One of the best reasons to blog is to open up an interaction channel with your customers, prospects and contacts. The fact that your readers can comment and add relevant content to your site via blog comments is a major breakthrough in the communication process. It’s why everyone is talking about social media these days. Blog commenting was one of the first mass one to one conversation starters and made people hungry for even more advanced forms of social interaction.
Active commenting is one of the first signs that a blog has some real life – with it comes more readers, so put in the work it takes to grow this important tool.
Small business owners can easily take advantage of this tool now that so many people know what it is and know how to interact, but . . . you can do a few things to stimulate this interaction and draw more conversation.
1) Ask for comments – Sometimes just creating a post and in inviting your readers to add comments can be just what you need to get them flowing. Commenting is a habit that you need to help build in your readership.
2) Ask questions and seek opinions – From time to time ask your readers what they think of something or what they have done that works or how they have addressed a particularly challenging situation. You don’t need to have all the answers.
3) Comment on comments – When readers comment you can encourage additional conversation by responding and showing that comments are welcome – even if the comment calls something you said into question. I’m guilty of ignoring this far too often – I’ll get better, I swear!
4) Show some humaness – No matter what your blog topic is readers like to know that the author is a human being. It’s okay to let that show and to add personal thoughts. Only you can determine how far to go with this, but I know that your readers will connect the more they know your story
5) Stir the pot from time to time – You don’t have to be a celebrity gossip blogger to stir up a little controversy. Often some of my best interactions come from topics that people are decidedly passionate about.
6) Make comment participation a game – Keep score and reward your most active commentators. I have installed the WP Top Commentators Plug-in that keeps track of how many comments a particular reader makes and rewards them with a link. You can see it in the left sidebar.
7) Make sure commenting is easy – Publish your comment feed and consider adding the Subscribe to Comments plug-in so that people get a notice when someone else comments on a post they are active on.
So, what’s your hottest tip for encouraging blog comments?