Guest post by Joel Runyon of Blog of Impossible Things
Comments have been a hot topic of late. Some blogs have gotten so big that comments have become more of a burden than a blessing, but the fact is that most blogs could stand to have a few more comments.
If you’re looking for a dead simple way to double your comments, every single blog post, I’ve got a new technique for you…
What it’s not
- It’s not automated.
- It’s not an SEO trick.
- It’s not expensive [in fact, it’s actually free].
All it takes is one simple action from you.
Sounds easy, so what’s the problem?
It’s so easy, most of you won’t do it.
So how do you double the number of comments on every single blog post?
Respond to every single comment.
Here are a few simple reasons why:
1. Your readers deserve it
The fact that anyone cares what you have to say is amazing – Gary Vaynerchuk
Yes, there’s a lot of comment spam. Yes, some people are commenting just so they get back-links and yes, some comments are just straight spam. That’s all true. But it doesn’t matter.
Your readers took time to read AND respond to what you said. The least you can do is acknowledge them and thank them for even thinking you created something they thought was worth their response.
2. It creates a community
Some of my best blogging friends I met in the comments of my blog. By responding to the comments of each of your readers, you set the tone by acknowledging that their voices are also valid. Your response might evoke a response from the original commenter or encourage a lurker to come out and voice their opinion. People start to get to know each other and it creates a community that’s unique to your site.
3. It looks impressive
You wanted to double your comments, right? Comments are like grease for your blog posts. The more comments people see on a post, the less resistance they’ll have towards reading it and the more likely they’ll voice their opinion too.
The more comments on each post, the more likely you readers are going to assume it’s worth reading, after all it’s already been read and prompted a certain number of responses. There’s a huge difference in someone’s snap judgment when they see 10 comments as opposed to 5. 20 instead of 10. And 40 instead of 20. It’s a simple snowball effect. The more comments there are, the more likely others will be to comment on it.
The Thing About The Comments
It’s not about the numbers. As a blogger it’s easy to get caught up in numbers. We like numbers because numbers are tangible. Numbers are measurable. If your numbers get big enough they can turn into money. So we like numbers, we get caught up in them. When we get caught up in the numbers, we forget that those numbers actually represent humans. We forget about human economics.
The strength of relationships and community isn’t nearly as easily measurable as numbers, but it can be a lot more powerful. The number of comments on your site aren’t worth crap if your comments aren’t worth crap…and that’s including your response.
What’s one way you can turn a casual reader into raving fan?
Taking the time to validate a readers’ comment with a well thought-out response or even a thank-you only takes a few seconds and could be the difference between someone who just stumbled on your site, a subscriber and a raving fan. Chapter 9 of Gary Vaynerchuck’s book “Crush It” is one of my favorites. It’s titled “The Best Marketing Strategy Ever.” The chapter has one word in it:
Commenting is a small way to show your community of readers that you care, that they care. In a world where most people operate based on the bottom line, that’s huge. That small action can bring huge returns in terms of reader loyalty.
It’s Actually Possible
The good news is real people actually do this. It is actually possible, believe it or not. Whether it’s an official “strategy” of theirs or not, I don’t know but I do know several bloggers who do this in practice. Karol Gajda does an amazing job of interacting with the readers on his site and cultivating his fan base. Corbett does this regularly both here at Think Traffic and at Free Pursuits. It’s been adopted by other bloggers as well: Colin Wright, David Crandall, Dan Andrews, Mark Lawrence do it. Sean Ogle just recommitted to doing it.
Just because your fan base grows doesn’t mean you have to stop interacting with it. Even with a sizeable audience, you can still do this; you just have to care enough to try.
Double Your Comment Challenge
If you don’t think this will work. Do me a favor before you dismiss it: try it. Give it two weeks. Schedule a time, and respond via comment to anyone who comments on a post and if by the end of the two weeks, your comments on those posts aren’t at least doubled…well, you’re probably counting wrong 😉
What do you think? Is responding to every comment a good use of your time? Is it a good way to build community? Let us know in the comments. Either Corbett or I will respond to every one 😉
photo by wallyg