For anyone who spends time on Facebook, you’ve probably seen the meme above used whenever there’s a controversial or funny topic being discussed in the comments of a post. Some pages and websites generate hundreds of comments every time they post something new, with everyone’s different reactions often being equally entertaining as the post itself. Of course, not all websites or social media pages can stir up that kind of discussion among their audience, but if you aren’t getting any discussion from your posts, there are certainly some ways that you can help stir the pot.
Understanding What Earns a Comment
In today’s online world, there are essentially two types of Internet users when you boil it down: observers and sharers. Observers use the Internet because it provides them with quick answers to their questions, as well as updates about friends, family, current events, sports, etc. all in one spot so they never miss a beat. They appreciate its ease of use and access to information, but typically prefer to just soak in the information rather than share it themselves. On the other hand, sharers might appreciate the Internet for the same reasons as observers, but instead of just gathering information, they use the Internet for its sharing purposes as well. For them, staying updated with friends and family means posting pictures and status updates on social media, sharing interesting articles they find, and voicing their opinions on a certain subject.
That being said, if you’re creating content that attracts people looking for answers and help, you’re probably attracting a lot of observers who just need an answer to a question, and probably aren’t that interested in commenting in the first place. Apart from the occasional “thanks for explaining this better” comment, there also might not be much to say—especially if you direct any further questions to be asked to your sales team. When it comes to content that gets people talking, the content that stirs up the most discussion typically focuses on a controversial topic, poses a thought-inducing question (e.g., How Are You Preparing for the New Healthcare Changes?), or simply asks readers for their input on something (i.e. “Tell us what you think in the comments below!”). You can’t expect people to have something to say every time you share an article; it’s up to you to give them something worth talking about.
6 Tips for Generating More Blog Comments
Now that you understand the core of what makes people comment on your blog, here are 6 things you should be doing that lead to more comments on your articles:
#1. Be Bold, Original, and Don’t Be Afraid to Get Controversial
While helpful articles and tips are great for generating traffic, they’re not exactly known for generating discussion. If you want to get people talking about your content, you’ll want to write about the things professionals are debating about in your industry (e.g., steel vs. aluminum apparatus bodies), and don’t be afraid to insert your own opinion so commenters have a side to argue for or against. If you can’t pick a side, make sure you do a good job explaining both sides so others can weigh in with their own arguments. Remember, people who comment on an article often do so because they’re looking for a place to share their opinion about something, so make it easy by writing about the hot topics people can’t stop talking about in your industry.
#2. Use a Better Blog Comment System
Even if you write an excellent, thought-inducing article on a controversial topic in your industry, a bad blog comment system could be what’s deterring more people from leaving a comment on your blog. Does it require too much personal information in order to post? Maybe it goes one step further and requires readers to create an account before they can do anything. Do commenters have to wait for a moderator to approve their post before it appears? Can commenters easily keep track of the replies? Do your comments have a rating system where the best comments are recognized? All of these things, or lack thereof, could be holding commenters back.
In most cases, the default comment system on your website is just fine, it’s just a matter of how many hoops you make commenters jump through first. We keep ours simple by only requiring a first name and an email address, and we give commenters the option to subscribe to follow-up comments so they can easily keep track of what everyone else is saying. Another way to keep things simple is by installing a social comment plugin like Facebook Comments or Disqus where readers can use their social media accounts to login to a comment system and leave a comment. Not only does it save the step of entering personal information, but readers should also recognize it from other websites and instantly recognize it as a good place to voice their opinion. Likewise, the rating systems these plugins use also encourages readers to say something, because they’ll be more inclined to share their opinion if they know people can potentially “like” it or give it a vote of approval.
#3. Ask for Your Readers’ Input
You know the old saying, “ask and you shall receive”? Well, when it comes to blog comments, it’s actually true. While some companies are hesitant because they don’t want to beg for interaction, it’s not so much begging as it is looking for a way to better connect with your audience. The more input your readers share about something, the more you’ll know about their preferences and opinions, thus influencing the types of content you’ll potentially share in the future. If you let them know that their input is valuable, you’d be surprised at how many people are willing to take a few minutes to share their perspectives. Try encouraging more comments with conclusions like this:
“Has anyone else used this product in their applications? I’m curious to hear how it worked for you. Share your experiences in the comments below.”
“We’d love to hear from our readers what you think about the new proposed regulations. Let us know in the comment section!”
“Did we miss something? If you have any extra tips, please share them in the comments below.”
#4. Reply to Comments Readers Leave
If you’re going to encourage people to comment on your post, make sure you respond to as many comments as you can to show them that you’re listening, and they’re not just wasting their time. If people know you have a reputation for responding to their comments, they’ll certainly be more inclined to speak up whenever they feel the need to.
#5. Make Sure Your Comments Are Easy to Locate
Have you ever wanted to comment on a blog and not been able to find the comments, only to realize they’re hidden behind a tiny link at the bottom? While most companies do this to save space and load time, it can also discourage and prevent people from leaving a comment on your blog. Ask some strangers to read a blog post of yours; when they’re finished, ask if they wanted to leave comment would it be easy for them to find and do so? If they unanimously say yes, you know your site is designed well enough to encourage them. If no, however, make sure that you aren’t hiding your comments, and refresh your blog design to make them easier to find and use.
#6. Treat Social Comments Like Blog Comments
If people are leaving comments on your social media posts for your blogs, but aren’t really leaving comments on your website, don’t be alarmed. People view social media as a more appropriate channel for sharing their opinions, so they might just be more open to sharing their opinions on your LinkedIn post than your website. If that’s the case, don’t spend time trying to get more people to leave comments on your blog; instead, focus on how you can get the most comments from your LinkedIn page. Sure, you might miss out on gathering their contact information this way, but the context of their comments will still hold the same value. Whether they comment on your blog on social media or your website, the only thing that’s important is that you get them talking.
While it’s frustrating to spend a lot of time creating content only to have it seem like it went unnoticed, its important to remember that blog comments are simply a vanity metric, and don’t really mean much at the end of the day. If you’re getting people to convert on your CTA or provide their contact information in other ways, it doesn’t matter if they’re leaving comments in the process. Of course, comments are a great way to connect with your audience, learn more about them, and get feedback, so it never hurts to get as many possible. Make sure you keep these tips in mind when writing your blog posts and designing your website.
Posted by Alex Sobal Alex has exceptional writing skills and the ability to learn new industries and their complex processes. While at Weidert Group, he was also an avid social media marketer and wrote frequently on online community engagement and content creation strategies for our blog.