“What do you want me to do?”
If your audience has to ask, your content is weak, no matter how strong, relevant, or well-researched you think it is. In other words, it’s time to rethink your call to action (CTA).
Every Piece of Content Should Have a Call to Action
A CTA is simply a request for your reader, listener, or viewer to do something. And it could be anything. In the world of online advertising, CTAs are incredibly forward and somewhat crass: Buy Now, Bet Now, Call Now. In the advisory board world, you can afford to be a bit softer (leave a comment, share with your colleagues, call when you can, save this file), but don’t mistake tone for clarity. The clearer you are about what you want your audience to do, the more likely they’ll be to do it. They don’t have time to guess and they’ll be much more appreciative if you don’t put them in the position to have to guess.
Where Should Your Call to Action Go?
Many people like to end their content with a CTA because it’s the last thing they want their audience to see, read or hear. Others like to start their content with the CTA to set the expectation up front. We’ve seen both, and both work in the world of advisory boards and working groups.
We’ve Also Seen Clients Put a CTA at the Beginning and the End:
“What you’re about to read is a clinical trial created by Company X last year. We’d love to know what you think of their findings, and we’d like you to share your thoughts on our Impetus InSite Platform® by the end of week.”
“Don’t forget to share you thoughts on the Impetus InSite Platform® by the end of the week. If you’re having trouble accessing it, please call Natalie at 416-992-8557 and she’ll help you out.”
Note how clear the ask is. We want you to do this, by this date at this place. And if you have trouble, you can do this. There’s no ambiguity. Your busy audience will appreciate it.
- Think about a different way to display the CTA that makes it stand out. Perhaps it’s italicized or bolded or in a bigger typeface?
- Keep it short and clear. Again, no ambiguity.
- Be polite. Remember that no one HAS to do anything.
What should your CTA be? Send your content to Janice at firstname.lastname@example.org and she’ll give you some ideas.