Friday Fun is a group post from the writers of the NHWN blog. Each week, we’ll pose and answer a different, get-to-know-us question. We hope you’ll join in by providing your answer in the comments.
QUESTION: How do you encourage comments on your blog posts?
Lisa J. Jackson: I take the direct route: I ask questions (and bold them) to open a dialogue that encourages readers to reply.
Wendy Thomas: Ah, and I tend to take the indirect route. I try to create content that is thought provoking and that raises questions within context. I know that reader’s comments are the Holy Grail of blog posts, but it seems like such an artificial measurement of the post’s worth. People comment if they want to, I don’t get bent out of shape if they don’t.
Jamie Wallace: I love to receive and respond to comments. It’s nice to feel like people have been inspired enough by what they’ve read to add their own two cents. That said, I can also see Wendy’s point about comments being an artificial measurement of a posts worth. In fact, many prominent blogs have turned comments off entirely.
Before you can figure out how to get people commenting, you need to ask yourself a few questions:
- Why you want comments in the first place? How do comments support your writing/blogging goals?
- What kinds of comments are you hoping for specifically? Do you want people to praise your work, add their personal experience to the conversation, debate your ideas, share related resources …?
- Who would you like comments from – peers, fans, potential customers, potential readers …?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you should start to get a sense of what kinds of content and post structures will encourage the kinds of engagement you’d like with the audience you’re hoping to attract. You will also have some good information to help you determine how you can use social media to drive/invite people to your blog posts. For instance, if you are hoping to have your blog readers comment with their own resources on a particular topic, you might share your post in a social media group of peers and experts. Or, maybe you’re hoping to get potential readers to share their personal experiences, in which case you might try something like posting your question (and a link to your blog) in a Goodreads group.
Deborah Lee Luskin: I have occasionally asked direct questions, as Lisa suggests, though mostly I go Wendy’s route, of writing with passion about what interests me. I’ve started sending out links to my posts on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, but I have limited patience for social media (unlike Jamie!). As a result, I don’t get many comments on my posts (nor did I know that number of comments was a scoring system of success). All that said, I’m thrilled when a reader does comment – whether to add information, tell their own story, or simply express appreciation. It’s all good!