By Pawan Deshpande published July 17, 2013

5 Tips Every Content Curator Needs to Write Better Calls to Action

content curatorCalls to action (CTAs) are among the most neglected of content marketing components — in both curated and created content. Yet, they are also among the discipline’s most essential features in terms of providing brand value. These simple, yet targeted, phrases are directly responsible for encouraging your audience to take a next step toward becoming a loyal customer, such as downloading your white paper, following you on Twitter, registering for your webinar, or sharing your content with a friend or colleague.

Without a call to action, content marketing efforts amount to little more than writing exercises. It’s not enough to publish useful information; you want readers to engage with you and take an action that will provide value for your business. 

Here are a few examples:

CMI cta

  • From an article on blog content, from Think Traffic:

cta-add to comments

In addition to being essential to your original content creation efforts, CTAs are also vital tools for the content curator. In the curation scenario, focus should be placed on the portion of the curated article where you provide commentary on why the content is relevant, rather than impacting any sections that you’re quoting and attributing to the original author. In the process of annotating and adding your own perspective, you can also elicit opinions from your readers and ask them to comment, as I did in this post on content marketing tools:

list-cta attributions

Creating your call

What goes into a strong call to action? Here are five tips for making yours as effective as possible.

  • Choose a goal: Should your CTA generate webinar sign-ups? eBook downloads? Social media shares? Something else? Write your CTA based directly on your most important current marketing goal — and always include a link so that the reader can take the desired action with minimal hassle.
  • Consider the context: Where is the prospect in the sales cycle? It doesn’t make sense for someone coming to your home page for the first time to get a CTA about buying an expensive product. In such a case, a CTA such as “request a demo” or “learn more” might be more appropriate. In addition, CTAs for content on your own blog might assume more familiarity with your brand than CTAs in guest blogs or other content you place on third-party websites; but remember that, thanks to Google, you never know where someone will enter your site for the first time.
  • Make it short and actionable: Cramming multiple CTAs into one piece of content can lower conversion rates, while long, wordy CTAs can confuse readers or simply get ignored. Another reason to keep it short: If you’re putting a CTA in a button, long strings of text won’t have the same visual impact as a short one. Nowadays, most consumers understand that a hyperlink is intended for them to click, so it’s unnecessary to say “Click here to register for our free webinar.” Instead, a simpler call action stating, “Register for our free webinar” is likely to have a stronger impact.
  • Place it strategically: When writing a short snippet of curated content, it’s probably not the best idea to include a CTA there, as it may distract readers when viewing that content. When providing a longer annotation on why the content is relevant, that might be a more appropriate place for your CTA. Below is an example of a CTA incorporated within the curated annotation.

CTA insights

Alternately, you could encourage readers to spread your content through social media or email by including a share bar or sharing buttons on your site.

  • Test your CTAs: Conduct A/B testing to find out what CTA messages are working best for your target audience. Does tweaking the wording or placement of your CTA change its impact? If so, you will want to adjust your strategy accordingly for future content creation/curation.

Looking for additional tips to make your content creation and curation efforts more targeted and effective? Don’t miss your chance to engage with Curata, and our other fantastic sponsors, at Content Marketing World 2013.

Cover image via Bigstock

Editor’s note: Curata is a Content Marketing Institute benefactor, which is a paid supporter of our website and content creation activities.

Author: Pawan Deshpande

Pawan Deshpande is the founder and CEO of Curata, a Boston-based company offering content marketing software used by thousands of marketers around the world. He spearheaded the first-ever panel at SxSW on Content Marketing in 2011, and was a 2014 Finalist for MarketingProfs B2B Marketer of the Year. Pawan was an engineer at Microsoft and Google where he was awarded patents in social networking and machine learning. He previously attended MIT where his graduate thesis won top departmental and international awards. You can contact Pawan via Twitter @TweetsFromPawan or on LinkedIn. Interested in the state of the content marketing industry in 2016? Download Curata's 2016 Content Marketing Staffing & Tactics Study.

Other posts by Pawan Deshpande

  • Shoplet Promos

    This is all straight-forward stuff but it’s so easy to forget details like this. It’s always helpful to have a checklist in front of you ESPECIALLY when it’s related to converting content into sales or social media shares. It’s such an important step in the process that it’s really painful to realize you screwed it up after it’s too late.

    • JessieZubatkin

      Yes! Exactly – a good call to action can make all the difference in your campaign. Thanks for reading!

  • Braden Talbot

    I’ve tried to insert these into my posts, but it comes off awkward. I will be using some of these tips. Thanks.

  • Hank B.

    Nice post I think! It is nice of you to share. Nice place.

  • ‘TC’ Teresa Clark


    Great article and I think that considering the content and placing that content strategically creates better CTA’s. I follow these simple techniques when creating content.

    I create content that comes from the people that know the most about why someone buys, the customer. Consumers are a vital source when creating content to help improve your business’ success. Not only will they share stories about their experience with you, they will also have quirky antidotes that can help boost the morale and performance of your business.



    • JessieZubatkin

      Spot on! Customers can help push your content forward! Great suggestion!

  • Benjamin Skinner

    It makes sense that a good call to action is important with content curation, because it gets readers involved more. I’m going to begin using CTAs more in my social media campaigns because of this post so thank you.

    As a side note content marketing doesn’t work without quality content behind you. Lean Words provides content that you can build your site with.

  • Abhiroop Basu

    A sound CTA is essential, but one of the problems we have found is making it easily relatable across a broad-spectrum of customers. For example, we have small companies and mid-sized companies reading our blogs, so sometimes CTAs don’t apply to one or the other.

    • JessieZubatkin

      Have you thought about adding in multiple CTAs? One that resonates to each audience?

      • Abhiroop Basu

        That’s an interesting idea. Would it get a bit too “spammy”?

        • JessieZubatkin

          Yes, you’re right. It could but it could also work in your favor… it depends on your tone and your audiences? I’m not familiar with your business but maybe something like “if you’re a business who focuses on the b2b market, check out eBook XYZ, which will help you (insert the benefit to that audience here) and if you’re focused on the b2c market, then this eBook may be a better choice for you because (insert your benefit here).” If you position the CTA to help them help themselves, that may work. Good luck!

  • Chris Gaffney

    Hey man, great article! I wanted to share it on Google+ and Twitter to help you get the word out, but the URL seems somehow goofed. Thought you might want to know so you can get some more traffic, ’cause the content definitely deserves to be shared.

    • Michele Linn

      Hi Chris — I agree that Pawan has some great insights. Thanks for letting us know about the issues with the social sharing. I tested both Twitter and Google+ and everything is working for me. if you have any additional issues, can you let me know? I’m michele [at]

  • Elizabeth McGee

    Hey Pawan,
    I love the Call to Action topic because you can do it in all of your content, even if it’s just to ask for a comment or a click on a link.
    Visitors don’t always think about what to do next after reading something except to simply move on, so you need give them that suggestion, and Interestingly enough they more often than not take it.
    What helps most with creating a call to action is making sure you have a goal for the piece you write. What do you hope to accomplish with your blog post or article? You should have that in mind before you begin writing. For example, if what you’re writing is intended to boost your email subscriber list you’ll want to ask for a sign up as your CTA. But if your content doesn’t have a goal you won’t know what your CTA should be.
    Nice post. Thanks!
    Liz 🙂

  • Gabe Nies

    Great article Pawan! Thanks!


  • ronellsmith

    Thanks, Pawan. This piece serves as a reminder that I need to revisit CTAs on my site. They are something I notice on each site I visit, and as you assert, they are a frequent area of neglect.

    What I’ve found is that, for folks with large following/communities, it’s much easier to get by with little attention being given to CTAs, especially if “growth” is not the main priority. However, the vast majority of us who are neglecting CTAs are doing so unknowingly.

    Thanks for the reminder.


  • Hair Erazor

    Excellent article!

  • FeedCurator

    Great piece of advice, as a content curator you need to know your target. Also it is also important that yo know the current trends so that your audience to related on your topic. You can try feed curator for free.