It’s kind of frustrating, isn’t it? Having to scroll for a minute and a half through hundreds of comments on some posts just so you can share your opinion.
It’s even more frustrating when your own posts aren’t getting many comments. Sometimes it’s a comment or two. Sometimes none. Occasionally, it seems Lady Luck smiles upon you and you get a few of your readers to share their thoughts.
But never dozens or hundreds of comments like some of the other blogs out there.
Maybe it’s all about luck, maybe there’s some trick, some tactic, and you can’t help but wonder…
Am I doing something wrong?
What can I do to get more comments?
Well, first of all, it’s not magic. Or trickery. Secondly, let’s see if we can do something about it.
In order to get more comments, one must understand how they work.
Well, there are two main factors that come into play.
This one is pretty obvious, right? The number of comments you receive depends on how much traffic you’re getting, so if you want more comments, you’ve got to get more people to read your blog.
How do you get more readers?
Here are a few things you can do to get more blog readers:
- Write fantastic content. Nothing else matters if your content is weak. If you are not writing stuff people want to read, then there’s no other trick to try to get readers.
- Work on that killer headline that makes people want to read what you have to say.
- Format your blog posts accordingly. This will turn scanners into readers, and if your content is brilliant, will also turn them into fans.
- Have a consistent schedule. You can’t expect to increase your traffic if you don’t blog regularly. Whether it’s daily or once a week, focus on delivering high-quality content consistently.
- Get your own domain name. What do you think is easier to remember? “yourname.wordpress.com” or “yourname.com”? This is the foundation of branding your blog.
- Make it easy for folks to subscribe to your blog. It’s not just adding follow buttons in your sidebar, but also reminding them that you’d appreciate it if they subscribed to your blog at the end of some of your posts.
- Use social media. If you want to build visibility for your blog, you must go where the people are. Which platform is the best? The one you enjoy being a part of. Use social media to network, build relationships, and share new blog posts.
- Encourage and be a part of the conversation on your blog. Start by making it easy for your readers to comment. Ask them relevant questions at the end of your posts. Engage in the conversation yourself, reading comments, and replying as appropriate.
- Comment on other blogs. As you read other people’s blog posts, leave comments. Do not spam people with invitations to read your blog. Instead, read the type of posts that you’d actually enjoy reading, and then engage accordingly. Or better yet, ask yourself what kind of comments would you like to receive on your blog. Some generic stuff and a dumb question that reveals the author never read the post followed by them asking you to visit their blog? Yeah, I didn’t think so.
- Guest blog. Frankly, this is something I have rarely done. And even that was a long time ago. But most successful bloggers swear by it, and no matter how many readers this could bring you, it’s a brilliant way to build relationships with other bloggers in your niche.
- Showcase other people’s content. Let’s call it reverse guest blogging. You know what I mean. Or maybe you could interview them…
- Learn all about the principles of viral content and then apply them to your own content. This is also about point number one. A great article will always attract readers a lot faster than a mediocre one.
- Post more frequently. But be careful not to sacrifice quality. The more you post, the more visible your blog becomes, the more readers you attract.
- Enable Related Posts. With images. Because someone rarely subscribes to a blog after reading just one blog post. Offer your visitors more chances to find out how awesome you are.
- Interlink. This is also a brilliant way to get your readers to find more of your content.
- Add content in a different format. A podcast, a YouTube channel, or maybe just share blog posts that rely more on images, infographics, etc.
- Have the guts to be yourself. Just like Gary Vee.
- Buy some ads. But first, do your homework, so you don’t waste your money.
- Give your visitors something for free.
- Use a simple, clean theme. Go for the kind of layout that puts emphasis on your content.
- Develop the right kind of mindset. It’s all for nothing if you quit in your mind long before you decide to stop blogging.
- Be willing to work and work and work. Even without seeing any results.
For more tips and tricks on how to get more followers, be sure to check out the From 0 to 5,000 Readers in 6 Months course.
Engagement relates to how your content makes your readers feel.
Even the articles that no one likes receive a lot of comments because it does make people feel strongly about the topics and ideas that are being discussed.
The goal is to use emotions as a way to capture your reader’s attention, and it has to make them want to engage further with your content, while sharing their opinions.
As a rule of thumb, great content tends to divide people, even if the vast majority of people love it, there will be people who will feel a great emotional discomfort if they were to agree with your statements and ideas.
In order for a post to be considered “engaging” you must maintain a reader’s attention for the entire length of the post.
Makes sense, right?
So, how do you write engaging content?
Imagine you have a valuable piece of information that you believe is life-changing in nature. You want to share that information with your readers, but more than that, you want them to act on that information. To internalize it, to feel not just remember it.
Say you want your readers to be aware of how important it is to let things go, how important is to always aspire to rise to higher consciousness, to be fully present in the moment, to withhold judgment, to never let the past interfere with them being in the here and now.
You could write: YO, guys! It is important to let stuff go! Do that! Now!
You can use bolds or italics. Or even both.
Or you could tell them a story or anecdote, much like this one:
What you say is essential. But how you say it will determine whether or not your readers think so too.
2.1 Writing Engaging Content Is All About Knowing Who Your Ideal Reader Is
When you know your readers well enough, what you’re doing is sharing the same model of the world as they are. You know in what they believe in, so you can frame your story in such a way that it resonates with them on an emotional level.
Based on who you’re writing for, you have to choose the way you tell your story.
How you deliver a message determines whether your readers find your content good or great. It’s not the message itself, but the way you choose to deliver it.
It’s not the intent, but the execution, so here are four steps to creating content that engages your readers on an emotional level:
1. Be unpredictable
If you knew how a book ends, how tempted would you be to read it?
Granted, you’d still want to read it if the writing was great. Then the story wouldn’t even matter. Come think of it, most of the greatest novels ever written have terrible plots.
Irresistible writing is like jumping on a roller-coaster ride.
It creates this bubble around your readers, effectively shutting down the outside world. That’s what you want. It’s just your article and the reader.
Write from a different angle, offer your readers two conflicting perspectives, then tie it all together. Challenge your readers to find the common ground between two opposing world-views.
Fascination is the side-effect of delivering a message your readers subconsciously knew about but never thought about it for long enough to arrive at the conclusions you have.
Taking a different approach than everyone else helps you to stand out, and that’s why unpredictability is crucial for content that engages readers.
2. Keep it simple
Here’s a fascinating fact: if you deal with words long enough you develop a skill that is known as verbal narcissism. It means that you can go on talking and talking and talking, and you could probably seduce a glass of water, or sell sand in the Sahara Desert.
But when it comes to delivering a message, it is better to be clear and concise. A strong message is one that delivers but the essence.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying to water down your writing to the point of stupidity.
That defeats the purpose.
But you have to make it clear enough that it travels directly into the minds of your readers, so they can begin to envision your story.
Think of the way you write as drawing a map. Now, the idea is to draw a map that is easy to understand and follow.
If you have a brilliant paragraph, try reducing it to only two sentences. Try to get it down to even more. What is the very essence of what you are trying to convey?
3. Be real
Being your authentic self can be a challenging thing to do nowadays. To keep it real.
Just be yourself, which by definition means to be in line with your core values.
What do you believe in? What are you living for? What would you die for?
What are your principles? The guidelines that allow you to navigate through life?
Why is this so important? Because it’s the only way to be relevant. Without being relevant, your words will never inspire others to take action.
4. Be credible
Your aim is to persuade. It may not seem like that, but you write with the intent of making something happen. If it’s wanting for your readers to better know themselves, to comment on your posts, to buy a certain product, it’s all about making an emotional connection.
We prize logic so much, yet we fail to understand that we base most of our actions on our emotions.
What does you gut feeling say?
Did it feel right or not?
If you were offered a great business deal, fantastic opportunity, all the resources you needed, absolutely everything, but the man who offered you that deal refused to shake your hand at the signing of the contract, how’d you feel? Would you still take the deal?
And what do we do when a deal is too good to be true? We back away from it. We use our logic.
This is why logic is not something you want to deal with if you plan on writing engaging content.
It’s not the cold hard data that matters, but the way you share it. We don’t care as much about numbers as others would like you to believe.
We care about real humans doing real human things in an imperfect world.
Unpredictability, realness, credibility, delivering a strong message in a clear and concise way. Write from the heart, constantly asking yourself how would your readers feel.
You see the difference maker?
We go through life constantly thinking about what others think of us, and very seldom about how others feel about us.
And when do we start asking ourselves that question? When does it become important to know how others feel?
When we care about them.
Do you want to know the secret to getting your readers to care about your blog posts enough to leave a comment?
A + B = More Comments
The more people read your articles, the more comments you will receive.
The more engaging your content, the more comments you will receive from your readers.
At the same time, there’s another aspect worth considering.
Traffic and engagement are so interlinked that a valid strategy to get more readers invariably leads to better engagement levels and vice-versa.
An obvious example of this is to write clear and concise articles. They boost engagement levels, but they also act as an incentive for people to subscribe to your blog.
Anyway, the idea is that all three of these factors have to come into play if a post is to get hundreds and hundreds of comments.
I can imagine one question popping up inside your head… How do you do that?
Well, here are some tips:
1. Get readers to subscribe: Many folks will be shy about commenting the first time they visit a blog. They’d like to get to know you first, to become comfortable. Getting people to follow your blog is not done by adding “Follow me” at the end of posts, but rather by offering them something for that:
- The promise of future posts that will be so amazing that they’d shoot themselves in the foot if they missed them.
- A freebie, whether an e-book, an online course, or a neat compilation of your best posts.
- A giveaway. I have mixed feelings about them, but they are a valid way of boosting your subscriber count, and it does help if you are offering some of your own products, whether your art, books, or other media.
2. Post less frequently. This is especially true if you do not have a large following. Why? Because the more often you post, the fewer comments your posts will receive. You lose social proof because people prefer to comment on the most recent post. Not having that many readers to begin with ensures that some posts won’t even get a single comment.
One thing I do is have a number of posts that are sticky on the front page. The ones that have proved to have all the three elements of a post that receives a lot of comments. Thus, they provide social proof, which in turn means readers will be more willing to comment on my more recent posts.
There’s no clear timeline for this strategy because it’s up to you. I’d wait at least a day in between each stage, but you can start interlinking and mentioning your article in new and old articles as soon as you publish it.
A word of warning though: try not to overdo it with sharing your article on social media. 5-7 times during the first 72 hours after a post goes live is more than enough, and I’d also only mention this new article in just one newsletter e-mail.
Another fantastic idea is to enable “Related Posts” to show up at the end of each post. It’s a must and an effortless way to get more eyes on an article once it’s no longer among the most recently published.
3. Write about eureka moments. The best writing expresses what we feel but could never quite express ourselves. It gives your readers the impression that you know them better than they know themselves. You make them wish they could be your friends while being envious of the way you put into words what they wish they had written themselves.
This kind of post requires a lot of empathy. A lot! And a lot of time, a lot of energy. But if you do it right, then that’s going to give you an unfair advantage in the world of blogging.
It’s not easy, but you won’t have to spend 50 hours writing and editing an epic, 10,000-word evergreen article. Well, odds are, you’ll have to spend 50 hours thinking about a certain topic until you come up with an original idea, but it will surely make your readers go, “Wow!” as they wish the like button worked more than only once.
4. Write a rant. Hate against some entity or person brings people together. What is the thing you hate most in this world? Write about it. If you do it right, you’ll be giving voice to the anger and frustration your readers have always felt but could never express. Not only will you get a lot of comments, but you’ll also create a stronger bond with your readers.
5. Motivate people. You know I love this. I believe that it’s not people’s abilities that hold them back, but a lack of faith in those abilities. It is confidence, it is belief, it is feeling strong, feeling powerful that cripples people and stops them short in their tracks.
Regardless of what the most negative of people would like you to believe, there are few pursuits more noble that doing your best to make others believe in themselves.
Make people believe that they too can achieve the things you have, and you’ll get more comments of appreciation than you’ve ever received in your life.
6. Encourage comments. Ask a few questions at the end of your article, or simply encourage your readers to share their opinion or experience. Try to be as specific as possible. It’s not enough to ask them to, “Let me know what you think in the comments section below.”
Ask them a specific question from your article.
As an example, I could end this article by asking you, “Why do you think your most commented article received such feedback?”
Do not be afraid to make your readers think in order to come up with an answer to an intriguing question. It’s guaranteed to get people talking.
7. Interact with the people who comment on your articles. Don’t just reply. Genuinely reply. Ask follow-up questions. Make friends, so to speak.
A blog post with 8 comments, 4 of which are just thank yous from the blogger, is a poor sight.
Try to build a community by interacting and engaging with your readers, while encouraging them to follow-up and ask you more.
8. Do a Q&A. Ask them to ask you, and then reply in the comments. It’s not cheating, and it’s not about the comments you receive, but about the fact that you are, once again, encouraging your readers to interact and connect with you.
9. Bribe your readers. If all else fails, you must resort to bribery. Give away free products, consultations, feedback, a new iPhone — whatever it takes.
If you get people to comment, you are making use of the Law of Consistency, which means that if people do something once, they’re more likely to do it a second time.
Commenting also makes your readers feel more a part of your community, and they’re more likely to stick around, share your posts on social media, or buy your products and services. In the long run, it’s worth giving them a little incentive to interact with your content.
I know what you’re thinking. All this effort, all this work to get comments. Is it really worth it?
When you get comments, you’re not only building engagement, or a following, but you’re also creating a community around your blog. Receiving feedback ensures that you stay motivated and on track.
If you’re publishing one post after another, but no one ever comments, it’s easy to become demotivated and lazy, and even to give up because no one is offering you any feedback.
You might as well throw all your words into a black hole. Wouldn’t make much of a difference.
Do you want to know a secret? I’ve wanted to quit blogging so many times. It’s not the easiest way to earn a living, especially if you’re a full-time blogger, it’s not as glamorous as you might think. But you know what kept me going? Receiving a comment from someone I never met, someone who lives half a world away, telling me that my words inspired them or motivated them or gave them just enough of a push to keep going when all they wanted was to give up.
This, my friend, is worth more than all the money in the world, and that is going to keep you in the game long enough to build a blog you’re proud of.