It’s shocking to me how many companies create great blog content, yet ignore the community of people engaging with that content after it’s been published. Driving, facilitating and engaging in the community around your content is a critical component of a great content strategy.
I’ve seen reports from other bloggers that getting 3-4 comments on a blog post can increase short-term traffic by 30-40 percent. Plus, the more engaged and responsive your readers are, the more likely they are to engage with your calls to action as well.
It doesn’t have to take much to quickly accelerate activity & engagement around your content. Here are six particular best practices we’ve found can make a significant difference.
1. Be the most active contributor to your own blog comments section
This doesn’t mean writing “thank you” after every comment, but it does mean responding with a thoughtful addition if a reader takes the time to engage directly. This shows that reader that you’re paying attention, plus encourages other readers to engage knowing that you’ll likely respond in kind as well. Great way to drive more interactivity and two-way communication.
2. When in doubt, leave it up
Too many companies moderate their blog comments too heavily. They get concerned about allowing contrary opinions to linger. If you see clear spam or offensive language, by all means take it down. But if there’s any doubt about whether the comment should stand, leave it up. A good back-and-forth, a spirited debate on a particular topic is the hallmark not only of great content but also brands that drive real conversations, engagement & conversion.
3. Use a real platform like Disqus
There are a handful of advanced commenting platforms worth a look, but I’m particular to Disqus. It’s simple to use & install, it’s free, and it enables greater pass-along and social sharing of your core content & reader comments.
4. Moderate post-publication
Give your commenters instant gratification that their response is live on your site. Create settings in Disqus or whatever your commenting system so that you’re alerted to new comments in case you want to respond or edit/censor, but giving the commenter instant gratification encourages them to immediately share the post with their own network (since their response is also already included).
5. Actively invite responses for each blog post
Part of your content development process should be more than just creating the content, but thinking in advance about the people you particularly want to engage and respond to that content. Who in the community do you believe will be most interested in your perspective? Who do you want to specifically invite to comment & respond? This is a great way to get more people engaged with your content and drive that 30-40 percent lift in short-term traffic.
6. Engage in responses on other social channels as well
Don’t forget to watch for and respond to comments outside of your blog but related to your content in the various social channels – particularly LinkedIn & Twitter. Thank new readers for retweeting or favoriting your content, ask for their response or opinion if they haven’t directly offered it, and generally demonstrate to these readers and others that you’re actively engaged with your community. It will drive further engagement from those directly, plus drive future participation from a wider audience of readers & social followers moving forward.
Would love to hear any other comment management strategies & best practices that you’ve employed as well.