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Content Marketing With Video Tip 10 – The Call To Action Part 1

In Tip 8 – Know Your Video’s Purpose – I talked about three different types of videos.  Those three different video types were:

  1. To attract people to your website (attraction videos).
  2. To persuade people to buy your products or services (conversion videos).
  3. To help people who’ve brought your products or services actually use them (consumptionvideos).

For those folks who are using video as a fundamental part of their content marketing strategy, attraction videos are the type of videos that you should be making the most of.

The job of the attraction video is simply to attract people to your website – and the mechanism that you use to direct people from your attraction video(s) to your website is the Call To Action.

So What Is A Call To Action?

A Call To Action is an explicit mention in your video directing the viewer to undertake a specific activity.

These viewer activities could be:

  • Go to your website and subscribe
  • Like on Facebook
  • Subscribe on Youtube
  • Tweet a link

And so on.

Why Do We Need To Give A Call To Action?

Without a Call To Action, the viewer is far less likely to undertake actions that are favourable to the future development of our businesses – the majority will simply watch the video you have spent hours creating, learn what you teach, and then go elsewhere.

The chances of them searching out your website and actually taking any action are slim.

So we have to guide them.

What Is The ‘Best’ Call To Action?

There’s no right or wrong answer to this action.  The ‘best’ Call To Action for you depends on the goals you have with your videos.

However, for most businesses employing video content marketing I think that the ideal response you want from your viewers is to head over to your website and start reading/watching/listening to content there.

Or even better, head over to your website and subscribe to your mailing list before they start reading/watching/listening to content on your website.

This is the response that I want viewers of my videos to take.  And consequently my Call To Action reflects this.

How Should We Deliver The Call To Action?

Assuming that you are using YouTube as the first level of your video content marketing efforts, there are four ways you can deliver a call to action:

  1. Put the call to action in your script and speak it
  2. Put the call to action in the description
  3. Put the call to action in an annotation
  4. Put the call to action on a ‘graphic’

All three methods work – but I prefer to put the call to action in my script.  Not everyone reads the description that you include when you upload your video into YouTube – and indeed by default only the first line is visible when someone lands on your video page – so it can get missed.

And if someone is listening to your video and not watching they could completely miss your call to action if you put it in an annotation.

If you put the call to action on a graphic, then you probably would do that at the end of the video and leave the graphic visible for 10 or 20 seconds.  And again, this works – but when we look at where to put the call to action you’ll see why this shouldn’t be your preferred method of delivering the call to action.

So Where In Our Video Do We Put The Call To Action?

I see a lot of so-called video ‘goo-roos’ telling you to put the Call to Action at the end of your video.

I think this is a bad idea.  Here’s why: when people watch videos on YouTube there is a lot of noise…there is a string of related videos on the right hand side, at any moment they could click on one of those videos and move away from your video.

YouTube has a great set of analytics that are well worth getting to grips with….here’s a screenshot from the analytics of my most popular video (151,000 views and counting…)

This screen shot shows the retention of the audience as the video progresses.  You’ll see that this video is around 8 minutes 20 long – and that by the end of the video we are down to just 10% of people who started watching the video.

So if we put the call to action at the end of the video, then we’d only get our call to action in front of 10% of the people who actually view the video.

I don’t like those odds…that’s why for attraction videos I put my call to action at the front of the video.

Now in the next tip we’ll look in more detail at what information you should include in your call to action, but I’ll just finish this particular tip with a validation I just found.

So last night I was listening to the latest Podcast episode from Copyblogger – which you can find here:


This episode is very interesting – but have a listen to the first few minutes and you’ll find this structure:

  1. The host – Robert Bruce – introduces the Podcast and tells you what the topics are going to be.
  2. Robert then asks Brian a couple of questions not related to the podcast. (30 second mark)
  3. Robert then starts the call to action at the 1.10 mark by saying: “This show is brought to you by Internet Marketing For Smart People…” and so on.

It obviously works for Copyblogger – as they have 70,000 plus subscribers to the Internet Marketing For Smart People newsletter.  And it works for me too – my videos send a continual flow of traffic and subscribers.

One Final Thought

One other thing – and this is important – although you should concentrate on making your attraction videos high quality, you should ultimately remember that the main purpose of those attraction videos is to deliver the call to action and get as many of your viewers as possible to do what you would like them to do.


The Call To Action is the mechanism by which you direct the viewer to take the action that you would like them to take (either go to your website, subscribe to your youtube channel, tweet a link, etc).

There are several methods of delivering this call to action – in my opinion including the call to action in your script is the best method of delivering it.

Lots of so-called ‘goo-roos’ mention putting the call to action at the end of your video.  I suggest having it at the top of your video – that way more people will see it and hopefully take the action you want.  We’ll look at what to put in the call to action in more detail later this week.

Your Shout

As always, feel free to shout up with questions/comments/disagreements etc etc.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Ruth Zive April 2, 2012, 1:12 pm

    I am loving these posts Paul – so, so helpful.

    And while there have basically been no videos on my blog – I’m working behind the scenes. I’m shooting my videos in bulk (5 at a time) and then I’ll release them once every week. I’m wondering what you think of that idea? I have partnered with a friend of mine who is a professional videographer/multimedia guru, and so we are using his studio – and it’s easier to do several at a time. So the first shoot is next Monday, and then I’ll have a run of videos to post.

    In the meantime, leading up to my first proper video shoot, I’ve been taking notes from your blog – and this post is especially helpful. I definitely would have put the call to action at the end (as I do in all of my blog posts), but your rationale makes perfect sense.

    • Paul Wolfe April 2, 2012, 4:20 pm

      Hey ruth

      Glad you’re getting value….look out for another post on Thursday or Friday which will tell you EXACTLY what to put in your call to action!

      If you’re filming in batches of 4 or 5 at a time, then try and take 2 or 3 tops to change into so that you get some variety in your videos.
      But filming in batches makes sense if you don’t have your own studio.


      • Ruth Zive April 2, 2012, 4:25 pm

        Good suggestion! Thank you; hadn’t thought of that :-).

        • Paul Wolfe April 2, 2012, 4:39 pm

          Also if you have simple ‘hairstyle’ changes you can do between videos that also helps give the appearance that you’re filming on different days.

  • Pauline April 2, 2012, 1:26 pm

    Hi Paul
    I have just discovered your blog through Ruth’s and it could not come at a better time. One of the things on my “to do” list for this year is to start making videos for my blog, I need to come back and read though all your previous posts on this subject. I have not had the courage before to make a video so think I will start without me in front of the camera lol
    Thanks for sharing and I will be back!

    • Paul Wolfe April 2, 2012, 4:21 pm


      There’s a slew of video slanted resources on here….so do have a good trawl through. Look particularly for one called “HELPING MARCUS FIND HIS VIDEO MOJO” – that will give you some ideas on practicing for when you appear on camera.

      Welcome to Da SPoon by the way!


  • Ryan Hanley April 2, 2012, 2:01 pm


    Great stuff… I’ve always put my call-to-action at the end of my videos… That is changing from here on out. I knew that views dropped off quickly but I didn’t realize how quickly.

    Also now I’m thinking about what you said it just makes sense. Let the person know how to find out more and then if at any time during the video they want more they can just take the action.


    Ryan H.

    • Paul Wolfe April 2, 2012, 4:23 pm


      The other thing you can do apart from switching your Call To Action to the front of your video is to create an image to reiterate the call to action and remind those folks who do make it to the end of the video.

      There will be a detailed look at what goes into the call to action later in the week. Stay tuned for that.


  • Elena Ann April 3, 2012, 5:16 pm

    I love the call to action or CTA for a couple reasons. If you have a good cause for them to do it many people will. Once you have the people that have subscribed or whatever you wanted them to do they are committed to your action. Any further actions you take they will at least think about joining.

  • Pete Goumas April 3, 2012, 7:39 pm

    Hi Paul,
    No doubt you are a genius. Your tips on content marketing with video open my mind and now I could see my video making purpose on larger scale.Its an awesome tip to make attraction videos that deliver the call to action and get as many of our viewers as possible to do what we would like them to do.

  • Adrienne April 5, 2012, 5:16 pm

    So here is my question Paul…

    I open each video with welcoming them to my video, I then introduce myself along with my blog address and then I tell everyone what I”m going to be talking about in this video. Since I’m introducing my blog in the very beginning, is that a strong enough call to action? I don’t really want to include the link to my blog throughout my video because depending on what I’m sharing, I’ve found it to be in the way.

    I also close out my video with my blog URL as well and ask them to stop by. But, I’m doing the majority of my videos as blog posts so the most views are coming from people who are visiting my blog already.

    Great post and tips as always so your opinion is greatly appreciated.

    Have a great evening Paul!


    • Paul Wolfe April 6, 2012, 7:28 am


      Great questions – and they will be answered in full in my next post.

      Here’s a quick sketch of what i suggest.

      1. Introduce the video with your name and blog – (5 seconds max) and then reiterate the promise of the video title. Tell people what they’re going to learn by watching the video. Or what they’re going to get out of the video.

      2. Then a few more words of background/introduction to the video can be said. (This is optional though).

      3. Then the call to action. I always introduce with a phrase such as: “before we get started with the lesson, if you’re not a subscriber to my….blah blah blah” and deliver the call to action.

      4. I finish the call to action by saying: click on the link, go do that, and let’s move on with the first part of the lesson….”

      Important points to remember: know your business strategy before you devise a call to action. Align your call to action – and indeed your video marketing efforts with your business calls. For my bass guitar site my primary goal of the videos is to get people onto my email list – every call to action reflects that (though this wasn’t always the case).

      That won’t be the same goal for everyone – so you have to decide what YOUR primary goal is and why you’re posting videos on YoUTube. And then devise the CTA from there.

      There will be a fuller post later today or tomorrow….


      • Adrienne April 6, 2012, 3:15 pm

        I will definitely look forward to your next post so thanks for that.

        So if my call to action is to get them to subscribe to my list on my blog and they happen to see my video on YouTube, I guess it really doesn’t matter if they don’t finish watching the video or not since my purpose is to get that subscriber. So if they leave YouTube to subscribe to my blog it’s still a win/win. NICE!!!

        Thanks Paul, I can most definitely incorporate that and I’m saving this comment.. You’re the man!

        • Paul Wolfe April 7, 2012, 8:49 am


          That’s absolutely spot on – IF your goal is to get people to your website and consuming your content there (and hopefully subscribing/joining your email list).

          BTW, that’s something that very few people get and again comes back to understanding what the business goal of your videos are – and understanding what type of videos you are making (as in attraction, conversion or consumption videos. See tip 8 of the series).


        • Paul Wolfe April 9, 2012, 9:51 am

          Hey Adrienne

          It’s definitely a win-win if they go to your blog and subscribe. If they really are attracted to the information in your video, then they’ll watch it anyway. From what I can establish (from asking subscribers) folk find the video because the title appears to answer a problem or give them information they need. They watch teh video – and sit through the early call to action because they are anticipating the information.

          Then if you deliver a percentage of them will remember the call to action (espeically if you reinforce/repeat it) and go take the action.

          The sequence seems to work like this:

          1. Viewer finds video that answer question or gives solution to problem.
          2. Viewer sits through the Call To Action because he or she is anticipating the information.
          3. Viewer watches video and gets answer/is exposed to your authority/likes your style.
          4. Viewer remembers the Call to Action – especially if it’s reinforced and especially if there’s a ‘What’s In It For Me’ for them – and takes the Action you want.

          The beauty of it is that if you optimize your YouTube video properly then they act as ‘traffic attractors’ on a 24/7 basis. The more videos you have, the more that compound interest kicks in and the effect is magnified.


      • Paul,

        Love that little list you made. Perfect. I have over 75 WordPress and Thesis Theme Video Tutorials and I just recently started off the video by telling people they should go to my blog and subscribe! I tell them again at the end of the video, but by that time, the viewers have already gotten all the information that I was teaching in the video and may simply stop the video at that point. So giving them that CTA right in the beginning of the video I think is a great idea.

        And, like you, my Call To Action is to get them to subscribe to my blog and get on that email list!

        Very Simple!

        Thanks for sharing!
        ~ Jupiter Jim

        • Paul Wolfe April 9, 2012, 9:45 am

          Hey Jim

          Great minds think alike! Positioning the call to action at the beginning of your video is (IMHO) the best position for it – and then at the end of the video you can reinforce the call to action with a still with your URL on it. I’ve recently added an arrow pointing to the URL in my description – I’m gonna change that to a little animated section with a bouncing arrow…. the beauty of these little things is you make them once and use them for every video going forward.


  • Melanie@Virtual Receptionist Services April 5, 2012, 10:00 pm

    Great post, Paul. I think stressing the call to action is key because it’s so important but often missed. Just from watching videos on YouTube I’ve noticed how powerful those calls to action really are. When I’m asked to do something, if I liked the video it came from, I’m very likely to do it. Especially if it is easy to accomplish, like opting in to a newsletter or something like that.

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