If you’ve been implementing a content marketing strategy for your business, you know one of the most important aspects of this online communication is the conversation it sparks between you and your followers. This relationship is the reason we do marketing at all. While it feels natural for this dialogue to happen on social media sites, it’s equally important to see happen on your blog, as well.
Developing a blogging community keen on interacting with you through comments is a challenge, but is still a goal worth striving for. Among other reasons we could mention, here are three of our top motivations for continuing to cultivate blog dialogue:
- Engaged community. Taking the time to write a response, question, critique, or feedback of any kind means you’ve got an engaged audience – which is huge! Comments also give you the opportunity to develop relationships. Sometimes it’ll be with potential clients/customers, sometimes it’ll be with other online influencers in your field. Either way, this is a great way to reach and meet people.
- Built-in focus group. By staying connected with your blogging community through comments, you’ll constantly have a read on what matters to them. It gives you immediate insight into the most popular topics so you know what to write about next.
- SEO. Let’s not forget the good ol’ SEO benefits of comments. You get the reward of backlinks, traffic, and additional keyword density in your comments.
No matter what reasons motivate you to desire a readership that comments on your blogs, actually getting comments is another matter entirely. Many bloggers – even popular bloggers – struggle to get interaction in this way. For many people, social media has replaced the need to comment on a blog; they post their remark to Facebook or Twitter instead. Despite the challenges, there are a few tricks you can use to encourage more blog comments:
- Enable comments. It’s a simple place to start, but make sure commenting is enabled on your blog! To make things painless, make sure you have an anti-spam widget also installed. Test the commenting function to make sure it works smoothly and requires as little work as possible for the reader.
- Ask for it. There’s nothing wrong with clearly asking your readers to interact. End your blog with a, “What do you think?” You can also make the ask by writing about two sides of an issue, and asking your readers to weigh in and give you advice. Another way to “ask for it” is by choosing to write about controversial topics that are sure to get people riled.
- Give comments. Be generous with your responses, too. Read other blogs and leave comments on them. Consistently do this on several blogs, and you’re bound to get noticed and read!
- Design your posts for interaction. This includes creating thoughtful, quality content that isn’t too long. You’re lucky if someone spends a full five minutes on your blog, which is about the time it would take for them to read 300 words and leave a comment. Keep things short and sweet.
- Reply to comments quickly and in a timely manner. Don’t let comments sit unaddressed for more than a day!
- Give thoughtful responses. Give people more than just a “Thanks!” as a response. While that’s better than nothing, you’ll make a much bigger impression by giving the comment a thoughtful interaction. A great way to end a response is with another follow-up question!
Building a loyal blogging community takes time. You might not get hundreds of comments a month (or even a year!) but you can start following these best practices to boost reader engagement.
What are some of your favorite tactics for getting reader interaction?
– Sarah Gill