I ran across a post this morning from Amanda Clark (@GrammarChicInc) on “10 Ways Businesses Can Blog Better.”

Number seven was “The Call-to-Action.”

Every business-sponsored blog should incorporate a call-to-action at the end of a blog. This is a small section that explains how you, the business, can help readers solve the topic (usually a problem or question). Add a link to your site, a phone number, and keep it short.

I thought Clark may be referring to having a section on your blog where you refer to who you are, what it is you do for people or companies, and how people can get a hold of you. But the last sentence of her post read:

At Grammar Chic, Inc. we specialize in editing and helping whip business blogs into respectable shape. Have questions? Let us know at 803-831-7444.

I tweeted that I disagree with including a call to action in a blog post. I shared that I found it counter-productive in law blogs where lawyers ought be seeking to building relationships, enhancing their reputation, and establishing trust.

I received a little pushback from Clark and Michigan Attorney Chris Berry (@chrisberryesq). Berry subscribes to the 80/20 rule, presumably meaning to give 80% of time while asking for something 20% of the time. He also suggested the call to action could be as little as offering an opt-in to a newsletter or a free report.

Clark found my point of view interesting but offered that many of the attorneys and professional services she works with ask for balance to be struck between the two. That being trust, relationships, and influence versus selling someone to take action.

Lawyers blog to build relationships and enhance their word of mouth reputation. It’s all about establishing trust with clients, prospective clients, and, most importantly, influencers of these two. Influencers being leading bloggers, the mainstream and trade media, association leaders, conference coordinators, and the like.

If you establish this trust, build relationships, and accelerate your reputation as a go-to lawyer in a niche area of the law or locale, you’ve have received one-hundred times what you may get from people responding to a call to action.

Lawyers and professionals seeking this higher form of business and professional development are above a call to action. Look at how a call to action is defined by Wikipedia.

A call to action, or CTA, is a banner, button, or some type of graphic or text on a website meant to prompt a user to click it and continue down a conversion funnel. It is an essential part of inbound marketing as well as permission marketing in that it actively strives to convert a user into a lead and later into a customer.

Is that really what you are after as a lawyer? A funnel, conversions, and leads. Maybe for some, but I’ll take relationships and reputation.

I was as insecure as anyone when I started blogging. How was anyone going to know what I did and who I did it for? How was anyone going to know how I could help them?

I had to put a call to action sentence at the bottom of each post telling my readers about me and my services. But after trying it for a couple months, it just didn’t feel right. I also didn’t see a call to action on posts from the leading bloggers I followed.

Look at pieces in business journals, reviews, and publications. Look at insight from doctors, engineers, professors, and commentators in these publications. You don’t see a “call me for this or that” at the bottom. It’s just not done.

Why accept that you and your blog posts are any less authoritative than pieces published by these folks? Why feel so vulnerable that you’ll offer your expertise but only if it includes a qausi-ad?

People have no problem finding out who you are, what you do, and how to get a hold of you once they appreciate your passion, knowledge, expertise, and care. They’ll click over to an “about” and “contact” page on your blog.

What’s the downside of a call to action?

  • Your blog will be cited less, if at all by leading bloggers and reporters. They don’t like promoting others marketing.
  • You are at risk of being viewed by as “just another advertising lawyer.” A call to action feels much like a telephone number in the banner of a blog.
  • You look different than other online authorities not using a call to action. Perhaps you are not as a reliable and trusted authority as those folks.

More is less here. Resist the temptation to tell people the obvious.