3 Massive Comment Generators (& The 1 Secret They Share)

Comments are gold to bloggers, writers and marketers. Why? It’s simple—blog comments provide public evidence of an engaged community.

Even more importantly, in the current social media ecosystem where clicking a social sharing button is easier than taking the time to leave a well thought out comment, it’s difficult to garner more than a few if any comments. This means that blogs that generate lots of interesting comments really stand out.

While comments offer proof that you are connecting to an audience and make you feel like a rock star, understand that comments by themselves don’t necessarily translate into visitors, revenues or other metrics aligned with your most important core business objectives.  (Here are forty blog metrics to help you.)

Since this is the case, why work to increase your blog comments? Because significantly building comments can indirectly help you achieve major business or blogging objectives. The top reasons for making this effort include building an active community and enhancing your social media reputation. (Interestingly John Chow points out how you can use blog comments to build your email list.)

Want to massively increase your blog comments?

To seriously increase the number of comments on your blog or website, here are three proven ways complete with examples. (Of course getting people to leave comments that say more than “Great post!” assumes that you’ve overcome the initial hurdles of creating great content people want to read and attracting people to your blog or website. Further, you should have a set of blog comment guidelines on your site to make clear your policies.)

  1. Build your social media tribe. No doubt about it. One of the best ways to gather comments is to get some love from your friends. In her first post, Lisa Petrilli hit the ball out of the blog comment park. While she back messaged her social media friends for support, she still was there and engaged with her audience. Actionable Blogging Tip: Network with people in your target audience and build relationships with them before you dive into the content pool. Take a cue from Lisa and make sure that your relationships involve real engagement both publically and privately. You want to be able to send private messages to your community to get help without everyone seeing you sweat.
  2. Get a little help from your friends. More than asking your social media buddies to show you some love, this recommendation involves leveraging the work of others, often experts. It can be done in a variety of ways from a round up of input to a best of list. Margie Clayman, who’s got a degree in library science, does an amazing job of curating her Top 100 Favorite Blog Posts of the Year. It’s a lesson in how to create a great list post and engage your community at the same time. Actionable Blogging Tip: Create a list post that involves others active in your category. Link to your colleagues’ blogs to let them know you’ve included them in your post. Even better, drop them a message or mention them on social media to get their attention. Depending on your roundup and your relationship with the bloggers, many will stop back to thank you for including them.
  3. Make them an offer they can’t refuse. Give readers a reason to take the time to engage with you. In this helpful column on how to write a better headline, Tristan Higbee asked readers to give their best titles and allowed them a link. This approach drew readers who may otherwise lurk out since it was an easy way to get an inbound link and enabled Tristan to showcase his headline-writing prowess. Actionable Blogging Tip: Create blog posts and/or promotions around engaging your audience. To work effectively, you must know your audience and give them something that has value to them. In Tristan’s case it was an inbound link. It can be a free ebook or list of useful tips. The level of interest is directly tied to the value to the reader.

The one secret to significantly increase blog comments

What’s the biggest secret to increasing your comments? It’s so easy I’m surprised every blogger doesn’t do it. All you have to do is answer every comment that contains real content. Your response needs to add to and extend the conversation. It’s a time consuming commitment, which is why many bloggers and writers don’t do it. For example 12Most blog requires guest writers to respond to comments.  It’s part of their guidelines. (Maybe it should also be part of yours?)

If you want to massively increase the comments on your blog, you must build the support system, whether it’s people or an incentive, to get readers to engage. Don’t stop there! Once they act, you must respond to keep the conversation going.

Do you have any other secrets to greatly increase the number of comments you get on your blog? If so, what are they?

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen


Here are some related articles of interest.

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pastorbuhro/5614058280/
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  • http://blogs.communitiesrus.in/communityconnect Sanjay Shetty

    Hello Heidi,

    I love your idea “All you have to do is answer every comment that contains real content.”

    However, I’ve noticed in general that blog authors themselves don’t use the power of commenting to reach out to others. Moreover the problem which people face is how on how to comment.

    One often typically comments with “Great Article” or “Nice one” however, one doesn’t express what is great or how it affects us or how it’s worked for us. We’re suprisingly unsocial in the online world, where as in the real world if some one were physically talking about an idea, we’d typically share our insights or question the idea etc. basically have a conversation. Ther are psychological reasons why we don’t, but thats another discussion.

    I recently ran across an interesting article where they author(Tristan) talks about how to get a number of comments on your blog, by giving a great comment on other people’s blogs when one finds something interesting. He’s gone and created a framework for the same, and I created a visual which explains it. Unfortunately can’t post a picture in the comments box so here’s a link to it http://vizcraft.wordpress.com/2012/01/18/a-model-for-providing-meaningful-comments-fast/

    I look forward to hearing from you, via a comment if possible on what you think about it :-)

    Regards,

    Sanjay Shetty
    P.s. I found your site via this list of the Top Social Media blogs, congrats to getting on to that list :-) http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/finalists-top-10-social-media-blogs-2012/

    • http://riversidemarketingstrategies.com/ Heidi Cohen

      Sanjay– While answering comments sounds easy, it requires time to respond with thoughtful input. Further, if you’ve got a top blog in any category, you may already have an active community and may be busy doing other things. In many cases, comments by themselves don’t yield revenues. As for the visual, I found it simplistic. Glad you found this blog and hope you’ll return. Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen

      • http://twitter.com//EleanorPie Eleanor

        I don’t know whether thoughtfully commenting on other blogs is necessarily a good method for getting comments on your own blog, but it’s certainly an effective tactic. I’ve started to see some good results from my commenting campaign for my corporate blog – I recently had a notable blogger pick up content from our blog for the first time. I can’t be sure he read it because he followed my comment back to my blog, but it seems likely.

      • http://riversidemarketingstrategies.com/ Heidi Cohen

        Eleanor–Thank you for noting that commenting on other blogs supports traffic. This tactic requires time and persistance. It requires consistent engagement on specific blogs as well as a broader array of smaller blogs. Top bloggers know what you’re trying to accomplish and engage if they believe you’re ernest and that your blog is worth it. As a result, many bloggers get discouraged by it. Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen

  • http://www.yoursocialmediamogul.com knikkolette

    Heidi, this has been a VERY helpful post. While I have been doing a couple of items, I did learn some new tricks! Thanks so much for your insights! :)

  • http://www.LisaPetrilli.com Lisa Petrilli

    I’m honored to be included and mentioned, Heidi – thank you so much! As you mention in the post, I did let friends know that I launched my blog that day, but I wanted to be clear that I didn’t ask them directly to come visit or to leave a comment. I told them I’d launched and if they had a minute to pop over it would be appreciated, but that was it – and they supported me in a way I’d never anticipated! I absolutely value all my commenters – those on the blog as well as those who email me, and I do my best to respond to each of them and as quickly as possible. Thanks again for including me and for sharing your insights so inspiringly!

    • http://riversidemarketingstrategies.com/ Heidi Cohen

      Lisa–Thank you for clarifying how you launched your blog. In any case, you did a great job. Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen

  • http://marismith.com Mari Smith

    Awesome post, Heidi! I really love your tips and style of writing… I’m sharing this with my peeps now. However, I do have just a wee request/question – I wonder why you don’t use a commenting system like Disqus or Livefyre (or Facebook comments) where users tend to always be logged in. I know for me when I scroll to comments on a blog and I see my own avatar with a blank box sitting there tempting me to pop in a comment, it’s so much easier than having to fill out a form with my name, email and web address every time. ;)

    • http://riversidemarketingstrategies.com/ Heidi Cohen

      Mari–Thank you for stopping by and commenting. You bring up a good point about using a comment system. I had a lot of comment spam and will consider adding one of these systems. Which system do you recommend? Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen

      • http://marismith.com Mari Smith

        I’m a huge fan of Disqus!! :) I’ve had it on my own blog for some time, and my friend Mike Stelzner uses it on SocialMediaExaminer.com with great success. I love the moderation features. ;)

      • http://marismith.com Mari Smith

        Wheeee Heidi – I’m tickled turquoise to see you added Disqus. How exciting!!!! 

  • http://marismith.com Mari Smith

    ….. and a P.S. to the comment I think I just posted… I don’t see it yet as I’m guessing it has to be approved. ;) I know this helps keep spam down. However, with systems that have user logins and terrific spam controls (like Disqus or Livefyre), when commenters see the instant gratification of their comment going live (and have an option of editing), I’m sure this helps to increase comments, too!

  • http://nischalamurthy.wordpress.com/ Nischala

    Heidi – You bring up great points.
    In my personal experience, getting comments on your blog is a function of many things
    1) Quality of Content
    2) Reaching the Right Audience- And this depends on when you post (time /day / date), where you post (your blog / guest post), how well you market your blog – This can many times be the REAL differentiator
    3) The personal characterisics of the reader – Like I know of people who will mail me or call me, but JUST don’t leave a comment.. And I don’t know if it is personality related or cultural or just lack of time or something else, but there’s that unexplainable element of comments which continues to intrigue me…

    And yes, I am a regular contributor for the 12Most.com – So glad you mentioned this in your post :)… I also follow your blog regularly, and wanted to say that I value all that you have shared & always admire the frequeny and quality of content you post…
    I have included it in my Blog Roll

    • http://riversidemarketingstrategies.com/ Heidi Cohen

      Nischala — I couldn’t agree with you more! You always have to start with your target audience and whether people are included to comment. Thank you for reading the blog. Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen

  • http://www.redesign2.com Paul Biedermann

    Thanks so much, Heidi, for including 12 Most as an example of a blog site that does things right.

    As you know, our community is built on support which carries over to sharing posts and commenting. I would say though, that instead of “requiring” writers to do this, we “strongly encourage” it — it is what helps keep posts alive rather than simply sitting there as some sort of broadcasted message.

    It also never ceases to amaze me the quality of good dialog that can spring up in the comments section, sometimes taking on a life all its own. It does take time to respond to comments, but the payback is well worth the effort.

  • http://just-ask-kim.com Kimberly Castleberry

    Great tips on the power of using blog comments as the social leverage they really are. The people that will step out of the shadows and take the action step of commenting are our most important fans (though not necessarily always customers). While comments are not the “end all, be all” they do serve a very important role.
    Kim

  • http://twitter.com/willhaynes4326 William Haynes

    Another great way to spark conversation is to say something that people can disagree with. This doesn’t necessarily mean being controversial just because you can. It’s no different than your Freshman Writing class – say something definitive. This may even draw in more readers. For example, if you’re title is something along the lines of Why John Stewart is funnier than Steven Colbert, you’ll get readers on both side of the argument. The downside is that sensitive issues could cause major arguments in the comment section that can even get out of hand.

  • http://twitter.com/CoSkills CommunicateSkills

    Actually, I tend to comment less on the posts I like the most. When I’m really impressed by the content, I feel there’s nothing more to say than “great post”. And everyone tells you not to write “great post”. :)

    • http://twitter.com/willhaynes4326 William Haynes

      Good point.

      Maybe the goal then should be to write a great post that makes people want to comment. Many blogs end with questions or conversation starters – instead of people just commenting on the post and wasting time with a “great post” remark, they can help continue the conversation.

  • http://gigieatscelebrities.com/ GiGi Eats Celebrities

    I always respond to comments on my blog – it makes them come back for more, that’s for sure, because they realize that I am a human being! I also ask a lot of questions at the end of my blog because at the end of the day, lets be honest, people want to talk about themselves ;) I also create such weird/quirky content that people HAVE TO comment, lol.