10 Proven Tips for Getting More Engagement on Your Business Blog RIGHT NOW!

by Mack Collier

Reader engagement, more comments, interactionNext week I am speaking at the PRCA State Conference in Birmingham, on how to create engaging content.  I’m currently putting the finishing touches on my presentation for this event, and wanted to share some of the tips with you here on how to increase engagement on your blog.

1 – Decide WHO you are trying to engage.  It all starts here.  Are you trying to reach customers?  Potential partners?  Potential donors?  You have to decide who you want to reach before you can reach them.  You should already have your blogging strategy in place that will tell you what group you should be targeting, and why.

2 – Decide WHAT type of activity you want your target audience to engage in.  This is also critical.  You need to first decide who you want to be reading your blog.  Then once they are on your blog, you need to decide what action (or type of engagement) you want them to take.  Do you want them to comment?  Sign up for your email newsletter?  Visit your website?  Email you?  If you don’t know what action you want visitors to take on your blog, you can bet that they don’t either.

3 – Give readers multiple ways to connect with you.  Don’t just hope for more comments, give visitors an option to sign up for your blog’s feed (via both Email and RSS), and give them a way to contact you directly via email.  And if you have a retail location especially, add your phone number.  Believe it or not, not everyone is comfortable commenting on blogs, they may want to contact you privately, especially if they are interested in hiring you or buying from you.

4 – Reward readers that engage in the type of behavior that you want to encourage.  Remember when I mentioned that Comment Redirect is a great plugin?  It does exactly this, when you leave your 1st comment here, you are redirected to a page that thanks you for your comment.  Why?  Because I want readers to leave more comments.  So when they do, they are thanked via that special page.

5 – Ask for the type of engagement that you want.  If you want more comments, then ask for them.  If you want more subscription signups, then add a footer to your posts asking readers to subscribe to your blog.

6 – Don’t moderate comments. Or if you must moderate comments, approve them ASAP.  But let’s be honest, if most people spend even 30 seconds writing a comment and are greeted with ‘Your comment is awaiting moderation‘ then the odds are they won’t be back.  For most new business blogs, comment moderation really isn’t necessary.  As long as your blog has a way to block spam (such as the Akismet plugin), then the only moderation that will be necessary is for the content itself.  For most business blogs it will take a while for your blog’s readership to grow to the point where you are getting frequent comments.  So as long as you are proactive about checking new comments, you shouldn’t need to moderate.

7 – Respond to existing comments.  This is very obvious, but a lot of business bloggers miss this.  Last week’s post on Why Introverts Love Social Media currently has 89 comments, but 34 of them are from me.  You have to write em to get em.

8 – Tailor your content so that it encourages the type of engagement you want.  This goes beyond simply asking for comments or emails in a post.  Think about what type of content would prompt the type of engagement you want.  For getting comments, this is fairly easy.  But what if you want more subscribers or even buyers, you need to create content that will move visitors toward that level of engagement.

9 – Interact with readers on other sites to drive interest back to your blog.  Figure out which sites/blogs current and potential readers spend time on other than yours, and interact with them there.  For example, find sites/blogs that cover your specific industry.  The odds are that some of the people you want to reach via your blog, are already actively engaged on those sites.  If you can go interact with them there, that can lead them back to your blog.  Or maybe if you are a marketing and branding firm, a LinkedIn group on branding might be a good place to connect with people and drive interest back to your blog.  And since you have already connected with these people OFF your blog, they will be more likely to interact with you when they come back to your blog.

10 – Publish new posts based on when people visit your blog.  Check your blog’s stats, and note which days and times have the msot visitors.  If you discover that peak traffic occurs every Monday-Friday from 10am-2pm each day, then there’s your likely window for when you should be publishing new posts.  If you can give your visitors new content when they are on your blog and looking for it, that increases the odds of getting their attention, and getting them to interact with your content.

 

BONUS: Experiment.  Use these proven tips as your starting point, but don’t assume that each of these are the only ways that YOU can increase engagement on YOUR blog.  Good business bloggers are the ones that can take what has worked for others, and apply it to their own efforts.  But the great business bloggers are the ones that can also create successful efforts based on their unique situations.  Every blog’s readership and goals are different, and need a unique strategy and execution.  Use the above list as your starting point for increasing engagement on your blog, not as the beginning and end.

Pic via Flickr user ausnahmezustand

Kathryn Siranosian March 31, 2011 at 12:14 pm

Great tips, Mack! I find the business blog posts that get the most traction are the ones offering help (a solution to a problem) or new information (which could range from details about a product launch to a profile of a noteworthy employee). Sometimes, it seems as though companies are so “in the zone” that they don’t even realize how much interesting insight they can provide readers. Use your blog posts to address your readers’ pain points, and you’ll start building an audience.

Mack Collier March 31, 2011 at 12:26 pm

Kathryn you are exactly right, problem-solving posts are often the most valuable to readers, and this is often how search traffic arrives at a post, because they are searching for the answer to an existing problem.

And to you point about product-specific content, blogging companies can absolutely focus more in this area, especially B2B companies. I think so many social media consultants have been beating blogging companies over the head with the ‘you can’t promote yourself!’ mantra that it’s giving blogging companies the wrong impression. Companies that blog can and SHOULD promote their products and services, they just need to find the right balance.

Kevin Ekmark March 31, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Mack, when you are deciding who you want to reach, does that change from post to post, or do you stick with consistency throughout your whole blog? I can see how many people could benefit from your info, customer, partner, or donors.

Mack Collier March 31, 2011 at 4:12 pm

Kevin I think it’s best if you focus on one/fewer core groups. And if you do want to focus on multiple groups, that you have a priority for them. Then you can tailor your content based on what priority you give to each group.

And I also think it makes sense to re-examine your strategy and results on a regular basis, at least every 3 months.

Sankar April 1, 2011 at 6:28 am

Dear Mack

It’s a great post. Out of the ten tips, two of them caught my attention, because they relate to the current “The Two-Way Road Ahead” survey, I am conducting to understand the readiness of companies/consultants for the two-way social media participation.

Those two tips are: “respond to existing comments”, and “interact with readers on other sites”. They are very powerful, important ones.

Many business bloggers, social media strategists, co-creation agents…- have our own metrics regarding pushing the content, but not on interaction or participation. We may want to publish X number of blogs in a week or month, but how many of us would have the target for contributing to content, conversation, community initiated by others?

I am trying to understand the formal/informal plans, strategies, and key performance indicators people have for social media participation. Do take part in it, and let me share with you the results before this month end. It has just 3-questions. Would not take more than a minute!

http://www.younomy.com/surveys.html

Gabriele Maidecchi April 1, 2011 at 9:36 am

Look, I wanted to write something more, but I got struck by #6.
Amen to that, I really don’t understand the need for comments moderation anymore at all, and it’s a form of respect to trust people willing to spend a few minutes trying to engage with you.

Mack Collier April 1, 2011 at 11:03 am

Gabriele I think companies that are new to blogging (and social media in general) will want to moderate comments simply because they aren’t sure what type of comments they will get. They have heard the (most unfounded) horror stories about how customers are constantly leaving negative comments on company blogs, and assume this will happen to them. So, they want to moderate.

Of course the reality is that when a company launches a new blog, the biggest problem isn’t going to be getting negative comments, but more likely getting ANY comments at all. It takes a while for a blog to build a readership, especially an engaged readership that comments often.

Mel @ Trailing After God April 4, 2011 at 7:27 pm

Does Disqus have a way to redirect the page? I created a thank you page last week but then found that disqus doesn’t redirect. You know what else I think should be done away with? Captchas. I absolutely hate them but I especially hate the sneaky ones that don’t show up until your comment disappears and then shows up as a “preview” and then you have to enter it. I have decent traffic to my blog and I see no need for this. Other than irritating readers who do take the time to comment. Just my opinion.

Blessings,
Mel
Please feel free to stop by: Trailing After God

Ann H. Shea January 27, 2012 at 12:43 pm

Hi Mack,
I really appreciated this article. I’ve been trying to discover new ways to get readership at a fairly recently established corporate blog, http://www.quicklessons.com/blog/, that focuses on eLearning. I must say, it’s a challenge. One of your suggestions that resonated with me was to allow visitors instant gratification for posting comments by not having each comment have to be manually approved before appearing live. I will have to trust the Akismet plug-in to screen out the most obvious spam. Regarding soliciting comments, I always try to end each post with a prompt for opinions. And I try to post links to new posts on LinkedIn groups to help get some readers but I’d advise bloggers to be careful because some groups really are sensitive about allowing this and will threaten to ban you from the group. I am eager to hear from others on the topic of growing blog readership and welcome feedback on the blog.

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