Call to Action
What do you want your readers to do?
You're thinking, "Duh, Caroline. I want them to read my blog."
No you don't.
You want your reader to do something after they have read your blog. Remember, you're blogging with purpose now. You're not blogging just for yourself anymore. It's not about you. It's about your reader.
So, what about about them? What do they want? And how does that tie in to what it is that you want them to do?
Your reader might be a potential cousin. Or they might be someone who might know where to look for more information so you can tear down that brick wall. So, do you want them to read what you wrote and then move on? No. You want them to contact you. When was the last time you asked your reader to contact you? Have you made it easy for your readers to contact you? How badly do you want your readers to contact you? That's what I thought.
You're no longer messing around at blogging. You're blogging with purpose and your purpose is to get your potential cousins or people with more information than you to contact you. So ask them. Give them a call to action at the end of every post. Craft your post in such a way that the natural thing to do next is to contact you. And make it an easy process. [Read: Stop that captcha business.]
Your readers are either members or potential members. Sure, you want to be helpful and have as much information at your reader's disposal as possible on your site. But what about your blog? There are a lot of options and they all depend on your goals.
Certainly membership is one of those, but do you have a newsletter? [Or are you sending out way too many newsletters?] Do you have meetings? [Are those meeting rooms filled to capacity?] Do you have a conference that you sponsor or is your society participating in a conference? Or would you just like for your readers to leave a comment on your blog posts? Determine each blog post's goal. Notice I said goal and not goals. Don't make this complicated with more than one goal in a blog post.
Say for example your meeting rooms are not at capacity and your board has decided to really start making an effort at increasing membership and participation. You might craft a blog post about your society's features and benefits. Then ask your reader to come to a meeting. Is this going to make your meeting room overflowing to capacity? Probably not, but did you ask your reader to come to the meeting at the end of your blog post?
The Meeting button link in the sidebar or at the top of your website is not enough. You need to ask your blog readers to come to your meeting. You must give your reader a call to action at the end of every blog post that is predetermined by the goal of your blog post. And make it easy. [Read: Stop that captcha business.]
Professional Genealogists & Genealogy-related Businesses
You want clients or customers. [And you want them to come back. Well, most of them.] That's your ultimate goal, but today's online business environment mimics days of old when a business owner or business person actually got to know their clients and customers before they were their clients and customers. They went to church together. They shopped at the same grocery store. Their kids were on the same little league team.
Oh wait. That happens now. But in addition to it happening close to home, so to speak, it happens online every single day on social networks. People are finding they have something in common with someone else halfway around the world. Oh wait. That used to happen with the Pen Pal network. [Remember that?]
Turns out we're pretty social people. No matter the time period or method of finding people, we find and hangout with people we have something in common with. We build relationships.
And relationships between business owners and the people they come into contact with can foster loyalty. And that loyalty can turn into a client or a customer because people do business with people they know before they'll do business with someone they don't know.
Which brings me to a call to action. Depending on the goal of your blog post, you need to be giving your readers a call to action. Your blog post goal may be to help your readers with a particular genealogy research method, or how to use your website or software more effectively, or to come meet you at whatever conference you're going to have a booth at.
So as you form your relationships with your readers in blog post after blog post, then ask your readers to do whatever it is you want them to do at the end of each blog post. Remember, you have a relationship with them, or at least you're trying to build one. Go ahead and ask your readers to do what you'd like them to do. Every blog post is an opportunity. And make it easy for them to respond. [Read: Stop that captcha business.]
The Take Away
Have your goal determined before writing your blog post, write your blog post, and then present a call to action to your reader at the end of your blog post.