More Than Words: Writing with Intent

Last Update: January 08, 2018

I love to write. I always have.

As far back as I can remember, I used to sit and write stories, while my friends went out to play or watched TV. I don't mind writing short articles, or long ones, and I like to think that I am reasonable proficient at it. But what I don't always take into account, especially when just writing for pleasure, but also when working on my blog or my site, is that writing should be more than words.

I don't mean add a bunch of images, though obviously, if we are talking about our sites that is helpful. What I am thinking of is what Kyle likes to refer to as writing with intent, and while the idea has obviously been presented to me in the past, the importance of it has been reiterated to me this past week.

Conversational Tone, Not a Conversation

I'd like to think that I am fairly good at writing with a conversational tone, but that doesn't mean it should just be a conversation (albeit one-sided). We aren't writing just for fun. The point of our writing is to help people out, and also to make a success out of our online businesses.

To that end, our writing should have purpose.What are we trying to accomplish? I could write page after page of what I think about something, but if it doesn't help someone, or if it doesn't somehow inspire them to take action, then I have failed.

And, frankly, I think I have been failing.

The Fabled Call to Action

What is it that I have been missing?

Well, aside from needing a bit more focus in general, I often fail to provide a call to action, and that seems to be my biggest downfall.

How often have we all watched movies where a leader of some sort-- whether a football coach or the leader of a rebel army-- gives a rousing speech, stirring up their followers, followed by a stunning victory? Those inspiring speeches end with a call to action.

I don't think I have ever come across one of those scenes where, at the end of the speech, the leader simply stops talking, turns, and walks away, leaving everyone excited and ready to act, but unsure of what to do. And if I have seen something like that, I don't remember it.

Do you want visitors to your site to forget you? Or do you want to inspire them to do something?

Do you get visitors to your site excited? Do you stir up their passions and get them primed and ready to act? Do you then simply sign off at the end of your blog without directing that awesome energy?

Yeah, I have done that.

People Come to Us for Guidance

When someone visits your site, they are coming to you with a purpose. You should meet them with purpose of your own.

You may be the most brilliant writer, with a natural flair for words, but if you don't actually guide your visitors and tell them what to do, they probably won't do anything.

Now, I don't mean that you want to force them into anything. Of course not. But if they want advice on a product, or information on a certain topic, then simply tossing facts at them isn't that helpful, unless you can also tell them how they can take advantage of what you have shown them.

If you are promoting something and you think it is absolutely the best of its kind, that's great, but if you don't provide a way for someone to actually obtain that item, you are not only missing out on a sale, but you are failing your customer. They will, of course, be the ones to decide if they act on what you say, but you have to give them the option to do so, or else you are simply leaving them hanging.

If you offer them a way to act, they will do so. You will be helping them and helping yourself in the process.

Give Them the Help They Need.

I'd suggest reviewing your writing. Take a look at any blogs or articles you have done and see if you have provided effective calls to action. If you really want to help your potential customers, you need to help them all the way.

Don't tell them how great a car is and then not hand them the keys.

Your clients come to you with a need and if you can't help them, someone else will, so take the initiative and do more than just get them excited with nowhere to turn. Use your call to action. Get them moving in the right direction.

Then you know you have done your job right.

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newmarketpro Premium
Great one.

Thanks Craig.
Joe
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CarolMeador Premium
Great post, Craig. Made me think about my own site. I am putting in affiliate links for ballroom dance shoes after my review so they can purchase the shoes they've just read about. Hope it gets me some commissions! Carol
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CraigW315 Premium
I hope so too!
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CannCoder Premium
Great Blog. I think Call to action is one of my greatest weaknesses.
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CraigW315 Premium
It seems to be that way for a number of people!
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AnnieCollyer Premium
Very good focus on the call to action! I like it a lot.
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CraigW315 Premium
Thank you!
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accad Premium
That's the essence of blogging.
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ErikWhite Premium
Great advice, Craig. Purposeful content is number one priority, in my opinion. Everyone could use some practice in this area (myself included)!

Erik W.
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StPaul Premium
Dear friend as always this is a well written post and for sure i will revisit my post and update it with call to action...Great post keep up the good work...
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CraigW315 Premium
Thank you very much!
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Stella2 Premium
I know what you mean, Craig. I think we writers who are a bit on the creative side sometimes get more distracted by our creativity.

I have been guilty of sometimes getting so caught up in the flow of what I am writing that I forget to make the point for the reader.

I've gotten better because the beauty of WA is that good advice gets repeated often enough to sink in, but I still have to guard against it.

Good point! :-)
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CraigW315 Premium
Good points. I know that when I am writing fiction, I will pretty much do the opposite of what we would do in our blogs, in that I will present the facts and let the reader draw their own conclusions. You don't want to hold the reader's hand too much in those cases, but when it comes to marketing, you need to!
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Stella2 Premium
Exactly! :-)
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DebbieRose Premium
Very interesting post...and obviously so true. Our writing has to motivate the reader to do something. It puts a whole new focus on quality content. Thanks.
Debbie
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CraigW315 Premium
Thank you for commenting Debbie!
I am always happy to hear from you!
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CraigO1 Premium
Awesome article Craig. It is obvious you like to write and from the articles of yours that I have read it is clear you are gifted in that area. Keep it up! I do enjoy reading your perspective.
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CraigW315 Premium
Thank you! I appreciate that!
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DanETD Premium
Great article, Craig. Handing them the keys - very good point.
Daniela
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CraigW315 Premium
Thanks!

Yep, don't do a bunch of work for nothing. Finish the job!
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Anthonyhu Premium
Always enjoy reading your article, full of positive energy and inspiration. You take full action on everything, which inspire me to the the same.
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CraigW315 Premium
Thank you! That's very kind of you to say!
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mybiz4u Premium
Absolutely, C. We need to ensure that when we write, we write for our audience and when they leave, we want to ensure that they take away something useful to them.
Thanks for sharing.
M
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TaniaHersel Premium
Great Craig. The Call To Action is something I need to focus on.
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CraigW315 Premium
It's something many of us seem to forget, at least when we are getting started.
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1signbanner Premium
Craig, I have bad news for you! I have just added you to my mentors to follow. I really like your blogs.

You really do "talk to me," for that I thank you!

Now I have you Bo, Mike and Ariel on my list to follow.

Sorry fella you have no choice but to have me.

Frank =)
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CraigW315 Premium
Rats!

Ha ha!

I am more than happy to have you. I am even happier if I can manage to help you in some way. :)
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1signbanner Premium
See Craig, Many years ago I decided to learn how to draw caricatures. I haven't reach there yet. Am getting there but nowhere close. Like drawing I had mentors who taught me to draw.

They had no books to teach but only by examples of their work that I learned. No school needed.,

I can't write for beans. By surrounding me with your articles as well as Bo's style of writing.(I know the difference betw. the two of you) Mike Kerns and of course who don't like Ariel's articles.

I learning thru you'all by examples of your writing. So thru osmosis and being around you guys, I can only get better.

What more can I ask.

Thanks Craig, I chose you and my favorites to follow.

I feel your pain! hee hee hee lols!


Frank =)
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CraigW315 Premium
I think your caricatures are pretty awesome. I wouldn't have thought you were self-taught.
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1signbanner Premium
Why thank you Craig, that is humbling.

Now I must be around you guys/gal. I will get good at it because of you'all. Not near as but you know what I mean!


Thanks!
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SongbirdDL Premium
Never will I struggle with the call to action ever! You have given me good guidance on this.

This is something I have always struggled with because I thought it makes me appear salesy. Your post has made me see it from a totally different angle.

Thank you Craig. This was a well written post.

~Danielle
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CraigW315 Premium
Thank you very much Danielle.

That was my feeling at first, too.I thought it made me sound pushy and aggressive, but it's part of helping the reader. I had to realize that it's not forcing them to do anything-- they still make their own choices, after all-- but it is giving them guidance.
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AlexEvans Premium
Job well done Criag, really like your ideas, I guess we can all be remiss when including that call to action, if we don't ask then our readers will not follow, it doesn't have to be sell, sell, sell, asking to follow an internal link can do the trick sometimes, thank you for the reminder.
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CraigW315 Premium
Thank you for commenting.
I know that this has been an issue for me in the past, so it is something I am trying to address now, and continue to do as I move forward.
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DEversley Premium
Excellent as usual Craig.
We must certainly give them the keys. Love it. Sums everything up nicely.
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CraigW315 Premium
Thank you very much!
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Flash4 Premium
Great discussion Craig. I agree we need to "close the deal" coming from an insurance back ground, my father a trainer to new recruits, I caught his lessons. Always close the deal. So hard for new salesmen, they had to learn it's O.K. to ask.
It tips the scale, "do you want it"
Thank you for the reminder Craig.
Cheers Jae
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JLennon Premium
Thanks, Craig. I know my writing needs help and this is some of the help it needs.
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CraigW315 Premium
Great! If this helps in any way, I am very happy.
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Kevin02 Premium
I feel like my articles have a good call to action, but I feel as your articles are better broken up though as it is easier to read.
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CraigW315 Premium
People like smaller paragraphs and bite-sized bits of information these days. We used to read long paragraphs without any problem, but now we tend to tune out when we see a wall of text.

This technique has been around forever though... Writers of fiction tend to use short paragraphs during scenes involving action or tense moments, giving a greater sense of urgency.

Try splitting up your paragraphs a bit. It's no problem to go back over a post to edit it. In fact, it's usually a good thing.

Have fun!
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Kevin02 Premium
Yeah, I try to split up big paragraphs, but I could do it more often.
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renzki1375 Premium
Wow! What a guidance. This will help me a lot in writing. To help people to resolve their problems.
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CraigW315 Premium
Glad to hear that!
I hope it really is helpful to you.
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Lazyblogger Premium
Love this article. many times you fill a need and give a solution and then stop. The person reading has no way to turn after solving the problem. I know I am guilty of that on several occasions.

I am now going through all my blog posts and include a call to action, glad that you see the value in this. A lesson learned. Thank you.
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CraigW315 Premium
Thanks for commenting!

I know that for me personally, I often simply forgot the CtA, but when I remembered, I also hesitated a bit because I didn't want to appear too pushy or sales-y.

I didn't realize at the time how much people actually look for that kind of guidance. As a result, I missed out, and likely so did they.
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Dhind1 Premium
This was nicely written, I agree you are good at writing. The CTA question is very valid and yes, I am not certain I have exercised it. I will check. Thanks.
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CraigW315 Premium
I definitely think it is worth checking. Unless your readers have a real way to act, you are writing your posts for nothing more than information.

That may be fine in some cases, but even if you are simply providing people with knowledge, offering them a way to put it to use just makes good sense.

And thanks for the compliment!
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LindaMo Premium
Thanks for sharing!
Somehow I think that I have a similar problem.
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CraigW315 Premium
I think it's a pretty common problem, actually.
But that is why we are here, after all. We want to learn how to do things more effectively.
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rrmorawski Premium
Very practical and important information Craig. I have not written a blog yet, but will certainly make note of the CTA. Thanks!
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CraigW315 Premium
Great! I certainly hope that this will be helpful to you. There can be a lot of things to remember when setting up your site, or when blogging, but this is-- as the image in the post suggests-- the real key.
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lvsysop Premium
After reading this post and many others I am going to take a look at the pages and posts on my site to make sure I am helping and ending with a CTA. Thanks for this post ..Chip..
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CraigW315 Premium
I think that's a great idea. Reviewing your work never hurts, and Google actually takes it as a sign of an active site.

Best of luck to you!
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SBotwe Premium
Craig, I definitely support your point. Call to action is very vital for our business as affiliate marketers.

In this way we tell our visitors what exactly they should do

Thanks for sharing
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CraigW315 Premium
Thanks for responding!

If we don't include a call to action, we have let our readers down, I think.
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Claudioj Premium
I also think today after reading your post that I am missing a call to action. I find it difficult to find an effective call to action. I am trying to promote WA...I will find the way..Many thanks you open my eyes.
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CraigW315 Premium
My pleasure! I hope this helped in some way.

It can be a s simple as reviewing an old post and adding a line or two at the end. It's really just a way to get people to put into effect what you just told them.
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Kickbacked Premium
Hi Craig

Nice post with very useful tips!

Tim
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CraigW315 Premium
Thank you! I appreciate you taking the time to read and respond.
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Kickbacked Premium
Hi Craig
You are welcome!

Tim
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zngqisha Premium
You've articulated yourself very well Craig. You are indeed a gifted and you were able to further reinforce in my mind the need to write with purpose or a clear intent. I'm certainly thankful to be part of your connections.

Regards,
Zola
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CraigW315 Premium
Thank you very much!

I think there are a lot of great communicators here at WA, but sometimes they simply overlook a small detail that might help. I know I have done that many times...

I am happy to have connected with you as well!
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LoveTanja Premium
Great Article - I am keeping this in mind as I build my site.

I've also started reading a really great book that talks about how true leaders really do influence the behavior and actions of others. If anyone is interested in the book, it's called: Influencer: The Power to Change Anything.
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CraigW315 Premium
Interesting! I will have to add that to my ever-growing list!
I love reading almost as much as writing. I just need to add a few hours to my day!

Thanks for commenting!
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MarkBa Premium
I enjoyed reading your post Craig. I think a lot of us don't give sufficient attention to the CTA. I guess we need to make it a priority and be mindful of it whenever we we post something to our sites.

Writing conversationally so that others relate to what we saying is so important. The great thing about this however is that you don't have to be a "good" writer just one whose effective at reaching your audience.

Mark
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CraigW315 Premium
I agree. Any time someone tells me they are not a good writer, I ask them "can you have a conversation?"

To me, writing is nothing more than that: communicating. You don't need to have a perfect grasp of language, or a million-dollar vocabulary.

What you need is to be able to speak to people.

Thanks for commenting!
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wozzy Premium
Craig, once again a great post.

You obviously have a flair for this.

I'm still finding my feet, mind you, they are still about 6 feet in the mud.

Joking aside, when I joined WA I really didn't think I would take to this writing lark but found that I am actually enjoying it and learning all the time. Good job eh?

I guess the more you write the better you should get, or that is the theory behind it.

I still can't see the light at the end of the tunnel but that will change, that is for sure, hopefully, sooner rather than later.

Enjoy the rest of your evening.

Mick
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CraigW315 Premium
It is hard for me to imagine someone not enjoying the writing process, but I know that this is the case for many.

My feeling, though, is that the more you do it, the more comfortable you will become. The more comfortable you become, the more natural your writing will feel for you, and read for others.

Once you are at that point, I think you will be amazed at how well you can do. All it takes is getting started.
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Nadja3 Premium
True... I have to admit - I am still struggling with the call for action, I have to go back to review my pages and posts... I have a lot of work ahead
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CraigW315 Premium
Step by step. :)
As I mentioned below, it may be useful to keep a checklist for when you write something.

I tend to write fast, off the top of my head. As a result, I sometimes skip over things I want and need to say.
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MaureenP7 Premium
Thanks. I needed this. I find writing for a website the most difficult part. It has given me inspiration.
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CraigW315 Premium
I am happy to hear that.
Everything gets easier with practice. Just keep going and you will be amazed at what you can do.
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Kvillafana1 Premium
Great post, Thank you! I will be adding the call to action to all my posts.
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CraigW315 Premium
Awesome!
Let me know what kind of difference it makes for you!
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GoranBockman Premium
Thanks for this important heads up. I have that same tendency. I get so wrapped up in the writing; the aesthetics of the swirling garlands of words that I lose sight of the goal, to lead people to a new and better path.
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CraigW315 Premium
I have taken to keeping a checklist.
I write, then re-read, checking things off as I go. If I miss something, it's time for an edit!
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pbuss Premium
Crisp and clear message. And the subheadings help skimming through and read selectively really well, when one is in more of a hurry :)
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CraigW315 Premium
Thanks for checking it out and commenting!
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MKearns Premium
I've used visual images as part of CTA training in the past Craig!
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CraigW315 Premium
I'm working on it. Ha ha!
I just need to remember the cta more often. I have been guilty of forgetting it in the past.
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KitTyler Premium
This is important, and equally applicable to other forms of interaction (as your movie example points out). I've been doing a lot of decernment lately re how to move forward with my life, and this has definitely given me food for thought.

:-)
Kit
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CraigW315 Premium
Excellent. I am glad to hear that!
Thanks for commenting.
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GBridgart Premium
Great post! I am starting to get a better handle on the way I should write,the showing them how takes some real thought .
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CraigW315 Premium
It does, but just remember the basic formula:
-- state a problem
-- state a solution
-- tell them how it benefits them
-- tell them what action to take.

You have to remember that people come to your site for guidance.
Give it to them.
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Ezio530 Premium
Very clear. I think I need to go back and really find a way to put calls to action in my posts. I thought because my site is more learning than pushing a product or service that call to action was kind of useless to me.
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CraigW315 Premium
Not really. A call to action doesn't have to be "go buy this!"
You could simply let them know how to put the knowledge you've given them to use.
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arielharris7 Premium
Craig, this is fabulous! I especially like the visual of handing over a car without the keys! That is a great thought to have every time we write..did I give the reader the keys?
So helpful and informative. Great job!
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CraigW315 Premium
Thank you! Much appreciated.
I know it's something I struggled with (and still do...)
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