, surging in popularity in the last five years.

In other ways, content marketing has been paired with advertising for quite some time. Take John Deere’s 118-year-old magazine, The Furrow, as an example.

The Michelin Guide, first published in 1900, is another great example of classic content marketing.

However, what I’m talking about here is the marriage between copywriting and content marketing.

A marriage between copywriting and content marketing helps you attract attention, increase engagement, and then ultimately, persuade someone to take action.

Types of actions

When you create content, you should have an action in mind that you’d like the reader to take. Actions could include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Asking your readers to comment on a blog post
  • Asking your readers to share an article or podcast
  • Asking people to participate in a poll or survey
  • Encouraging people to download a free video training course
  • Persuading people to subscribe to your email newsletter
  • Convincing people to follow you on social media
  • Enticing people to hire you
  • Getting people to buy your product

Naturally, you’ll want to start off with small requests. Get people used to taking your advice and following your instructions.

You first want people to say, “Hey, I want to pay attention to this person (or this company, or this brand) because it’s really relevant to my current challenge and the journey I’m on.”

You get people to warm up to you and trust you — step by step — until the sale, and then the repeat sale or the recurring sale.

Let’s look at some successful pieces of Action content.

Examples of Action content

The most obvious piece of Action content you will create is promotional — sales copy that you publish and run for the duration of the offer. After the sale is over, we recommend you remove the post from your site.

Action content also includes landing pages, like this one on content marketing that encourages visitors to register for Copyblogger’s content library.

In addition to those two cases, your best content will combine all four types of “A” content. Here’s a stellar example: What’s the Difference Between Content Marketing and Copywriting?

What makes it so great?

  • It’s useful. The headline suggests you are about to learn something important. The question-style headline also helps attract attention. People wonder whether or not they do indeed know the answer. They think, “This might be too important to miss.”
  • It’s authoritative. Sonia Simone’s years of working in the copywriting and content marketing world turned what could have been a shallow answer into an extended clinic in effective writing.
  • It takes a stand. The content exposes people to one of our core philosophies at Copyblogger: Really good content is unsurpassed at building rapport, delivering a sales message without feeling “salesy,” and getting potential customers to stick around.
  • It’s laced with action. You might not see it at first blush, but this piece of content motivates readers to check out the educational resources Copyblogger has to offer — from the My.Copyblogger free membership site to the paid offers like Authority and Content Marketing Certification.

The success of this content wasn’t accidental. There was a plan: the content primes people for when we actually do make an offer.

How to write Action content

Writing something interesting to fill space and keep people reading won’t cut it here.

You need to pair your content with a business goal.

That’s not as complicated as it might seem, because all you have to do is ask yourself this simple question before you write each piece of content:

What is the action I want my audience to take?

Now, getting people to actually take that action requires some skill. Like I said above, this is the hardest type of content to master. It takes time to learn copywriting skills, and it also takes time to master them.

The following resources can help you:

Once you’ve worked through that list, the next best thing you can do is to practice. Write. Then write some more.

And on that note, let me close with a little encouragement.

Keep your chin up

When I first got into copywriting, I threw myself into it whole hog.

I devoured every book I could get my hands on. Tore through successful promotional pieces. Listened to a legion of cassette tapes on the art of direct response copywriting, human psychology, and negotiations — yeah, this was way before podcasts. Wrote a mountain of sales letters, emails, and text ads (and then watched mentors tear them apart).

This went on for years. I thought I knew my stuff. However, it wasn’t until about Year Five when things clicked … when I turned the corner and all that head knowledge became heart knowledge.

The moral of this short story is that if I can learn how to write Action content, so can you. But it’s going to take time. Don’t expect too much of yourself too soon. Just start learning, publishing content, measuring results, adjusting, asking for feedback, and so on.

You can do it.

Get your free ebook: 4 Essential Types of Content Every Marketing Strategy Needs

Build a content strategy based on the four content types in this series! Get your free ebook, 4 Essential Types of Content Every Marketing Strategy Needs.

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Click to get the free ebook

Over to you …

What’s your favorite example of Action content?

Drop us a note in the comments section below to share your thoughts.

The post Action Content: Turn Fans into Customers [Plus a Free Bonus for You] appeared first on Copyblogger.


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4 Creative Email Marketing Campaigns That Inspire Action

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Email is a private experience. Unlike social media where comments are public email provides a safety zone for both B2B and B2C customers. What does that mean?

You can receive an email, and take no action. Alternatively, a personalized email may be the tipping point that determines that you will make a purchase.

According to a study from MarketingSherpa, 7 in 10 people have made purchases influenced by email marketing. Interestingly, that study also found that the vast majority that do purchase, are not just making purchases online.
While it’s true that some businesses do not fit under the in-store or “over the phone” model, many do. A well developed email campaign will solve a pain point, inspire action and make you feel connected.

Below are examples of some of the best email marketing campaigns that of this year (so far).

#1 – Sally Hogshead – Find your Fascination Advantage

Our team first heard of Sally’s fascination advantage concept when attending Copyblogger’s Authority Rainmaker conference earlier this year. If you want to determine the primary advantages that will allow you to communicate most confidently and effortlessly, all you have to do is complete a short quiz to find your type (visit: howtofascinate.com/you and use code: copyblogger).

Once you’ve completed the quiz, you receive a chart which describes your different archetypes. But it gets even better!

Based on your results, you’ll receive a series of customized emails that explain more about the advantages and disadvantages of your archetype as well as tips to help you be successful.

Sally Hogshead Email

What pain point does this campaign solve?

Sally’s campaign provides insight into better understanding where we can be most impactful as individuals how to better communicate with our team members.

Why is it awesome?

Since completing my quiz in May, I’ve received a handful of emails that are specifically geared toward my identified communication style. The email copy is concise, impactful and actionable.

What is the next step?

Now that you have a basic understanding of your own archetype and a few helpful tips on how to play to your strengths, the logical next step is to have your entire team sign up to complete the communication exercise, and gain access to the full toolkit that will help you communicate more effectively.

How can it make you feel?

It’s almost like Sally is looking out for you and sharing information to help you be better. Each time I received an email I eagerly opened it to find out what I would be learning that week.

#2 – Uber Minnesota – Ice Cream Delivery

Uber frequently sends out emails with special fare promotions, local events and information on the trips you’ve taken with them.

The email below takes an entirely different approach from the Uber norm. Uber partnered with Capital One to bring warm Minnesotans a cool summer treat.

Uber is offering $ 20 ice cream delivery to people who make a request on July 24 and are able to connect. Additionally, if you’re a Capital One member you have an opportunity to score a free ice cream delivery.

Uber Email

What pain point does this campaign solve?

It’s hot as blazes outside and you don’t have time to leave work and go grab a frosty frozen dessert whenever the craving strikes. They’re making it easy and ok to eat ice cream in the middle of the day by delivering it right to your location.

Why is it awesome?

This campaign has seemingly nothing to do with hailing Uber for a ride when you’re in need of transportation. However, Uber is cleverly creating a great and unique experience that will keep them top of mind the next time you’re trying to figure out how to get from point A to point B.

What is the next step?

This campaign reminds me of the frenzy created when radio DJ’s announce that they have a front row pair of tickets for an awesome band that will be awarded to the tenth caller. I predict that many of Minnesotans will be furiously trying to “get through” to collect on their ice cream prize (even though it’s not free) on July 24th.

How can it make you feel?

While you may not be interested in $ 20 worth of ice cream, you’ll remember “how nice” it was that Uber was willing to deliver you ice cream on a hot day.

#3 – Life Time Fitness – Workout with a Friend

Getting into an exercise routine can sometimes feel like a serious form of torture. One of the best ways to stay motivated is to exercise with a friend. If you know someone is depending on you, the chances that you’ll stick to your regimen greatly increases.

Life Time Fitness took a conversational approach to recommend that you use one of your available guest passes to workout with a friend. All you have to do is mention the email at your visit.

But wait, there’s more. If you can convince your friend to join, you both get some free Life Time Fitness swag, and 50 LT bucks that can be used on a variety of club services.

Life Time Fitness Email

What pain point does this campaign solve?

Committing to a workout routine is tough. You should consider working out with your friends to make exercising more enjoyable and stick with your program.

Why is it awesome?

The casual air with which Life Time encourages you to workout with a friend, offers you free things and enlists you to recruit new members is nothing short of genius.

What is the next step?

Bring your friends to the gym, get them hooked and have them sign up permanently. I’ve actually convinced a number of my friends to join Life Time in the past couple of years since I’ve been a member.

How can it make you feel?

This one email had me thinking about my closest friends, and which ones would be the most fun to work out with. Also, I could really use a new pink gym bag.

#4 – Adobe – How to Reach Customers on Any Screen

The subject line alone is enough to compel someone to open the email. Adobe’s campaign empathizes with every marketers need to be a better solution for their customer’s problems than their competitors.

They are sympathetic to the fact that creating a steady flow of content isn’t easy, but they can help.

Adobe Email

What pain point does this campaign solve?

Simply, helping businesses create a better user experience for their customers.

Why is it awesome?

Their customer centric approach (to the end user, not you the buyer) is brilliant. The message is focused on helping you service your customers better, which in turn leads to more customers (and more money).

What is the next step?

Download their white paper to access tips on creating a better user experience for your customers.

How can it make you feel?

Like I truly am getting a secret weapon that will give me an edge over my competitors.

Are Your Email Marketing Campaigns up to Par?

Sometimes it can be difficult to create email marketing campaigns that are optimized for the devices that your customers use, evoke creativity and inspire action. Each campaign that you create should provide value and give your customers a next step.

What are some examples of email marketing campaigns that have influenced you to make a purchasing decision?

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