Comments are good. Comments are good. Comments are good. I want you to repeat this over and over to yourself, as much as you possibly can. Unfortunately, it will do very little good if your posts do not encourage your reader to actually make the first move. My name is Alison Hummel, and I am a dreamer. And I have literally failed miserably for about a year and a half at online social networking and blogging.
The reason I failed (and you don’t have to) is because I would just write some stuff, usually very insightful, and wait for people to tell me how brilliant I was. That never happened. And the reason no one commented on my brilliance is because no one really cares how brilliant I am. And just for the record—I am not THAT brilliant.
One of the best ways I have seen successful bloggers, entrepreneurs, actors, writers, VA’s, whatever… reach their success is by interacting with people. Real live people. The internet allows us to hide. Type away…make snarky comments…read with disdain…read with envy…read with love. Observing is good, but it can become your arch nemesis. The internet also allows us to interact. Share a commentary on something personal…respond to someone’s post with compassion…make a business deal. Interacting is really where it’s at (online and in real life).
I have THREE THINGS that I do regularly on my blog to get a conversation going. Ironically, my latest post doesn’t have any comments, because I didn’t do one of the two things listed here. An experiment. And it proves my point.
1. Share personal stories.
Please, use caution here people! I don’t mean share about how messed up your life is. What I do mean, is share about a challenge you have overcome. Share about a human experience. Something that we can all relate to. I have shared about some personal stuff recently on my blog…and people are responding. I feel vulnerable. But that’s okay. I can handle it.
2. Ask people to comment.
I am a salesperson to the core. Not a marketer—something I must learn in 2011, but asking is critical to getting a conversation started. Just look at anyone’s blog that has comments on it. The blogger asks the reader to comment. And then they send an email blast…asking again for comments. And then they post on FB and Twitter and ask for comments. It’s okay to ask. And, yes….you have to ask every time.
3. Comment on other people’s blogs.
I believe that everything in life is about energy flow. It is critical to have a nice flow in and out. If the comments are all going one way—to your blog—and not going out—to other people’s blogs—this can clog up the flow. Again, since business and life are about relating, good relationships tend to be give and take. Commenting on other people’s blogs shows a level of respect for that person, opens your site up to more traffic (when you include your name and website) and keeps the flow moving.
Why are comments good, you might be wondering?
Well, comments are good because dialogue is good. It also looks really cool when someone happens upon your website and your blogs have a stream of comments for every (or most) posts. As a reader, when I go to someones blog and I see a lot of comments, I feel like I am in the right place. The same way that going into a restaurant that is bustling with activity makes me feel like I will get a good meal, vs going to a restaurant where I am the only person there.
With that being said, what are YOUR thoughts about comments? Wouldn’t it be ironic if no one commented on this? I would find that humorous. But you better believe, I will be tapping my loyal followers for some thoughts. My mother being one of my loyal followers. 😀
Let’s get the party started!
I love comments for two reasons. 1. community 2. community!
When I have reader’s leave a comment it gives me an idea of the posts that get them inspired to create conversation. I am often surprised that it is the post I spend the least amount of time on, that just flows out authentically and casually. A community is formed from the readers, they get to know each other and they become part of the voice on the blog/site.
When I leave a comment I feel that I am part of community. My voice not only is able to be part of someone’s space, but when there is a response you feel part of the conversation. I have created so many connections by being a part of the voice on various sites that I love.
I also always put out as an intention that I will someday, somehow try to connect in a more personal way with those that I have reached out to, or joined in, their community.
Thanks Alison for creating this conversation.
Hey Hannah! Thanks so much for stopping by 🙂 XOXO, Alicia
I love this post! Bringing people into the conversation is something writers often take for granted. They feel “Well, they are here reading, of course they are interested,” but asking for their input is valuable, not only for you, but also for your readers.
My goal for 2011 is to be more active on my blog and comment on blogs that I frequently read, this being one of them, so plan on seeing more of me in the future.
Many thanks Alicia for the inspiration.
Hey Kandace! I can’t wait to hear more from you! 🙂 I promise you will hear more from me in the future too! XoXo
Love it ladies!! I relate to having an intention to interact more. It’s fun actually. 😀 thank you for commenting…!!!!
Alison..glad you asked, I am happy to comment on a blog. I generally don’t I guess because no one has ever asked before. I guess our social mores can hold us back from jumping right in and saying what is on our mind. I find it difficult to get conversations going on Twitter, I post my important advocacy information and get an occasional retweet or mention. So, I intend to follow and post and see where your blog takes me/us, should be fun and interesting.
Thanks aunt Colleen–another amazing entrepreneur making your mark on the world. Love the feedback and insight!!
Thank you for responding. It means a lot 🙂
Alicia and Alison, this is exactly what I’ve been missing/ looking for! Thank you! ???
How great! I feel like jay-z on oprahs master call, “my failure at social networking, your entertainment and solution.” if u haven’t seen that show…it’s a must watch!!!
Can’t wait to check out ur site 🙂
Supposed to say master class. iPhone autocorrect. Oy !
So happy to help!! 🙂 please come back for more good reads! 🙂
I am terrible about networking both in person and online. I do like to share in accomplishments, and of course love to spread the word about useful tools that I know people can use to increase productivity. I understand that online is our future so I am making every attempt to make use of its popular trends, but at the same time, when someone is special, or requires TLC I still want to hook up in person because I still believe that an emotion can be felt so much deeper in person.
I have to admit…I don’t comment much on blog posts, but this sure encourages me to do so more! I think I’ve always wanted to, but felt like I’d be exposing too much about myself, but hey, isn’t that the point!? This is great info for someone like me who is a newbie at social networking. It really is cool to get to know those you follow better, and also to share about yourself, relationship building is important to any business, and I’ve got big goals for mine in 2011!
Activity on a blog, like motion in life is critical. You are so right. My favorite sites are also the busy ones, so, here’s to you and comments, too! Keep the flow going! :>
I have to admit that I have also failed at grabbing my audience to participate! Let 2011 be the year of interaction and conversation! 😉 thank You to everyone for taking the time to read my posts!! xoxo
Comments are, indeed, an awesome validation that your time as a blogger has not been wasted, even if your ideas still need a little time to evolve. Inciting readers to comment can, as you point out, be as simple as merely asking, but it helps when readers actually care about the stuff you write.
To improve your odds of attracting the interest of relevant readers, it’s important to have a marketing plan for your blog in general, as well as for each and every blog post, with business development activities specifically designed to locate, target, and convert casual visitors to loyal readers.
By employing simple listening practices, again, tailored to the subject matter of your blog. Here’s what I mean.
If you write a blog post about the Philadelphia Phillies, this would obviously be of interest to Phillies fans. So you set up a search in your TweetDeck or HootSuite for the word “Phillies”, post your article, write a catchy teaser for Twitter and Facebook including a link to your piece, then, go follow everybody out there who is talking about the Phillies.
When the curious person clicks back to your Twitter profile to figure out why you care about them, the first thing they’ll see is you talking about something in which they have an interest – the Phillies. Click, click, boom! They’re on your site where your material has now got to stand on its own two feet.
Identify every other blogger out there writing about the Phillies and leave comments on their blogs, leaving the permalink to your article in the field asking for your website where you leave the comment. This will get the attention of the other blogger aka ‘Community Gatekeeper’, and perhaps, due to the common interest, earn your post a mention on their blog, a link back, or at least a tweet.
Make it easy for readers to comment. I do a lot of social marketing seminars and invariably have one or two people in every session who express frustration at their off and on ability to successfully make blog comments. Do NOT require your readers to register in order to leave comments.
Log out of your site and try to leave a comment so you can experience the process the same way your readers do, then you’ll know if you’re inadvertently creating a technical barrier to reader comments.
As I’ve already gotten way too wordy, I’ll say one last thing. Do not moderate comments, let your Akismet or other spam catcher do that for you. Allow readers to post whatever the hell they want to; you can always go back and delete it if the content is inappropriate or spam.
You girls ROCK! I love the topic of this post. Every human being needs and wants connection…the heartfelt, authentic kind. Blog posts and topics presented on your sites generate this kind of camaraderie that we’re all looking for…and I for one, LOVE it.
Keep up all the awesomeness Alicia…one of these days I hope I get to work with you! 🙂
And Alison – love that we think the same way ~ I loved Jay-Z’s interview/Master class…sooo inspiring!
thanks stephanie…! great minds think alike i guess. them means me, you and jay-z. obviously…