When I first started blogging, I couldn't figure out why some readers emailed their blog comments to me instead of posting them at my blog. I started to wonder how I would ever create community at my blog if I was the only one there. This used to upset me greatly until I remembered that my blog is not about me. Instead, it's about my readers, and my job is to engage them where they are and in whatever ways they feel most comfortable.
Still, a blog is not a blog if the owner is the only one there. So I started to figure out ways to encourage people to communicate with me through my blog without causing them to feel forced or dragged into it. Here are some of the things I have done that have helped me do this. Perhaps they will help you too.
Adjust Your Mindset To Meet Readers Where They Are. Despite what you may think, an astounding number of people who find your blog don't really know what a blog is, much less have the presence of mind to figure out how to comment at one. Your regular customer probably does have your email address, and probablys feel comfortable communicating with you via email. Be grateful for the communication, even if it's an email comment to a blog post.
Remember that, blog comment or not, meeting a person where they feel most comfortable will always yield positive results all the way around. If a reader or customer feels more comfortable with email, then as my husband says to our kids sometimes — “you get what you get and you don't pitch a fit!” And remember, email communication is better than no communication at all!
- If The Comment Is Juicy, Ask For Permission To Share It. Offer to log in using your reader's information and cut and paste the comment on their behalf. If permission is granted, send the reader a link to the post with the comment for final approval, and make any changes needed. Thank your reader for adding value to your blog and extend an invitation to comment in person in the future.
- Let The Comment Inspire A New Blog Post. If the
comment causes you to think about something else you can blog about, use it to create new content. Give credit to the anonymous commenter, and once you publish the post, send the commenter a note letting her
know that she inspired you. Invite her to leave her comment, if any, in the comments section.
People appreciate individual attention. Over time, and with consistency, activities like these create community, not only at your blog but also around your brand. As you engage people, people will engage you. And what's more, they'll tell other people about you. And when that happens, everybody wins.
Question: Have you tried any of these things to encourage increased participation at your blog?