Another successful blogging tip is to engage readers. Interacting with our audience is the best and easiest way to connect with readers and build a following (that is, grow our platform). The best way to engage readers is by encouraging blog comments. Having comments can also increase the visibility of the post—and the blog.
A side benefit of engaging blog readers is quick feedback. When we write books it will be a year or two before anyone outside the publishing process reads it. When we write articles it takes several months before anyone sees our published work. But in both cases, even after waiting, feedback is limited. Did our work connect with our audience? Was our message received and understood? What do readers think? We are largely left wondering.
Not so with blogging. With blogging, feedback is fast—if we engage with our audience. This is easily done through blog comments. All blogs should allow comments and commenting should be easy. Don’t make readers log-in, register, or jump through hoops to leave a comment. Many of them won’t bother. Since only a fraction of blog readers leave comments, make it easy for those that do.
Here are three tips to engage with our blog readers:
- Write a great post: Quality writing encourages readership. Be helpful; provide value. Cause the reader to think about the topic. Stimulate their imagination. Give them a reason to continue the conversation.
- Ask a question or give a prompt: It can be generic, as it “What do you think” or simply “Your turn.” Or be specific, tapping the post’s theme. That’s what I usually do. And I often ask two questions, giving different directions to consider. I also have a generic question and prompt as a heading to the comment section: “What do you think? Please leave a comment!”
- Respond to comments: Though we don’t need to—and shouldn’t—reply to every comment, often this is a great way to extend the topic, interact with commenters, and show appreciation.
Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.