What Desperate Housewives Can Teach You About Blog Comments

7 Ways to Nurture Your Comment Garden

Every blogger wants their comment garden to grow and attract new visitors to their blog. “How do I get people to comment on my blog posts?” is often a burning question new bloggers have. It was a hot topic on last Sunday’s open mike session on #BlogChat. The housewives of television’s Wisteria Lane can give you some pointers on regarding how to nurture more blog comments.

Just as it takes time to meet your neighbors and understand their foibles, you have to be part of the social media conversation to get blog readers. People weren’t waiting for your blog to start the discussion. Rather, you need to interact and participate in the social media neighborhood before people will just drop by your blog.

Bloggers like Lisa Petrilli, whose first two blog posts garnered over 160 comments, make it look easy. Look deeper and you’ll see that these comments are meaty, about half of them are Lisa’s responses, and include a lot of her online friends, like Mack Collier with followers of their own.  (For more information, here’s Lisa’s analysis of her blog launch.) Realize that Lisa’s results are exceptional especially since there’s a trend towards social sharing in lieu of commenting.

To help get comments on your blog, take a few lessons from the desperate housewives of Wisteria Lane. Understand that building a following of readers willing to participate in the conversation takes time.

  1. Bake cookies to draw neighbors in. Take your cue from Bree who always has something in the oven. The aroma is so enticing that neighbors always want a taste. Do the same for your blog. Write interesting, useful content that people in your niche want. If you’re at a loss for words, here are some tips to overcome “Blank-Blog-Post-Syndrome”.
  2. Drop in on your neighbors. Bree, Lynnette, Susan and Gaby always check in on each other.  In the blogosphere, this translates to reading the hot blogs in your subject area. Like Bree’s baked goods, leave something special in the form of meaty comments that make the blogger want to find out more about you. (Remember the housewives of Wisteria Lane always want to know what’s happening at their friends’ homes.)
  3. Make your comments worth listening to. Just as the housewives craft their gossip to have the biggest impact, leave enticing hooks in your responses to other bloggers’ posts in their comment section. “Great post” doesn’t cut it. Think about what you’re saying and putting some effort into it. Remember you want bloggers and readers to check you out back at your blog. Give them a reason to stop by your blog!
  4. Beware of TIM. While it’s great to visit and chat with your friends, don’t over share. In blogging terms, this translates to not just talking about yourself. No one wants to be friends with someone who only says “ME, ME, ME.” When commenting on other blogs, don’t fill your comments with links to your blog. In many cases, this won’t help since major bloggers and media sites use metatags that prevent these links from affecting search results. Your content should be alluring by itself.
  5. Drop hints. Instead of asking directly, the housewives will make suggestions that peaks their friends’ interest and get them to act. You can do this on your blog by including a question at the end that kicks off a discussion in the comment section.
  6. Spread gossip. Just like the women of Wisteria Lane can’t wait to dish on their neighbors, help your readers to tell their colleagues and followers about what’s worth viewing by adding social sharing tools. Make it easy for them to look good.
  7. Follow the leader. Just as the women of Wisteria Lane are always trying to make their version of a special dish, state your perspective in your blog post. When you do, mind your manners. Reference the blog post that inspired you and don’t rehash the same ideas. Rather, spice your post with your special insights and add to the conversation.

Just as the Desperate Housewives have taken time to get to know each other and build their relationships, it takes time and hard work to grow the comment section on your blog. It’s important to recognize that, with social sharing on platforms like Twitter and Facebook, many readers may prefer to highlight your content for their followers rather than to comment on your blog since it gives them social currency.

If you have any other suggestions, please add them in the comment section below.

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Tip of my hat to Chris Brogan for his insights on this subject, to Mack Collier for hosting #BlogChat as a forum to help bloggers, and to Marjorie Clayman for her recent blog post that inspired me to help newer bloggers. Thank you all.

Here are some other posts on the topic of building your blog:

Photo credit: Lauren Keith via Flickr

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