Engaging Your Audience

No One Comments On My Posts!

Here’s the scenario: you’ve set up a blog on your business website, you’ve published a few blog posts and…nothing. No one is commenting on your blog posts. Where’s the love? Where’s the adulation? Where are the opportunities to engage with your visitors and turn their visits into leads and sales?

Join the club. Getting comments on your blog is an uphill struggle, especially when you’re just starting out. The good news is that an absence of comments does not mean visitors are not reading your posts, and they could still be engaging with you in other ways. May be they read your post and then went off and bought your product from a local supplier. Or perhaps they’ve bookmarked your page for a future visit when they’re ready to have a conversation with you. This is why analytics are so important: have your visitors clicked on an outbound link, how many pages did they visit, what is your bounce rate like? Don’t use comments alone as a metric for the success of your blog.

Comments Are Not The Be-All And End-All

Ask yourself, “How often do you comment on someone’s blog?”. I read loads of posts everyday, many of them are interesting, engaging, add value; all the things a business blog should be. But I’m sorry to admit that I rarely comment on them. Why? Well often I can’t think of anything profound enough or interesting enough to say! I’m not the kind of person who leaves a “love your blog” type comment, although when I receive them myself I do appreciate it. So unless I have something to add to someone’s post, or a relevant question that I think the author (or community) could answer, generally I don’t leave a comment. But I might share the post with others if I think it’s relevant, or follow the individual / company on Twitter, add their RSS feed to my reader and visit again.

But Comments Can Drive Further Engagement

So although your readers may be happily visiting your blog, reading all your posts and making a mental note to book your services / buy your product, for a business owner a comment on a blog post is a lead that could generate a sale. So why aren’t you getting any?

  • Early days? Blogs take time don’t expect miracles overnight; you need to build your audience, promote your posts and get your SEO right.
  • Are you blogging as yourself or as your business? People don’t want to talk to a business, they want to talk to the people behind your company logo. So if you are blogging as “Business Name”, change it to your own name, complete your author profile so readers can see who has written the post, and write your content in your own voice.
  • Is your content relevant and interesting? If your content is not relevant to your target audience you can’t expect them to comment on it. Equally if your writing style is hard work for the reader, don’t expect them to even reach the comments box on your post. Be dispassionate and assess your blog: would you comment on it?
  • Do you invite comment? If you don’t ask you don’t get. One trick is to include a CTA early on in your post, such as “in this post I explore commenting on blog posts, let me know what you think in”. This gets your readers formulating a response so when they get to the comments box at the bottom, they know what to type in it. Similarly including a CTA action at the end of the post, inviting comments, suggesting your readers share their experience or ask questions, all helps to engage with your audience.
  • Is it easy to comment on your blog? If there are too many barriers preventing your readers from easily leaving  a comment, they will click away. Difficult Captcha codes can be one barrier, as is asking for too much information from your respondents. Perhaps you have to login to a system or create an account just to leave a few lines in a comments box. Keep it basic and make it easy.
  • Do you comment on comments? If someone takes the trouble to leave a comment, it is only polite to acknowledge that comment and respond. After all it’s about engaging with potential customers and clients. No hard sell though! Also if you don’t comment on your comments other visitors will see this and be less likely to comment themselves.

Comments Invite Further Comments

When a visitor sees an active blog with comments from other readers they are encouraged to leave their own. Here’s a nifty way to combine your social media comments on Google + with the comments on your blog. Embed a Google + update about your blog post into the post itself. Visitors to your blog can then comment on your Google + update, and your circles can comment on your update on Google +, this will be seen in the actual post and give you more opportunities for engagement on both channels. Like this:

Do you comment on blog posts? What makes you more likely to leave a comment than not? Please share your thoughts using the comments box above or below!

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