Blog Comments: How To Get Them!

7 Blog Comment Generating Tips

Blog comments are nirvana for bloggers. They’re a form of validation and praise. Blog comments show that readers care enough about your writing and thoughts to take the extra step and share their perspective with both you and the public. More importantly it takes a blog from being a one sided monologue to being a forum for social interaction.

As a blogger, bear in mind that most readers will just read your content or share it with colleagues. Don’t underestimate the value of these lurkers because they make up the bulk of your visitors and they do spend the time to read your posts.

So how do you get more blog comments?

Here are seven tips to follow:

  1. Include a call to action at the end of your post. Ask readers to comment where it makes sense. If it’s relevant, create a controversial hook that begs them to respond.
  2. Leave comments open. While many bloggers may be reticent to do this, a good percentage of bloggers, including many participants on Sunday night’s BlogChat, feel strongly that an open approach encourages comments. The rationale is that commenters get more satisfaction when their response appears immediately on the post.  (Of course, you can delete negative and other inappropriate comments later. If you do so, you should have a set of Blog Comment Policies. Please see below.)
  3. Respond to comments in a timely fashion. Just as you want to be acknowledged, so do your readers. Don’t just say thank you, use the comment as an opportunity to broaden the conversation.
  4. Take advantage of involved readers. Use the commenting process as a way to encourage readers to dig deeper into your blog or sign up for related information. Here’s a useful example of post-commenting upsell by Joanna Paterson of Confident Writing.
  5. Ask friends to contribute their perspective. Although this approach can take time and may not yield the results you desire, especially if your friends aren’t consistent with your core audience, it’s still a good idea because it gets you more comments.
  6. Form a blog support group. Join with a group of like-minded bloggers to support each other’s activities, to give them suggestions, cross comment and tweet each other’s material. This is your social media tribe.
  7. Give readers a way to contact you outside of commenting. This can be important if the comments won’t post. It allows you to find out about site issues and opens up further conversation.

Provide blog comment guidelines for interaction along the lines of the playground rules you had as a child. As a starting point, head over to Becky McCray’s Small Business Survival site to see how to craft a set of blog comment policies. Like the playground, the main point is to keep the bullies away. Here are a few starters:

  • No use of foul language. There’s no reason to throw four letter words into the mix.
  • No discrimination of any sort.
  • No outright promotion of your blog, services, etc. (In other words, no “me, me, me”)
  • No comment spam.

Before you post your blog comment policy, get a colleague to review it to ensure that it makes sense and has the right tone because you don’t want to sound like a truant officer.

That said, most posts on most blogs get a limited amount of comments. It takes strong content and large, loyal following to keep the conversation going. One inspiring exception is Lisa Petrilli’s early post entitled, What I Learned About Networking When I Asked a Stranger for a Kidney that generated over 50 comments including well known bloggers like Chris Brogan. Examine the comments and you’ll see that about half of the comments are Lisa’s. What this means is that you can easily double the number of comments on your site by responding to others.

Use these suggestions to encourage comments on your blog posts. But don’t get discouraged if your efforts don’t show significant results. Remember that it takes strong content and a large following to consistently get lots of comments.  Also, your readers may be satisfied just reading your content.

How do you encourage your readers to leave comments? What works for your blog? Would you please share your suggestions in the comment section below?

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Tip of my hat to Mack Collier for curating Sunday’s blog chat, Becky McCray for her great policies, Joanna Paterson for her post comment landing page, and Lisa Petrilli for showing how to respond to comments with grace!

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Photo credit: alwitt via Flickr

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