You created a blog just like they told you to. You blog consistently. You have quality content that’s relevant and helpful for your audience, so why does your blog’s comments area look like a party of one?
Reading ≠ Writing
While these activities sound like they go together, shifting from reading, a passive activity, to writing, an active one, requires inspiration. Few people, unless they are related to you, will leave a comment just to say it’s a great article.
You have to move them to action. Moving people from a passive place to an active one requires they have:
- An emotional stake in it. This means your article moved them to see/recollect something in their lives that is applicable to your experience. They feel motivated to share as a way of connecting.
- An intellectual interest. Your article (or blog) gives them a stage from which to showcase their knowledge. This calling becomes exponentially greater, the more popular your blog is.
- A violent opposition to it. While your association blog can’t consistently challenge the expectations of everyone, the occasional contrary post does receive more shares and engagement than those posts that state the obvious and take the line everyone else supports.
Increasing Blog Comments
Here are a few suggestions on how you can increase the number of comments you receive:
Ask for comments in ways that inspire them.
“What do you think?” elicits a shrug of the shoulders in most readers. Instead, ask for examples from your reader’s life that tie in with the post such as, “What’s the best advice you ever received from a boss or mentor?”
Challenge them intellectually or invite them to brag.
End your post with a question that entices them to give their professional opinion or showcase their skills. A question such as “Curious to know if you’ve found X to be true,” will begin the dialogue.
Take an unpopular stand on something. If you don’t feel comfortable taking the stand, invite a guest blogger to do it for you. Passionate disagreement fires an audience up, and an excited audience means more shares.
If you choose to do this, make sure you’re ready for debate. People who disagree with you will want to engage you in conversation and that means multiple replies. Circulating a highly debatable post right before your conference is probably not the best time to do it.
Write content that will inspire exchange but stay away from defamatory topics like religion or ethnic arguments (unless it somehow fits within your association’s mission). A good example of content controversy is NextGen Journal’s article by a “college student” who insisted all social media managers should be under 25. Take a look at the number of comments and shares.
Enticing your readership to become more active on your blog takes selecting the right content and adding moving calls-to-action, but it also takes follow-up. If you ask for the comments, make sure you are ready to respond to them. If your audience takes the time to share with you, you must return it by commenting. Otherwise, they’ll assume you prefer your voice as the only one you hear.
What has been your most successful content to date?