I’m going to share a little secret: the process I go through when writing a new blog post isn’t usually this: “Idea = Blog Post”
Instead, my equation looks a little more like this:
“Problem > Research > Solution > Blog Post > Feedback > Better Solution”
You see, I’m entirely sold on the concept that a blog shouldn’t be looked at a one-way information vortex. Instead, it should be more like a hurricane or tornado (or some other turbulent force of nature) that stirs up information and ideas from a group of people. In the same way most people read a recipe and adjust it based on the reviews, I believe most readers find blog comments as rich in information as the blog itself. So, now you’re asking: how do I get more comments on my blog?
I’ll share a few ideas I’ve learned over my blogging experience:
1. Interact with other blogs
Find blogs that are related to yours, and join the discussion on their articles. In addition to learning more about your field of interest, you can share your expertise and get to know like-minded readers. You can often find appropriate places to add a link to an article you have written on your blog, but only do so if it adds to the discussion and benefits the other readers. Keep at it, and over time, thoughtful blog interaction could increase comment-giving traffic to your own blog.
2. Submit guest articles to other industry blogs
Why would you put time into an article that someone else gets to run without paying you? Well, in essence, you are getting paid; provided that the blog provides your author bio at the bottom. In one fell swoop, you’re getting your name out to a wider audience, a link to your page that could help search engine rankings (especially if the blog has a higher page rank), and you’re establishing credibility by positioning yourself as an industry expert. Anyone can create a blog and publish articles on it; however, having a reputable blog publish your articles speaks volumes to readers.
3. Keep it casual
This isn’t English 101 anymore – you can speak in first person, use contractions, and have a sense of humor. If your blog comes off too textbook-y, readers may be uncomfortable commenting for fear of getting slapped by a ruler after neglecting MLA format. That isn’t to say you should neglect spelling and grammar, or be unprofessional. But your goal here is to engage in conversation, and conversations don’t sound like term papers. Think of it like talking to colleagues over coffee. Oh, and in case you didn’t notice back there: I started a sentence with “but.” Yes, I’m a rebel.
4. Keep stirring the pot
The directions mean it when they say “stir constantly over low heat.” If you stick your blog post on the burner and abandon it, you’ll end up getting burned in the end. People who took the time to comment on your blog should be recognized and responded to, especially when they have questions or criticisms. The rest of your audience is watching how you respond to these comments, and the impression you make could be the difference between repeat visitors (and commenters) and a dwindling audience.
5. Be diplomatic in your comment responses
A reality you must accept about blogging is that your ideas are out there, open for praise or attack. If you get a criticizing comment, you should always take the high road in your response: thank them for contributing their thoughts, apologize and clarify if they misunderstood (or misconstrued) something you said, and maybe even ask them how they would do things differently. If the comment is non-constructive, mean spirited, or downright wrong, resist the urge to puff your chest and tell that person off. Respectfully disagree, or politely comment that you would appreciate more constructive feedback. You can’t win a war of opinion against an ill-mannered person, so don’t lose your professional image over a nasty comment.
6. Ask for what you want
Would you like more responses? Ask for them. In the footer of every article, ask the reader if they enjoyed the article, and tell them to add their two cents in the comments section. It sounds unnecessary, but if marketing has taught me anything, it’s that people respond better to calls of action. Many non-bloggers may not realize how much time and resources goes into writing articles, and that comments are what make it worthwhile for many writers. If you’re still not getting responses, consider whether you’re asking the right (or any) questions.
Now it’s your turn:
Remember the equation: Problem > Research > Solution > Blog Post > Feedback > Better Solution? This is part where you help solve a problem many bloggers (including myself) have. What advice would you give to a blogger seeking more comments?
Mandy Barrington is the lead web designer and blog author at RYP Marketing, an online marketing company whose name describes their objective – to “Raise Your Profits.” Take a stroll by the RYP blog to read more of her ramblings. When she isn’t busting out articles or websites, she’s probably cooking sinfully delicious food or planning her next getaway.