Everything You Should Know about a Call to Action in an Essay

A call to action in writing is a powerful tool for various goals. You may activate the readers to take real action after reading your piece, which will contribute to the improvement of the social or political situation. You may stimulate the audience to become buyers of your products and services with carefully crafted CTAs at the end of your offering. This way, a CTA links your text with action and achieves the effects besides mere informing or persuading. 

If you’re interested in mastering the art of call to action writing, welcome to this extensive guide with all the details and intricacies of this process explained. It introduces the CTA concept and explains how to write a call to action in an essay and other research paper types. Stay tuned to get all the information about CTAs from writing experts with a huge experience. 

Introduction to a Call to Action in an Essay 

Let’s first define call to action in an essay to move on with the full understanding of this concept. The call to action (or CTA) is a prompt formulated in a manner that activates an immediate response from the audience and directs the readers to take some intended action. It may be any action in the interest of the text’s author, with some examples including:  

  • Recommendations to reduce one’s carbon footprint after an extensive discussion of a single household’s effect on the environment with its daily activities and utility use. 
  • A call to subscribe to a service or buy a product after the enumeration of its benefits. 
  • A call to take some action right now because of the special deal with time limitations. 

The effect of the audience’s response and an impetus for real-world action is created by means of intensifying the sense of urgency in the readers. The CTA may also cover specific beneficial outcomes the readers will reap after following the suggested plan of action. This way, the combined effect of the perceived significance and value of the proposed response and the sense of urgency (or limited-time offering) typically lead to strong audience engagement. 

Call to Action: Essay Application Rules 

You have surely come across numerous CTAs in your life, sometimes not even thinking of them as CTAs. They are usually present on the websites’ action buttons and persuasive slogans placed on the banners inside informative texts. The use of CTA is commonplace and pervasive since it works well as a marketing tool and can make a real difference if you want your audience to take concrete steps after getting to your resource. 

Yet, our discussion relates to academic texts, mainly to the use of a call to action in an essay. So, what place is ideal for a CTA in an academic assignment? 

As a rule, the CTA is placed at the end of an essay – it should be the final part of your concluding section. The reason for locating it at the very end is pretty simple: you compose a long academic text with solid evidence arguing your position and supporting your claims with reliable scholarly sources. This way, your readers should be inclined to join your side by the end of reading, and they start reading your conclusion relatively convinced. You use the concluding section to reiterate and strengthen your arguments once more, which also adds to the persuasive effect. The final part of the conclusion bridges the audience’s persuasion to real-life actions. 

Let’s see how it works on a brief example: 

  • Your essay explores the impact of industrial activities on the marine environment in your specific location. 
  • You give a lot of evidence in support of the opinion that a local chemical plant is killing the marine ecosystem. 
  • Your readers – professors and classmates – residing in your location also get convinced about the harm that local chemical manufacturing does to the marine ecosystem’s health, but they are not sure about what they can do to stop that. 
  • By the end of the essay, you voice a strong call to action, such as joining a local advocacy group, proposing a policy to the local government for closing the facility, or imposing stricter control over waste disposal into the local waters. With that data in mind, your readers may get more active on the issue of local water pollution. 

The Typology of CTAs in Essays 

It’s not enough to understand, “What is a call to action in an essay”? To be a real master of CTA writing, you should gain proficiency in the CTA typology. This way, you will be able to recognize and differentiate various CTAs and meet different goals. 

  • CTAs calling for direct actions. This CTA requires the readers to take concrete actions related to the content of the essay. 
  • Informational CTAs. This CTA type encourages the audience to study the subject further and engage in deeper reading on the topic. 
  • Social sharing calls. Such CTAs promote content sharing on social networks. 
  • Calls for feedback. This CTA asks for feedback, meaning that a reader may post a comment or contact the author directly to share their impressions from reading the text. 
  • Personalized appeals. These CTAs are typical for the commercial field only; they move the readers on to personalized offerings and deals compiled based on the understanding of their tastes and preferences. 

Thus, as you can see, when it comes to a call to action, essay projects are not the only text where CTAs look natural and compelling. You may apply the CTA technique in any type of writing to achieve more tangible rhetorical effects or real changes. 

The Process of Creating a Strong CTA 

Now, it’s time to learn the creation of a call to action in writing projects of different types, such as, for instance, the call to action in persuasive writing

  • Mind the audience. Your CTA will be effective only if you tailor it precisely to your content and audience. It’s no use calling people to become more eco-friendly at the end of your essay if the entire text was dedicated to the benefits of industrialization. 
  • Use strong, active words. A CTA will work out only if there’s no ambiguity or indecisiveness in it. If you want your readers to take action, state that intention in active words using actionable language. 
  • Be goal-specific. You may urge the readers to take some action only if you’re concrete and specific in what exactly is needed. It is impossible to achieve tangible outcomes with vague goals or without them. That’s why you should understand the expected output before you create and frame your CTA. 
  • Focus on a sense of urgency. People are usually inclined to act only if they feel there’s no other way out of the situation. That’s why you should build a sense of urgency by indicating that action should be taken right now; this can be best achieved by enumerating the consequences of action and inaction. 
  • Communicate the benefits. Readers are also more likely to take the action you want them to if they understand what they will get. Thus, you should be specific about the benefits of taking this action, whether it is a discounted price in commercial offers or a positive social change in academic texts. 
  • Focus on clarity. The CTA should be brief and clear; this strategy minimizes the risk of confusion or a lack of understanding on the part of readers. 
  • Be consistent. It is essential to link the CTA with the rest of the content seamlessly so that the readers don’t feel manipulated. 
  • Choose the right place for the CTA. As a rule, the essay’s CTA will be at the end of the text. This way, you can restate all arguments, make a call to action, and then list the benefits of following this suggestion. 

Call to Action Examples: Essay and Other Projects 

As soon as you add a call to action, essay texts are sure to become more impactful. Here are a couple of examples of what a call to action in an essay should look like and what elements it should include to fulfill its goals. 

  • With all these ills of industrial pollution in mind, one can see that the scale of water contamination in Alabama is alarmingly high. Therefore, the local community must get active and join the local initiative “Stop Plan X from killing our fish.” Activism, volunteering activities for cleaning the coastal line, fundraising, and other contribution options are available to residents, with each equally appreciated as a step towards a cleaner marine ecosystem. 
  • As the presented evidence suggests, democratic gun control laws do not prevent gun crime and only perpetuate it on a larger scale. With the alarming statistics of rising mass shootings, one should take urgent action to curb uncontrollable violence and advocate for stricter gun possession legislation in Nebraska. Only political reforms of gun ownership and restrictions on gun storage precautions can reduce violence and protect innocent victims of shootings. 
  • The presented data confirms the value of low-fat diets for people with cardiovascular issues. Even healthy people should try to reduce the daily consumption of processed fats to see the immediate health benefits, such as better well-being, higher energy levels, and lower hypertension risks

Final Word: So, What Is the Call to Action in an Essay

With this information and illustrative examples at your fingertips, you’re sure to become an expert in call to action writing pretty quickly. Use this data to hone your writing skills and make your academic texts more impactful and memorable, invoking a strong, immediate response on the part of the audience. Mastering the art of CTA formulation is a universal skill that will add power and value to any type of writing you may be facing – in college and later at work.

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Caroline Hudson
Journalism & Mass Media
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