Discussion – it’s the fuel that fires the Internet. How do you keep that flame going with your own blog? Even with the best articles possible, it can be tough for each and every writer out there. Maybe we should just take a second to think about how we can dive in and build some good conversation.
What I have here are just five simple ways to keep the comments moving with your own blog, and by all means, everything is relative. I’m quite aware of that, and hopefully, this is just a way to springboard you towards better conversation on your own posts. Keep in mind that this certainly isn’t a complete list, but it definitely is a helpful one.
Answer Every Question Asked Of You
After writing any blog post or article, there are bound to be quite a few questions. It’s like a mini press conference for the press itself. As a matter of fact, I personally believe that is the readers’ favorite pastime next to reading itself – asking questions. As obvious as this may be, the best thing that you can possibly do is answer them (I suppose it’s just nice to have a little reminder).
Granted, there may be the instance that you don’t actually know the answer. No worries there! Simply state that you don’t have a clue, and if you can, try to redirect your reader to someone who does (like MakeUseOf Answers). Also, there may be that occasion that you miss a question and find it months later – go ahead and answer it. Why? Future readers may want to know the answer, and there is also the chance that the reader has signed up for an email alert and will get your response anyway.
Forward Your Readers To Other Blogs
It’s nice if you can write really great articles, but it’s also pretty awesome if you share other really great articles. Say that you’ve got a reader that gave a simple encouraging comment – cool, right? I know that it makes me get all giddy inside when someone writes a comment on my articles. I typically celebrate with unhealthy food and extravagant parties at the MakeUseOf office….or sometimes I just smile and respond. Usually the latter. But really, my cubicle is the best one here, and no one leaves it without a margarita in one hand and a cigar in the other.
However, while in comment ecstasy, you shouldn’t forget that this reader is someone who is simply wanting to know a little bit more about the topic they just read about. Why not help them out by linking to other resources? Not only is it just a good thing to do, but it also might help bring readers back since you’re helpful (oh, and yes, the picture is of a reader actually sharing other resources – same effect, right?)
Respond To Insults With Charm
I’ve been insulted quite a bit before, and I can honestly say that it makes me squirm. The fact that someone would say something so rude – whether blatant or backhanded – is just beyond me. What’s the point of it? Why hurt anyone? To be frank, I could get a billion positive comments on either side of the issue of an article, but the one that is rude will be the one that stands out the most.
Realistically, there’s a great method to handle these comments, and that is to just let it roll off your back. You can do this a variety of ways, really. Ignoring the comment is one way of doing it. Another way is to simply thank them for their response, but even still, despite your intentions, it could come across as being rude as well (you’ll know it if you see it, and I’ve done it myself). However, you could always try to win them over. Take a stab at humor, or perhaps you could just ask them why they feel the way they do. I’m just saying that it may be a little better to win someone over than be at odds with them – not necessarily easier, but certainly better.
Ask Plenty Of Questions
You’ve got readers asking questions, but why don’t you ask some questions yourself? Get them to expound more on their opinions. Figure out the details of their points of view. Honestly, I consider it a success if the length of comments on an article is much longer than the article itself.
However, I wouldn’t stick to discussing only the content of the article. Call it unprofessional if you want, but I like to learn about who my readers are. I mean, we’re on the Internet, and we’re able to connect people from all over. Why not take advantage of it? If the situation presents itself, go ahead and ask a little bit about the personal life of your readers. It makes everyone a little more human, and in most cases, much more fun.
Ignore Grammar & Spelling
I’ve harped about leniency over grammar and spelling before, and I’m going to do it again. When it comes to commenters on your blog, don’t let their grammar and spelling leave you with a bad first impression. Sometimes it seems as though we assume the level of someone’s intelligence due to grammar (I know I’m assuming here as well), but that’s not always the case. Basically, I’m just saying you should take everything with a grain of salt.
Granted, I encourage you to use proper grammar and spelling with your responses, but that’s only because of the image that you want to give to your audience. However, as always, don’t sweat over it too much. Keep everything conversational and fun.
The Bottom Line
That’s it, ladies and gents. All of these are just a few ways to keep the comments flowing and the conversation fruitful on your blog. Will it actually work? Not sure. I can’t help you with your personality, for that’s only something that you can deal with. However, I can give some tips to bring it out a little more.
What other ways do you keep your comments consistent? Do you use any of the methods shown here?