Writing and Publishing

Three Tips for Reader Engagement

Blog Comments Provide Quick Feedback and Encourage Interaction

Another successful blogging tip is to engage readers. Interacting with our audience is the best and easiest way to connect with readers and build a following (that is, grow our platform). The best way to engage readers is by encouraging blog comments. Having comments can also increase the visibility of the post—and the blog.

A side benefit of engaging blog readers is quick feedback. When we write books it will be a year or two before anyone outside the publishing process reads it. When we write articles it takes several months before anyone sees our published work. But in both cases, even after waiting, feedback is limited. Did our work connect with our audience? Was our message received and understood? What do readers think? We are largely left wondering.

Not so with blogging. With blogging, feedback is fast—if we engage with our audience. This is easily done through blog comments. All blogs should allow comments and commenting should be easy.

Don’t make readers log-in, register, or jump through hoops to leave a comment. Many of them won’t bother. Since only a fraction of blog readers leave comments, make it easy for those that do.

Here are three tips to engage with our blog readers:

  1. Write a great post: Quality writing encourages readership. Be helpful; provide value. Cause the reader to think about the topic. Stimulate their imagination. Give them a reason to continue the conversation.
  2. Ask a question or give a prompt: It can be generic, as it “What do you think” or simply “Your turn.” Or be specific, tapping the post’s theme. That’s what I usually do. And I often ask two questions, giving different directions to consider. I also have a generic question and prompt as a heading to the comment section: “What do you think? Please leave a comment!”
  3. Respond to comments: Though we don’t need to—and shouldn’t—reply to every comment, often this is a great way to extend the topic, interact with commenters, and show appreciation.

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s book: Successful Author FAQs: Discover the Art of Writing, the Business of Publishing, and the Joy of Wielding Words. Get your copy today.

Peter Lyle DeHaan is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book Successful Author FAQs for insider tips and insights.

By Peter Lyle DeHaan

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, publishes books about business, customer service, the call center industry, and business and writing.

5 replies on “Three Tips for Reader Engagement”

Comments have slowed over the past six month on my blog, but I have also slowed down on commenting on other blogs. It’s just the season I am in for now. One other way to increase comments is commenting on other blog sites. It is a community after all. I post poetry mostly. How does one comment on poetry anyhow? 🙂 There is one poet from Germany that comments on my blog every time I comment on her poetry. Its give and take.

Jerry, I’ve also had to cut back on the comments I’ve left on other blogs. When I get caught up, I will resume that.

Faithful commenters are wonderful for us writers. Thank you for your regular comments!

Yes, I’m happy to respond to all the comments, too. (Except maybe the ones that are merely a happy face.) But I follow some blogs with scores or even hundreds of comments per post, so commenting on them all would be impossible!

I respond to most comments, and on most of my blog posts there are a least a few comments. The subject matter of my blog, autism, lends itself to this. Many parents of children with autism struggle deeply. It’s the nature of the beast. We want to hear and respond to things we have in common. Really, only a parent of children with autism can understand what it is like.

I do spend time commenting on other blogs on the same topic. I usually do this when I am watching TV, with my smart phone. Word Press makes this very easy with their mobile app. I try to go to blogs which have followers and make insightful, encouraging or snarky comments. This draws more readers to check out my blog.

Ann, I think the more specialized the topic, the more loyal the readers and more likely they are to post a comment.

Commenting on other like-minded blogs is a great idea.

Thanks for adding to the discussion!

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