Blogging is an important part of digital marketing.
And if you know me, you know I’m passionate about blogging.
This isn’t just a personal quirk of mine. Research shows websites with blogs have 434% more indexed pages.
Blogs have tons of important benefits, which is why I’m a major advocate of a solid content marketing and blogging strategy.
Take into consideration a few blogging stats you may not have read before:
Blogs are super important.
But blogs with comments? Even better. Comments’ section is where the conversation takes place.
When people comment on your article, they bring additional information and content to the table, brainstorm ideas for new topics to write about, and strengthen your website.
Comments even add to the words, keywords, and SEO value as seen by search algorithms. Higher word count—something that blog commenting builds—is one of the 13 most important SEO trends in 2016 as Digital Reflow points out in this infographic:
Driving and encouraging comments on your posts isn’t difficult. I’ve previously covered the technical reasons why nobody is commenting on your blog and how to reformat your site to encourage commenting.
That post itself drove a lot of comments, so I decided to supplement it with this article, describing how to generate 50 comments or more on your next blog post.
Here’s a step-by-step guide.
1. Create insightful content
The only way to get comments is to get traffic.
And to build sustainable traffic, you need to provide insightful, deep, researched, and well-thought-out content.
This is where everything starts. If your content sucks, you won’t get comments. Period.
Only the cream of the crop content sticks out in today’s crowded environment, so you need to write with your A-game.
Focus on creating compelling stories that draw people in and make them want to share an opinion. The best content gets shared, goes viral, attracts audiences, and connects.
Like I said, the content marketing world is crowded. Just take a look:
More and more companies find they need more and more content to sustain revenues and growth. But more and more of everything means that your job as a content creator is more challenging.
How do you stand out?
It’s all about building trust. To build trust, you have to write in a way that communicates authenticity and transparency.
Edelman recently published a report showing the behaviors of consumers based on trust. This data helps to illuminate the importance of being viewed as a trusted resource.
The key to any successful effort is trust, and this is especially true online and in business. Nearly half the population refuses to do business with companies they don’t trust, and over half choose companies based on trust and recommend trusted companies to friends.
BlogHer found that 81% of online consumers trust content from blogs. It’s the new newspaper or magazine.
So, let’s get back to the question: how do you build content that stands out?
You do so by building trust.
And you build trust by providing insight, detail, and facts.
2. Encourage idea sharing
Brainstorming is one of the most difficult parts of blogging. Constantly filling a rotating schedule with content is a full-time job typically involving large teams.
I like to encourage readers to share their ideas and thoughts throughout my articles because I sincerely want to know what my readers think. I want to involve the community to create a crowdsourced brainstorming session.
Have you ever been part of a really good brainstorming session?
I have. There’s something almost inspired that happens when the ideas start pouring in, and you know you’re onto something.
I try to recreate that experience in my articles. These five rules of brainstorming help guide my thought process as I create content.
You can think of your article as a guided brainstorming session.
When people are inspired by your content in an idea-sharing way, they will provide their feedback.
TED Talks are an inspiration to me. TED’s tagline is “ideas worth spreading.”
The TED speakers are inspiring others with their thoughts and ideas.
And look what happens. Notice those comment counts:
Thousands of comments!
Yeah, I’d have to agree that the “worth spreading” part is definitely happening.
We can all learn from TED Talks—not just the content of the talks themselves, but the whole idea of creating a rich learning experience that people want to participate in.
I’d like to think that because I encourage a positive, transparent, and open community, my readers love to share their ideas. And this commonly created space provides community even for me to hang out and be myself.
The creative industry is difficult, and mutual encouragement is universally appreciated.
Even a thought leader like myself needs a network of trusted people working together toward a common goal. No one succeeds alone.
If you’re looking for more tips on how to write more content, I recently wrote a guide on how to push yourself to continue writing. Also, if you have any brainstorming tips or ideas, feel free to share them in the comments below.
3. Respond to comments
You should respond to commenters, but with the “ABC” caveat.
ABC stands for Amy’s Baking Company, an infamous business from Kitchen Nightmares. Celebrity chef and business consultant Gordon Ramsay walked away from ABC because it was so bad.
Throughout two episodes (and a summer media storm), Amy was bombarded with negative reviews and comments throughout Yelp and social media.
Did they respond to comments?
Yes. Yes, they did.
As you can see, instead of being cool about it and learning from the feedback, the owners responded with angry rants.
Although Amy later hired reputation management and PR consultants to delete the negative comments, the brand’s reputation was effectively ruined. The company eventually closed permanently.
That is not how you respond to negative comments.
And you can’t cover up your tracks by deleting comments.
People know how to screen-capture these days.
Content moderation is important, and automated tools such as Akismet do a great job of filtering out most spam comments. However, the Internet still has its share of trolls and paid shills, filling comment sections with randomness and negativity.
The way you handle comments says a lot about you personally and your site in general. Simply deleting or refusing any negative comment is a form of censorship and is often viewed negatively by online communities.
As long as people aren’t directly attacking each other but debating with some level of courtesy, all comments are good comments.
These basic community guidelines can help guide your behavior in pretty much any public forum, whether online or off to encourage open dialogue.
Regardless of the type of comments you get initially—negative or positive—respond to them to get the ball rolling.
Your position as the content’s author allows you to set the tone for the comments.
- If you are defensive, the naysayers will become more hostile.
- If you are rude, others will become ruder.
- If you start name-calling, others will name-call you.
- If you express gratitude, people will be thankful.
- If you exemplify kindness, others will be well-mannered.
- If you respect others, others will be courteous.
For some people, the comments make the article. They may not read the entire article, but they’ll scroll down to the comments to see the buzz.
If you are creating a positive, affirming, and engaging discussion with your replies, it will make the overall experience of the article that much better.
Replying to comments also shows the next person who comes along what to expect if they leave a comment.
Your comment replies lay the foundation for open dialogue among the entire community.
4. Write conversationally
On my own site, I can be more myself.
Conversational is my jam.
I’m able to write about my personal experiences, successes or failures, and personalize the content with a bit of my own personal flair. It’s meant to be less of a lecture and more of a dialogue.
I encourage you to join that dialogue.
How do you write conversationally?
- Direct comments and questions at the reader. Use the word “you.”
- Refer to yourself with personal pronouns — “I,” “me,” “my,” “mine.”
- Ask questions. And then answer them.
- Use easy words.
- Use figures of speech, slang, and conversational expressions.
- Use short paragraphs. I aim for 1-4 sentences. Anything greater than six sentences in a paragraph is probably too long.
- Tell a story. Who doesn’t like a story?
According to Nielsen, nearly 7 million people host their own blogs. Another 12 million bloggers keep up a stream of content on social media sites such as Tumblr, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
The only thing I can add to such a crowded conversation is my own perspective, so that’s what I aim to do. Brands with a purpose—even personal brands—always outperform those without.
I encourage you to do so as well.
5. Take a stand
You have to take a stand to write a decent blog article.
What do I mean by this? There are usually two sides to any story, and informational content should always be included. Taking a firm stance for or against something forces commenters from both sides of the issue to take notice.
Basically, you have to pick a side.
Of course, you don’t have to get political. Just take firm stances on industry issues.
I personally think blogging is among the most important pieces of a solid content marketing strategy. I’m going to pick this point of view and argue for it.
Others may argue that graphics, videography, SEO, CPC, CRO, and other tactics are more efficient. Great! I welcome that debate.
Your blog will generate comments when you pick a position, hold a viewpoint, and maintain a stance.
Why is this important?
People learn from these discussions. There are people reading your article who also want to shore up their viewpoints, pick a side, or maintain a position. Your article helps them do that.
A simple example of this is in the influencer marketing space. Major players speak to their audience, make recommendations, share opinions, and hold considerable sway!
From the perspective of influencer marketing, nearly half of literate people will read blogs to learn about products.
If you can take a stance, bring data, and prove a point, you’ll be well on your way to generating 50 comments.
6. Be approachable
I welcome you to disagree with me. That’s not a challenge. That’s not a dare. That’s not a come-at-me-huh kind of attitude.
That’s just me being real, asking you to have a conversation.
I’m an approachable and down-to-earth guy in real life, so I like to portray the real me when I write online.
Even my color choices are an attempt to be me.
Did you know there’s an emotional color wheel utilized by advertisers to invoke certain emotions?
Psychology plays a big role in marketing – you want customers and clients to feel certain emotions when doing business. With QuickSprout’s color scheme, I’m suggesting that I’m a peaceful guy with a brand focused on growing healthy businesses.
I tried a different color scheme on my other blog, NeilPatel.com. That one uses orange.
The idea with that color is to convey that I’m friendly, cheerful, and confident.
So, even colors play a role in fostering approachability.
Having a picture of yourself makes you appear more approachable too. That’s why I use sidebar ads with images of myself.
That approachability needs to be clear in the way you write too.
If I were to spend this entire time lecturing you, I’d risk insulting you as a reader. It would also make me seem less approachable.
I want you to approach me not just for business but so I can learn from you and improve myself.
Life is all about opening up to new perspectives and experiences.
7. Comment on other blogs
Bloggers love networking with each other. If you want people to participate in your community, you have to be willing to participate in theirs.
Take a look at this infographic, particularly the section “are people who comment also bloggers?”
You’ll notice that while bloggers make up a smaller percentage of overall commenters, they comment nearly twice as often.
This means that by commenting on other blogs, you’ll encourage lengthier conversations with other bloggers. Sure, many of these conversations will occur on their blogs, but traffic will spill over to yours too.
8. Share your posts on social media
Where are the biggest conversations taking place today?
Social media, baby.
It would be foolish to write a killer comment-ready article and then not share it on social media.
What’s going to happen on social media when you do post your article?
People will comment on the social media thread, not the article itself.
Is this a bad thing? Aren’t you going for blog comments rather than social media feedback?
No, it’s not a bad thing. Although social media comments won’t count toward your post’s overall comment count (unless you use a Facebook login WordPress plugin), they still promote the overall conversation. That’s a good thing.
It’s important to always keep an omnichannel focus and not get so entrenched in one tactic that you forget the overall goal.
Here are some serious social media statistics to consider:
Regulations and money are involved in social media to this extent because there are a lot of users.
Here are demographics for the most popular social media platforms in 2016:
Huge audiences use social media as a primary method of interacting with content.
You simply can’t ignore them and the conversations they are having there.
Blogging is an integral part of any online strategy.
Encouraging blog commenting engages readers and builds a loyal community of readers more likely to continue the conversation with friends, coworkers, and other social circles.
It boils down to this: care for your readers. They’re your friends. They’re your fans. Give them value.
Be honest, open, and transparent, and provide valuable content that encourages readers to leave comments.
And if you’re as bold as I was when I claimed (in this post’s title) that I knew how to generate at least 50 comments, you’d better reach that count as quickly as possible. Otherwise, you’ll be as sweaty as I am right now.
What do you think? Will these tips help you reach 50 comments on a post?