I am sure I am not the only one who burns with envy when the neighboring blog receives more comments than mine does, or even worse, the neighboring blog receives a glut of comments, while my blog can’t even muster one. Apart from making me feel that my blog and I should be living under a rock, it almost makes my persistent fear that my blog has no actual readers fairly real, which is no good for a blog or a blog writer’s self-confidence. It’s every blog writer’s worst, confidence-sucking fear – a post not receiving enough or any comments. So, how can any self-respecting blogger persuade his or her readers to leave [more] comments? To issue a confirmatory sign that all the efforts that go into the running of a blog aren’t in vain? To engage daily in a spot of virtual hand-holding so that the said blogger can grow strong enough to withstand future, commentless days without turning near-suicidal?
My dear fellow bloggers, today, I’d like to let you in on a few trade secrets that can help you garner more comments and increase your sense of blog-worth considerably… You are welcome!
1. Invite Comments – Yes, as simple as that. Let your readers know that you are keen to hear from them. Most blog readers are expert lurkers, spending hours on end at a blog, but seldom letting their presence known with, you know, a comment. Regulars (especially) are usually a little in awe of the writer and hence a trifle embarrassed to comment. Think getting tongue-tied when meeting a celebrity, it’s a similar emotion. So, you the blogger should try your utmost to put your readers at ease, and let them know unequivocally that you’d like to hear from them.
2. Compel Them To Comment – Making your posts conversational, and peppering them with questions that invite your readers to share their opinions on whatever that you’ve written about is a stellar idea. While you are at it, ensure that the topic you’ve chosen is interesting enough; current, popular, even slightly controversial ones will give your readers an impetus to comment. For example, write a post about your take on the Tiger Woods ‘incident(s)’ and all the brouhaha over it, a topic that is current as well as suitably controversial, your readers will be more than eager to offer their two cents worth.
3. Reward Your Readers – You may think that the posts you write are rewards enough, but if you continue in that perception, you might as well bid all hopes of comments goodbye. Setting up fun virtual prizes and awards can help acknowledge your readers’ presence and at the same time express your continued gratitude for it, and hence, can prove to be a surefire way to elicit more comments and evoke more loyalty from them. For example, you could set up Reader Of The Month or Best Comment of the Day awards and have the winners’ name displayed on your blog; it won’t cost you anything, but sure will make your readers feel cherished.
4. Guest Posts From Your Readers – Stir things up on your blog with a little reader interaction. Invite a reader, preferably a regular, to write a post for your blog. That’ll give the other readers something to talk about, you can be sure. In addition to providing more ‘flavor’ to your blog, such a move will help the readers feel more connected to you.
5. Reveal Your Soft Underbelly – Well not literally, of course. Adopting a slightly self-deprecating approach or talking about things you are spectacularly bad at, or even revealing the most irrational of your fears will make it easier for your readers to relate to you, and tell them that you are just like them, with your anxieties and silly fears and everyday problems. Having said that, you’ll have to strike a balance between being relatable and whiney; too whiney, and you run the risk of losing whatever few readers you have (and you don’t want that, no sirree, no).
6. Comment on Others’ Blogs – Do unto others what you wish they did to you; that is the first commandment in The Big Book Of Blog Commenting. Linking opportunity aside, commenting regularly on blogs you enjoy can result in acts of reciprocation. Though not necessarily a quid pro quo deed, you can be assured that if you leave meaningful comments on other blogs, those bloggers will take note of it, and quite possibly repay you in comments.
Last year saw Twitter and Facebook rise to dizzying heights of popularity and the web trying to wrap its collective head around the concept of real-time search and the resulting collaborations between Twitter and traditional search giants like Google and Bing. Yeah, social media really came of age in 2009. So, what changes will be wrought in social media this year? Social media gurus all over the Internet have been frantically making predictions, many have come out with extensive lists of just what changes it will undergo in 2010. Listed below are six likely social media forecasts for this year.
1. Social Media And Real Time Web – We already got a glimpse of the real-time web in 2009, with real-time search rolled out by major social media networks like Facebook and Twitter and the consequent deals with Bing and Google. This year we’ll see it come to its own, and social media will be the vehicle that will take it there. Besides being the agent of real-time search, which is already being incorporated into traditional search, social media will also prove to be a trend forecaster that will help spread as well as start trends and fads in matter of seconds.
2. Business of Social Media Marketing – Businesses were already turning hip to the powers of social media in the realm of marketing in 2009 (Dairy Queen, American fast-food chain and a local radio station WUKY are among the few who actively built their social media presence last year), and 2010 will reveal more and more businesses, including small businesses, resorting to the aid of social media marketing. According to industry experts, “Social media in 2010 will cease being the shiny new object and instead become part of the everyday lexicon of business.” And that it will no longer be considered a ‘fad’ used by youngsters and movie stars, but a marketing force to be reckoned with.