Today, we want to focus on the most crucial piece of content marketing – which is too often overlooked - the call-to-action. This is a clear directive that you give to people reading your content that tells them what to do next. It’s like saying "OK, now that I’ve got your attention about this new issue, here’s what you can do about it". A call-to-action takes many forms and can be any activity that deepens engagement.
Here are a few common nonprofit content marketing call-to-actions:
- Comment on a blog post
- Sign a petition
- Click to send an email to a political figure or business leader
- Follow or ‘Like’ us on Twitter, Facebook or other social media sites
- Sign up for an email list
- Share a video, picture or blog post
- Tell a friend about an action
- Make a donation
With any call-to-action, it’s important to be realistic. For instance, it’s highly unlikely that someone who stumbled across an image from your organization on Pinterest for the first time is going to be ready to donate. Not to mention that people who aren’t ready to make a donation right off the bat may even be put off by an immediate request to do so. So, take it slowly and think about where your piece of content falls on your ladder of engagement.
By asking people to take a lower-level action now, that requires less dedication or engagement, you can actually move them further along the ladder to create loyal supporters who are more likely to donate in the long run.
Here are a few more pointers to keep in mind when creating a successful call-to-action for your content marketing strategy:
Know your audience
- You have to know what kind of content your audience is looking for and how you can fill that need
- Make the content relevant, and tell them why it is relevant
- Answer the questions: Why me? Why now?
Keep it simple
- Make the action easy to complete
- Use as few form fields as possible to get your point across
- Make sure all downloads and links work properly
- Use descriptive action words; don’t simply say “click here”
Create powerful calls-to-action by following our rule of C's.
Use actionable direct verbs like "pledge," "give," "provide," or "donate." Specific as they are effective, they compel (see what I did there?) individuals to act. Oftentimes, you'll see words like "support," or "contribute." These descriptors are vague, rendering them much less powerful.
Tie your call-to-action directly to the impact of a donation. Use succinct storytelling to show your audience the difference a donation can make. Remember to illustrate the story as much as possible for the reader with visuals! For example, you could publish "$50 gave Zack, Maisie, and JP free #dental check-ups with fluoridation. Give another healthy smile for just $15! [your link]" with a photo of the kids smiling and holding organization signage, like a banner.
Compel people to act with deadline-oriented verbiage and conveying the importance of taking immediate action. During a time sensitive event like #GivingTuesday, you can drive donations by including phrases like "One hour left! We need 5 more donations to reach out $1500 goal! Donate at [your link]"
Another way to convey urgency is through visuals. Use an infographics or short video to show potential donors exactly what you would like to them to do.
Pro-tip: Include actionable next steps for donors to take after they have contributed. Can they call their senator? Post a shareable graphic about making a difference or your cause's core message on social media? Have a variety of next steps and shareable resources ready. Remember, the easier you make it, the harder it is to say no.
Plus, providing donors with a variety of steps and sharing options will help them feel ownership of the cause, build an emotional connection to the campaign objective's outcome, and increase the likelihood that they will donate in the future.
To summarize: Content marketing is about broadening your reach by creating valuable content designed specifically to attract and engage a clearly defined audience of supporters. Including a call to action is key for deepening engagement and signaling to supporters what you want them to do next. Once supporters see the importance and relevance of your content, they become more likely to be loyal supporters.