How Can I Get Comments on My Blog? by @nblackburn01

By Naomi Blackburn | Author Marketing

Oct 19

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In my continuing series where I answer questions asked by YOU (in this case, this question comes from writer MJ Kelley), staff writer Naomi Blackburn takes on ‘How can blog posts incite reader comments?’ Thanks MJ for a fab question! Here you go….

When I first started writing guest posts, I was often disappointed if I didn’t get any comments on what I wrote. Though I was told by my hosts that they were, in fact, being read, I considered giving up altogether because no one seemed to be involved enough to comment—but I’m so glad I didn’t.

Instead, I reached out to other writers to get their opinions about why readers weren’t commenting on my posts. I learned that quality, interaction, and networking are tools that, when used effectively, can lead to inciting comments.

Quality

Quality is key! In order to be taken seriously by readers, ask yourself:

  • Is my blog both professional and inviting to readers?
  • Are my posts clear, concise, and error-free? (Not only do my blog posts go to my editor before I publish them, I also send them to beta readers to ensure I have included all relevant information.)
  • Is my blog interesting, or am I only screaming “BUY MY BOOK!”?
  • Is my blog unique? Do I contribute something new to the topic I’m writing about, or am I just repeating what others are writing about?

By ensuring your blog is high quality, you encourage readers to visit, read, comment, and return. If they trust and like your material, they’ll be inspired to interact.

Interaction

What do you do when you do get comments? In order to get comments, you have to give them as well.

  • Develop a relationship with your readers.
  • Respond when someone leaves a comment and create two-way dialog. Publishing a blog doesn’t mean you’re done. This is where the fun begins! If a reader takes the time to comment or ask a question, respond and engage!
  • Be helpful to others. Visit and comment on other people’s blogs. Bloggers and readers are likely to reciprocate and visit yours, too.
  • Use social media effectively. Retweet other people’s tweets about their blogs. Interact with bloggers on social media and show your support. They are likely to do the same. (If you’re not already, use the hashtag #MondayBlogs to gain—and give—exposure. This hashtag promotes bloggers and is a very supportive community. Plus #MondayBlogs has a giveaway to help increase your blog’s reach.)
  • Ask questions. Doing so opens up the floor for comments, rather than just leaving the door open but not inviting people to walk in.

By actively engaging and interacting with both other readers and bloggers, you show that you’re willing to be a part of networks.

Networking

Is networking different from interacting? Well, it is and it isn’t. It is often helpful to use those folks you already know to gain comments and support from those you don’t. By this I mean:

  • Reach out and let your circle of supporters know when you’ve posted a new blog. The people in your inner circle are likely to promote you using their networks as well. Don’t always ask for help and promotion, but just letting your group know that you have new content is sometimes helpful. (But see below.)
  • Play nice in the sandbox! Occasionally, I pointedly ask author and colleague friends of mine to tweet or promote a blog post I’ve written. I am respectful doing this and I do not abuse the privilege of having the network that I do. It’s OK to ask, in my opinion, but do not abuse this privilege!
  • Again, use social media to stay in contact with your network. Tweet, like, and support them (genuinely, of course!).

Gaining an interactive readership is hard work and takes time to develop. At one point I had the “Write it and they will come” syndrome. But it’s not enough to just post it and forget it. People want to read quality material before they interact and become part of your network.

What have I missed? What has worked for you that has helped you garner comments?

 

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Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net All content copyrighted unless otherwise specified. © 2014 by Rachel Thompson, author. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to use short quotes provided a link back to this page and proper attribution is given to me as the original author.

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About the Author

Naomi Blackburn, owner of The Author CEO, a consultation firm dedicated to helping independent authors navigate the development of strategic business plans and the marketing world, holds an MBA and has worked in the field of business development, sales and consulting for 12 years. A former social worker, she has helped hundreds of clients meet their life goals. A top 1% Goodreads reviewer, she comes to the world of books from a reader/reviewer’s perspective. She strives to help authors achieve their goals by teaching them to think of themselves as CEO/entrepreneur of a small business and helping them negotiate the business side of selling books.

Leave a Comment:

(17) comments

Scarlet Darkwood October 19, 2014

These are great points. And even with SEO optimization, you may get RSS followers, but not REAL followers of your blog or those who actively participate. I’ve learned that quickly. When I write articles, I often try to pose questions at the end as if I were addressing a group of people. I’ve yet to get a response. I don’t post my blog much on Facebook–and probably doing that occasionally might entice some people to go to your blog to read more–if they think they like the subject matter. I mentioned something special about one of my stories, and provided the link to see my illustration on where I got my inspiration–but never did include the blog link. But I’m like Rachel, I get fearful of sounding like “Buy my book.” That happens all the time, and I just pass. If it’s an interesting article that moves me to speak back, I usually comment.

Reply
    Naomi Blackburn October 19, 2014

    I have found that consistency is key. Very little that I post is for “buy anything”, but these posts aren’t my target audience.

    I have really found that the author Patricia Sands is a best practice for an author blogger whose blog is only targeted towards readers. I love getting lost in her blog.

    Reply
Scarlet Darkwood October 19, 2014

I checked out her website: Amazing! No wonder she attracts readers, and her artistic eye, captured in her photos, only help that much more. It’s like a photo blog. Definitely something to consider: What do I have to offer readers or entice them to come back? Much to think about.

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    Naomi Blackburn October 20, 2014

    Exactly! With sites targeted towards readers, I like to say what are topics that you can write that act as a “soft sell”. Patricia Sands has nailed it. She has frequent visitors to her blog and frequently guest posts on traveling issues.

    Reply
sjp (@sjp_title) October 20, 2014

Consistency is definitely key, the posts I get the least comments on are when I’ve been AWOL for a month. Consistency along with the above points keeps people coming back and ultimately invested enough to make a comment I think 🙂

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    Naomi Blackburn October 26, 2014

    Great point! I have had that same issue happen. Now, I work ahead to ensure that I have blog and guest post consistently.

    Reply
Nisha October 20, 2014

Thanks for the great tips.

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Beth Caplin October 20, 2014

Every once in a while I come up with a catchy, click-bait-y title that gets people’s attention when I share on social media (but I try to make sure the content lives up to reader expectations, because I hate clicking on an eye-grabbing title only to read a post that’s easily forgettable or unrelated to the title).

Reply
    Naomi Blackburn October 20, 2014

    Thanks for your comment, Beth. I really encourage you to use your inner circle to bounce ideas off them. For example, today I sought out opinions from my inner circle for a guest post on reader relationship management that I will be writing for an author friend. One of my friends gave me an AWESOME perspective that I probably wouldn’t have thought of on my own and will give it a very unique perspective to other posts currently in the blogosphere.

    Reply

[…] Blackburn explains how to get more comments on your blog. Anne R. Allen, meanwhile, explores how to deal with the robots that run our lives without losing […]

Reply
Sheri Savill October 24, 2014

Great discussion … I’ve tried everything. I get a “few” comments, so I guess I shouldn’t complain too much. But sometimes it’s crickets. I think people comment on FB or hit the star on Twitter and call it good. It’s very discouraging to try so hard for so long and get so little. It’s gotten MUCH worse over the years, with blogging. Just too damned many blogs, I think. No one has time to read or comment. It’s media over-saturation in general, perhaps. What I marvel at are the blogs with obvious farmed-out content. They get tons of hits and comments (I do web dev so I know how to tell real hits from non-human ones and most are non-human, on my sites anyway). Huh? It’s all kind of a crapshoot, there’s a LOT of luck involved. Who “notices” you. Etc. Just my two cents. Thanks for the article. You gotta admit, it’s funny that an article about not getting blog comments gets lots of … blog comments.

Reply
    Rachel Thompson October 25, 2014

    Hi Sheri — thanks for reading and commenting. I find that it depends on the topic more than anything. If it’s somewhat controversial, there are more comments. If it’s kind of a ‘me too’ post, then people don’t feel all that inclined.

    Here’s what I have found works the best: commenting on others’ blogs, participating in #MondayBlogs (yea, I started it LOL, but the increase in traffic and readers and commenters is INSANE which is what I really was hoping for), and promoting others. Not to say you aren’t doing those things, but that kind of ‘other-centric’ activities seem to have an impact, in my experience.

    Reply
Lev Raphael November 24, 2014

I’ve done many of the things you’ve suggested everywhere I blog. I almost never got comments on my blogs about mystery writing/publishing except from other mystery writers posting on that same group blog. The blog I do on my own web site gets almost zero traffic even when post to FB and tweeted. People seem to prefer to comment on FB, That holds true for even my most popular Huffington Post blogs (the latest has over 500 likes, and shares on Twitter and FB). But I’m not downhearted because I know they may have unexpected results, like a recent blog getting me invited onto Iowa Public Radio. And because I’m working on my 26th book–always looking forward!

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M. J. Kelley December 1, 2014

Thanks so much for answering my question! Lots of great insights in here. I appreciate it.

Reply
    Naomi Blackburn December 2, 2014

    Thanks MJ! You know how to find me if you have any specific questions that I can answer.

    Reply
suzanlauder July 6, 2015

Darn. I’ve tried all of this, and still, no comments. When I comment on other authors’ posts, I note they always have several other comments. Many people have piped up, unprompted, and told me they’re reading and liking. But nothing on the posts! I told a couple friends that my feelings were starting to get hurt and they promised to comment, but nothing. I’ve been posting weekly for 5 months now and have three comments! I know from my stats that there are plenty reading–maybe nowhere near the “big” bloggers, but a good 100-200 per post lately. Same on FB: 500 people are reached, one comments. Same one every time.

I do catchy titles, catchy first lines, good photos, humorous sections in the post; I did a cute quiz, I even begged on one post. Nothing. I retweet, share, and promote other people’s books with one-tenth of the return favours, and by the same 5 people. I put interesting non-book stuff on FB. I promote my book about every 10th post on FB or tweet on Twitter, and every 3rd or so blog post. The rest is just interesting.

I can’t let it bug me, I’ll just have to accept it and continue doing the right things.

Reply
    Naomi Blackburn July 14, 2015

    Suzan,

    I feel your pain because it is too close to home.

    I can remember when I first started writing guest posts for Terri G. Long. I had no responses on my post. It was bad enough that I kept asking her if anyone was even reading them. She assured me that they were being read. Then, out of the blue (with tons of getting the word out there and my continued networking) I slowly started to get responses. Then, I branched out on my own and again…it was crickets when I would post until I started working with those “networkers” again who helped me to get out the word about my posts.

    In sales, which I consider this to be, it is all about the networking and delivering a good product. If you know that your product is great then patience and perseverance is needed. I have to tell you that I have many posts that I will have author friends take a look at and tell me to rethink it. I may think they are fantastic, but in reality, they don’t resonate with readers outside my head.

    Something that I have recently started doing on Author CEO is asking my readers what they were interested in. It helped me to gather 30+ new topics to write on that my readers want to read. What I thought was important….wasn’t important to them. It gave me invaluable insight, particularly on topics that might be overwritten.

    One thing to remember…those big “posters” didn’t become big overnight. It took time of grueling work.

    I have also noticed that when I changed my approach of asking inviting questions, I started to get questions. Also, make every effort to respond to each of those questions and thank them for responding.

    Keep pounding out the words. Thanks for stopping in.

    Naomi

    Reply
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