Without knowing it, many of you have taken part in an experiment over the past couple of weeks. What? An experiment? How sneaky of me, I know! The experiment was a test to see just how many comments could be collected on one post, if I asked the right questions. And let me tell you, your responses did not disappoint!
One of the most common things I see asked with respect to blogging is how do you get more people to comment on your blog. People ask here on WordPress, they ask on Twitter, my former bosses used to ask me all the time. How do you get more people to comment on your blog, your content and your message? It’s actually a question asked in the corporate world quite a lot. Even companies like Nike and Starbucks can struggle with getting people to provide feedback.
So how do you encourage engagement? How do you get more comments? How do you cause people to stop by your blog and think ‘I need to comment on this post!’
Suggestion 1: Ask them!
It seems simple, right? But many corporations and individual bloggers forget. We get so wrapped up in sending the message that we want to send that we forget to quite simply ask people what they think, how they feel, what their opinions are.
The two posts on my blog that garnered the most comments over the past few weeks were posts in which I purposefully went out of my way to ask you for your opinions.
And your perspectives, I got! If you read the comments section of these two posts: Absolutely (un)important questions and I would like to hear your opinion you will see oodles of different opinions. Each post has more than 100 comments on it. People went out of their way to not just share line or two, but to send me meaningful, thoughtful opinions of their perspectives.
If you want people to leave comments on your blog, ASK THEM QUESTIONS. Talk with them… instead of at them. Let them know that you want to hear their opinions. Let them know that their opinions, no matter if they align or disagree with your own, are welcome on your blog and then encourage them to share. People like to share their own opinions and will feel a lot safer to do so if you let them know their opinions are welcome on your blog.
Suggestion 2: Thank people who do share.
All too often I stop by someone’s blog to leave a comment and they don’t bother to respond to my comment.
This is totally fine. You don’t have to respond to your comments. But I truly believe that if you don’t respond to the comments people leave on your blog, they aren’t likely to leave another. It’s true for me, and as you’re reading this, it’s probably true for you. If you take the time to leave someone a heartfelt comment and they don’t bother to write back, why would you do that ever again?
This is why it’s really important that, if you do get comments on your blog, you respond. Responding to your comments lets people know that, whether they agree with your not, their thoughts are welcome on your blog. Responding to your comments encourages people to come back to your blog. Responding to your comments shows the people reading your blog that you’re thankful for their reading your blog. When your readers find you, let them know you’re thankful for every comment they leave.
Also – please remember, not everyone communicates in the same way. Some people have a way with words where they can leave you a really eloquent comment whereas others might just say ‘Thank you for writing this’. Please don’t devalue ‘thank you for writing this’. A reader is still valuable to your blog, no matter how long of a comment they leave.
Suggestion 3: Encourage feedback.
While not every post on your blog is going to be you specifically going out of your way to ask people for their answers to important questions, you can ask for feedback on your own content.
When you make a blog post, encourage people to respond. If you’re sharing your opinion, ask people for theirs. If you’re sharing a short story, ask people what they think of your short story. If you’re sharing your art, ask people to rate it on a scale from 1-10. However you see fit, whatever you see most aligning with your post, encourage readers to give you feedback.
Please note – When you’re encouraging feedback, don’t end your posts with a question that can be answered with a single word. End your post with a question that asks people for their opinions.
Example: You write a post about a truly orgasmic pizza eating experience. On the end of the post you leave a question.
Bad Questions: Do you like pizza? Do you like cheese? Do you like pineapple on pizza?
Good Questions: Can you tell me about a time in your life when you just couldn’t believe the pizza you were eating? What made that pizza so incredible? What about that memory sticks out so well in your mind?
The reason why the bad questions are bad questions is because someone can say “Yes. No. Yes”. It’s so simple that it doesn’t really encourage any informative feedback, it only asks yes or no questions. Yes or no questions that can be answered so quickly people might just skip over answering them at all. On the other hand, with the good questions listed, if people read that, they’re going to want to share their stories with you. They’re going to take the time to think about the best pizza they’ve ever had and they’re going to type up the whole story in your comments button.
Suggestion 4: Leave a comment on another blog.
Simply put, people are more likely to view and leave comments on the blogs of people who’ve left comments on their blog.
Now it’s important to note that with this suggestion, I DO NOT mean to spam people. Don’t just go to someone’s blog and write “Hey Check out my blog!” in their comments. I mean that you should go to someone’s blog, leave them a thoughtful comment and then mention “Hey, I also just recently touched on this subject on my blog. Would you consider reading it?”
It’s worth noting that this happens ALL THE TIME in the corporate world. The Oreo brand is notorious for leaving comments on other brands from KitKat to Boeing to American Eagle. They do this because they know that in doing so, they’re supporting other companies, but also supporting themselves. When people see a comment from Oreo on an American Eagle release, Oreo knows that’s going to put their brand at top of mind for a lot of American Eagle customers. It’s a small piece to marketing, but if you do it properly, an effective one.
Encouraging engagement can be difficult when you’re just starting out. But, it’s worth noting that things are always difficult when you’re just starting out. The important thing is that you try. That you put your efforts towards not just building a blog but building a community. Because people want to know they’re a part of a community and they’re being talked with, not at.
Take it slow and steady, one step at a time. Even Everest is conquerable so long as you go at your own pace.