5 Ways to Build Blog Reader Participation

Ian Lurie

Mukund asks:

“If the new marketing is all about conversation, why does it take so much effort to get people to talk. Why do only 1% people coming to our blog site comment?”

Mukund, it’s not easy, I’m afraid, and there aren’t any magical solutions. But here are four techniques that have worked for me:

Just Ask

The most obvious technique, if you have a big enough audience, is to simply ask. For example, I’ve gotten four comments here and another 10 or so on Facebook from my Stump Ian post. But, this method depends on you having a decent subscribership. I get about 400+ visitors per day, plus 300+ subscribers.

Recruit Other Bloggers

If you post to your blog and want to invite comment, ask a few other bloggers to help out. Chances are you have some fellow bloggers with who you’ve traded links. If so, send them a note, or even better, link to them from your post. Typically, if a blogger links to me from a post asking for answers to a question, I’ll answer their question and link back. That sends them more visitors.

For example: Say you’re writing a post about, say, Managed File Transfer. You could end the post with a question like “Have questions about MFT? Send them in, and I’ll answer them here.”. Then you could reach out to some fellow tech bloggers and let them know you’re holding an online question and answer session on your blog.

Use Facebook and Other Social Sites

If you belong to a relevant group on Facebook, post there and invite folks to come comment.

If you don’t have a Facebook or 9Rules account, sign up for both. In my experience, 9Rules is by far the higher-quality community, but Facebook is larger and an easier place to socialize.

Answer the Commenters

Make sure you answer comments! If someone comments on your blog, reply via the comment feature or in a follow-up post. That creates just the conversation you’re looking for.

Get Friends to Comment

There’s no shame in inviting friends and colleagues to comment on your blog. A few well-placed comments can often spur things along.

Be Patient

It’s a matter of time. Trust me on this. As you add readers, you add potential comments. Just keep up the good work, and you’ll get there.

Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is founder of Portent. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). Ian's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Ian is now an independent consultant and continues to work with the Portent team- training the agency group on all things digital. You can find him at www.ianlurie.com

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  1. Another great way is to guest post on other blogs, or have other bloggers guest post on your own. This typically brings the two blogs’ commenters together, and readers may convert to subscribers based on the assumed endorsement of your blog by one they already read.

  2. one word… reciprocity…
    And of course good content.
    Susan Peters sent some Active Rainers over here to check out “Conversation Marketing”. Nice place you have here.

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