At the beginning of the year I wrote a post about the classic AIDA advertising formula and how it could be applied to a blog post when you want readers to take some form of action. The formula essentially allows you to turn a content piece into a landing page that funnels your readers in a desired direction.
Chris Garrett expands on AIDA for bloggers, and hits the nail on the head regarding the types of actions you want to focus on when employing this strategy. In essence, you’re looking to incrementally deepen the relationship.
Chris uses this analogy to dissuade you from simply posting a sales letter in the normal course of your blogging:
It’s like walking into a bar and asking the first likely candidate for your, um, affections, to go back to your place for … coffee … before you have even introduced yourself or bought them a drink.
So you have to woo your prospect. Give a little, show you are trustworthy and your stuff is good. Get them to believe your promises and reward that trust. Each step reinforces the relationship and desire builds.
This is exactly right, and harkens back to the third post I ever wrote for Copyblogger, in which I proposed that you take your readers “off road” (outside of the day-to-day posting environment). In other words, you offer great value with content that is relevant to your ultimate offer, and then employ a call to action that invites the reader to take the next step in the process.
Your call to action can drive the reader to whatever selling vehicle you propose, such as a focused sales page, a marketing tutorial contained in a free report or white paper, or an email announcement list related to the launch of a new product.
As I’ve said before, your content is an opportunity to gain a seat at the table with your prospect. In essence, you’re selling them on “sitting down with you” by subscribing to your blog. Content alone is not going to maximize the marketing potential of your efforts, but you do need to extend yet another invitation to the reader to take the next step, rather than throwing something unexpected at them as soon as they take a seat.
In other words, you’re always selling. First and foremost, it’s your authority and credibility that you’re selling via content. After those have been established, you’ll find a much more receptive audience for your ultimate offer.