One of the most time consuming parts of a freelance writing job is the emailing. I do freelance writing on the weekends, and I find that the constant emailing back and forth sometimes takes me almost as long as writing the actual article. The emailing back and forth isn’t even the most strenuous part—it is the emails that get ignored that really kill me. When an email gets ignored I have to email the editor again for a follow-up, then check to see if the message ever sent, then again for another follow up, and then I take a month break or so and try that editor again before giving up for good. In other words, I have found that while most professionals want to see an empty inbox, freelance writers want to see it full of answers.
Tell Readers What You Want Them to Do
In the world of blogging and internet marketing, a ‘call to action’ is a message that encourages prospects to perform a specific task. This can involve purchasing a product, making a donation, subscribing to a newsletter or feed, joining your community on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter, things of that nature.
The specific action is defined by the marketer and is based on personal goals.
When you think about it, call-to-actions are really a very natural result of the majority of human interactions we experience almost daily.
How many times have you called a friend up, exchanged pleasantries and idle banter for a bit, then before hanging up, you ask them to get together sometime for lunch, a beer, whatever. The friend usually responds affirming the appreciation and acceptance of the invitation, a date and time agreed upon – a call-to-action offered and fulfilled.
This is just one example of how we tell others how we would like them to continue the interactions that’s going on between us.
If we use this technique in conjunction with our content, the call to action shifts from being a subtle request to more of a considerate obligation that requires your prospects immediate commitment.
Sometimes I feel that way when I’ve read something from local charities – I subscribe to several because you just never know when you might be able to help out in some small way. However, I’m am a big animal rights advocate and that’s where the bulk of my charitable contributions are directed most times. When I see an animal at our local animal protection league that needs serious help and funds to get that help, I feel a strong sense of obligation to assist somehow. I hear their call to action and I respond.
Unfortunately, this same technique works for those get-rich-quick scams that continually prey on our basic desire for happiness, which we all know is often tied to financial wealth. If the message is commanding enough, people will generally do whatever that “call-to-action” is commanding they do. Even if it’s a bad thing!
Another habit we possess instinctively is to share information. We often share information about our experiences with products, services or places – good or bad – we do like to share! Sometimes we share details even if no one asks for it.
Utilizing this instinct, and coupling it with a “call-to-action” seems like a pretty good plan, don’t you think?
If you want someone to spread the word about your content or service, ask them. Many times, they will share the information even if you don’t offer some kind of incentive.
Good idea – Then comes the monkey wrench…
Modesty, pride and fear are the main obstacles that get in our way. Right?
Let me guess – The little voice inside your head tells you that you’ll come off as conceited? You’re too proud to beg? Fear of rejection is a real issue?
So what else can you do?
You publish free content. You give away free tools without asking for anything in return. You do this consistently. You nurture your reputation. You build a following.
That’s what you do!
Once you’ve given your readers enough of yourself by sharing your knowledge, you won’t feel guilty in asking for a little help.
Repeat after me – There’s Nothing Wrong With Asking for Help
I’ve seen bloggers use a variety of “call-to-action” models. Some focus on increasing their social reach and some focus on revenue generation or donations. For the most part, people are more then willing to give away compliments or subscribe with an email address while fewer are willing to part with money.
Your “call to action” requests should be set up in a way that says ‘do this now.’ Don’t let your prospect’s interest or satisfaction diminish or allow them to become distracted by other things drawing their attention away.
If you are giving away free content, you *should* ask yourself WHY you are doing that – Then learn to embed your call to actions in some of those masterful pieces.
Don’t let modesty, pride or fear stand in the way of asking your readers to help in some way and don’t underestimate the power of reciprocity.
These are behaviors exhibited within the influential social norm that can be used to your advantage, especially when it comes to blogging and marketing online.
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