By Amanda MacArthur • 06/19/2012
According to Jakob Nielson, 90% of online community users are lurkers who read without contributing.
So you want more comments? Join the club. With hundreds of posts under my belt, I still get excited about comments.
Last month I started guest blogging for BuzzFeed and got 150,000 page views in my first two days along with thousands of “likes”, tweets, and many hundreds of comments. The site is mostly meme-mocking and fart jokes, but talk about a blog that offers instant gratification!
People like to claim that social media is the reason why users take their comments elsewhere, but it also has to do with the sterilization of blogs cloaked by black suits and ties. The reality is that when you take the collar off your blog and send it to Burning Man for the weekend, it suddenly gets a bit more relatable.
Being relatable is what sells. Every blogger—big or small—writes blog posts hoping that their readers will chime in to leave comments and validate their words. Validation is the ego speaking, but it may also indicate how connected your readers feel to your editors.
And that connection is what sells products.
If you want your blog to sell more products, you can start by humanizing your editors, and these are some steps for getting there. If you have any ideas or constructive arguments, let me know.
- Remove the “team” byline: Nobody believes that ten of you got together in a room to brainstorm each sentence one by one. Since you’re not fooling anyone, stop using this as a crutch.
- Use a real name: Assign your articles to their real editors so that when someone wants to comment, they can address the author by name. Internally, this can also make for better blog posts now that your editors are publicly accountable.
- Respond to comments: Just like your bloggers want to hear from their readers, so do your readers want the same from you. Responding to comments not only validates the reader, but it tells everyone else that you’re listening and are ready to answer questions.
- Open with a story: Storytelling is the best way to personalize your articles, even if it’s only the first paragraph of your article. In the moment that you become relatable to your reader, they often want to talk back to you.
- Ask questions in the beginning: Don’t always wait until the end to ask for comments, throw out a question in the beginning too that will get people to read until the end and try to answer it themselves.
- Ask for comments: Still, always leave the topic up for discussion at the end of every article. Ask a specific related question, especially if it’s controversial—everyone has an opinion.
- Be controversial: Speaking of getting under people’s skin, there’s no better way to strike up a blog conversation than by getting people riled up. Keep your brand image in mind, but don’t be afraid to bring up touchy topics, (in Mequoda’s case… Print is Dead!)
- Ask your team to comment: Readers often need a push because nobody likes to be the first person to the party. That’s why some publications ask their editors to comment on each other’s posts. They might add more to the story or ask a question.
- Make it easy: Don’t put a barrier up between the reader and their comment. If you ask someone to register before they leave a comment, then you’re pushing most people out the door. Use Disqus or Facebook Connect to make it even easier for people to leave comments.
- Steal social media traffic: If a good discussion has started in the comments of your article, direct your fans and followers to chime in.
Beyond selling more products, you can also give your SEO a boost with an active blog. More comments indicates to Google that the post is popular and this is usually reflected in how high that post gets ranked.
As a daily blogger who spends most of her time writing, it’s only natural for me (and you) to want feedback, even when they’re disagreeing with me, or correcting something that I said.
If you hated this article, let me know in the comments. If you loved it or think it was just OK and want to correct my grammar, let me know in the comments. More importantly, if you have a great idea for getting more blog comments that I failed to mention, you should definitely be jotting that down in the comments below.
We’re on the same team, right?
Posted in Content Marketing Strategy