Have you ever wondered how some bloggers manage to inspire their readers to comment on posts? They have the engagement you seek, but how do they inspire it?
I asked four successful bloggers to reveal the needle-moving strategies they use to encourage reader comments. Their answers provide a wealth of information you can put to use immediately to help increase the amount of reader engagement on your site.
Yaro Starak, Entrepreneurs-Journey.com
- Make sure you ask your readers a specific question, ideally just one question, in your blog post, and tell them to reply via a comment. You have to make this very clear and simple for them.
- Share the blog post with in your email newsletter and also ask subscribers to answer the question by leaving a comment on your blog.
- If you want to take things to the next level, offer a prize that they can win by leaving a comment.
The one thing to be aware of though is if you have no traffic then no amount of asking people to leave a comment will work. For most people the key to getting comments is one simple technique – get more traffic! Focus on traffic and marketing and comments are a natural by-product.
Yaro Starak is the author of the Blog Profits Blueprint and founder of the Entrepreneurs-Journey.com blog. He began blogging over ten years ago initially as a hobby, however as his income from blogging surpassed $10,000 a month, he decided his future lay in this new publishing medium.
Since then Yaro has mentored thousands of other experts, authors, coaches, consultants, speakers and trainers how to turn their expertise into a profitable online business. Today Yaro helps people set up their own “Blog Sales Funnel”, a system that combines blogging with email marketing to build a platform to sell your own digital training products.
Joel Friedlander, TheBookDesigner.com
- Ask people to respond; many will. Example: “What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments.”
- Pose a question that has to be answered in the comments. Example: “Have you run into this problem yourself? Share with us how you solved it in the comments.”
- Write controversial or emotional articles. They always get the most comments.
I would avoid “tricks” or “strategies” such as running a contest in which you have to comment to enter. They only work for that post, which doesn’t do you any good, long term. What you’re looking for is engagement with your ideas, that’s what makes committed readers.
Joel Friedlander (@JFBookman) is an award-winning book designer and blogger. He’s been launching the careers of self-publishers since 1994 from his book design and consulting practice at Marin Bookworks in San Rafael, California. Joel also writes TheBookDesigner.com, a popular blog on book design, book marketing and the future of the book, and he is the founder of BookDesignTemplates.com, where he provides pre-designed book templates for Word and InDesign; AuthorToolkits.com, for marketing and publicity tools (including the How to Blog a Book Template Kit); and BookPlanner.com, a project management tool for authors who publish their own books.
Darren Rowse, Problogger.com and DigitalPhotographySchool.com
Getting comments on your blog posts can be tricky with less than 1% of blog readers leaving them but a few ways to increase the chances of getting a comment include:
- Ask questions.Including specific questions in posts definitely helps get higher numbers of comments. I find that when I include questions in my headings that it is a particularly effective way of getting a response from readers as you set a question in their mind from the first moments of your post.
- Engage with commenters. Many times comments on blogs go unacknowledged by the blogger. This has an impact both on those who leave comments who feel like their comment has gone unseen but also others reading the comments section. Leaving responses to those who have commented (even with just a simple thanks for commenting) shows you care and are willing to engage which encourages more comments.
- Email commenters. One of the things I did in the early days of my blogs was to send a personal email to anyone who commented on my blog to thank them for the comment, to let them know that I responded to the comment (with a link back to the post so they could see) and to invite a conversation. This didn’t always result in more comments but it did lead to me getting to know my readers more and showed them that I valued them and was interested in conversation. Some of the people I emailed still read my blogs today 13 years later!
Peg Fitzpatrick, PegFitzpatrick.com
- One way to build comments is to use your email list and send a teaser of your article.
- And ask a question related to the article followed by a “I’d love to know what you think about this here” or “join the conversation on my blog here” that includes a link to the article.
- Personally inviting people to join your community’s discussion can be a powerful thing! Marie Forleo does a fantastic job with this on her weekly email and video. The key is to make it a more personal email, not an overly formatted email.
Peg Fitzpatrick is co-author of The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users and a social media strategist. Peg has spearheaded successful social-media campaigns for Motorola, Audi, Google, and Virgin as well as having been a brand ambassador for Kimpton Hotels, McDonald’s, and Adobe.
Mary Jaksch, WriteToDone.com and GoodLifeZen.com
- Start a movement, a challenge or a revolution. Get your readers to follow you along a new path. Here are two examples. On WritetoDone.com we started the year with the Great Writing Challenge. This post got over 680 comments. In a similar way, we started the Mindful Fitness Revolution on Goodlifezen.com with great results.
- Ask the readers a direct question. Many bloggers forget to ask for comments. There are a few different ways to do this. Before you craft your question, take a moment to think about the likely gender of your readers. For example, women are more likely to answer a question that starts like this: “How to you feel about …?” In contrast, men are more likely to respond to this kind of question, “What do you think about….? A gender neutral question could start like this: “What are your thoughts about …?” Asking a question works best if you write about two different options or opinions.
- Use emotion to elicit comments. If you feel strongly for or against something, write a rip-roaring post about it. Here is a great example by Gary Korisko on his blog, Rebootauthentic.com. He wrote a piece, called, Is Disqus Killing Your Blog? Why (and how) I Pulled the Plug. This post got 445 comments before Gary closed the comments.
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