Just writing blog posts and having little or no comments or social sharing makes one feel very lonely. I don’t want my friends to feel like they are walking across the desert all alone so earlier this month I challenged myself to comment more on their posts.
Besides commenting, I also wanted to help promote their posts in my sphere on social networks – mainly Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus.
It’s not going so well and not for my lack of trying. As Ken Montville so smartly pointed out in a comment…
Then there’s always the challenge of commenting on a blog post that really doesn’t encourage a comment. What can you say about a post that shows a housing shortage in College Park, MD (shameless self promotion) or a chart that looks like a mountain range or a description of a really cool farmer’s market.
It’s true. More and more posts are being written without an opinion, without a question, without leaving an opening for the readers views. I may be as guilty as the rest.
WANT MORE COMMENTS?
1. Have an opinion. Make a stand. State your case. Choose a side. It’s as simple as that.
2. Ask Questions. That seems simple enough, right? Combine that with option #1 above and your last line might look like, “That’s how I feel. Did I miss anything?” One of my favorite daily reads, Scott Ginsberg does exactly that at the end of most all his posts.
3. Leave an opening. What I mean by that is that I’ll often read something where the writer has taken a strong position yet made it clear that they are absolutely right and anything else is wrong. Active discussions are great. If you come on too strong I’ll skip the comment. I’m not looking to get into an argument or heated debate.
WANT MORE SOCIAL SHARES?
Your site has 3 audiences: the internet (people who arrive via a Google Search), people who have ‘subscribed’ (be that via a newsletter or RSS) and those that get a warm introduction from their friends via a social media network.
Writing proper SEO quality content is easy if you have the right instruction and tools.
The same goes for running a mail based newsletter. Given the right tools (and instruction) anyone can build a robust newsletter list.
That leaves us with Social Shares. “Mike, does that audience really matter?” Guess who has 135 friends you don’t know? Chances are, it’s your next site visitor. According to Facebook, the average person there has 135 friends. You would love for your past clients to introduce you to a friend – right? How about 135 of them? Looking at my last post about Google’s Feed Reader currently 26 people did just that. Simple math would dictate 26 x 135 = 3,510 people were exposed to that post.
Think about that for a second. When it comes to a having a new visitor hit my site, there’s not much better than a friend of theirs saying, “Hey check out what Mike said over here on AreWeConnected about getting more comments to your blog“. Warm Introductions ROCK! That’s Social Sharing. Go ahead and share this post right now. See what I did? I can dictate the message that goes out to your friends. Once again, tools and instruction can get that done for you.
Social Sharing was the other half of my challenge. So far it’s failing too. Why? Because time and time again when I got to the post there was no way for me to easily share it. Really? Yeah, Really! Heck, half the time I could easily find a phone number or email to contact them. If you don’t want people to share your posts, email you or call you – why write them?
Take a moment and look at your last post. Are you leading people to a dead end?
STEP 1: Without a click, when you are reading that post, can you find your email link? How about a phone number? Does it take a click? Does it take two? More? Do you only have a ‘contact me’ form? Your chances of the reader doing anything diminish drastically with each click.
STEP 2: Same scenario but let’s assume you want to share it with your friends on Facebook (the Like, Share or Recommend are all valid actions). Can you do it without having to copy the url, open up Facebook and posting on your profile? What about Twitter? Google Plus? Linkedin? Remember – even though you ‘don’t get Twitter‘ that doesn’t mean your next client feels the same. Have the proper plugins, set them up properly, and let people share to their spheres. It’s not about you, it’s about them.
STEP 3: Subscribe to Comments. IF (and that’s a big if) I leave a comment is there a subscribe to comment function? Do you expect people to check back to see if there’s a reply? Wordpress doesn’t do it automatically. My blog uses a comment management system called Disqus which notifies you of additional comments or replies. It notifies me too. That’s important for #4…
STEP 4: Moderate and Reply to Comments. And do so in a timely manner. Nothing is worse than leaving a a comment that vanishes into the ether. What just happened? I spent 5 minutes crafting the best comment ever, clicked the submit button and then… Your comment is awaiting moderation. Every nano second that comment sits in moderation you lose more and more of any value you had built in your blog post. Don’t get me wrong, moderation is something every site needs. You can handle most via Akismet and in the case of my site, Discus allows a level of self moderation. If you must moderate – make sure you do so quickly and then please, please reply to all comments. Don’t let the comment die on the vine. It’s the start of a conversation! At the very least, a simple acknowledgment is better than nothing at all.
So that’s it! There’s three ways to encourage more comments on your posts and 4 critical things to check before writing your next article. That is… unless you have anything to add? (was it that obvious?)
* I mentioned Tools and Instruction a few times in this post. They are linked. A tool is useless if you don’t know how to use it. Likewise, instruction is useless if you don’t have a tool to use it with. When I build a website I also spend the time to show you how to properly use that tool. Want one?