Getting more blog comments vs cultivating more blog conversations

by Mack Collier

One of the big concerns for so many bloggers is getting more comments on their blog.  There have been a gazillion posts written on how to get more comments, I have written a few myself.  But I think an important distinction we need to make is that getting more comments does not necessarily equal getting more CONVERSATIONS on your blog. And at the end of the day, I think when most bloggers say ‘I want more comments on my blog!’ what they REALLY mean is ‘I want more conversations on my blog!’

So if we really want more conversations, then that requires a slightly different approach than simply trying to get more comments.  And it was this distinction that we discussed last night during #Blogchat.  You can view the transcript here.

In chatting with all the other smarties during #Blogchat last night, I think we agreed upon a few key ways to cultivate more conversations (not just comments) on your blog:

1 – Ask your readers what they think.  I remember @JudyMartin8 specifically made this point.  It’s a great way to encourage your readers to get their point of view out in the open, and that increases the chance that others can agree or disagree with their points.

2 – Push commenters to go beyond just saying ‘Great post!’.  We all get these comments, and I definitely appreciate them.  But as far as cultivating conversations, these really don’t help us much.  When you get these type of comments, ask the commenter to share WHAT they liked about the post.  This way you get an interaction started with them, that could lead to a conversation.  Both @profkrg and @kamkansas made this point.

3 – Help connect commenters that make complimentary or opposing points.  This is a great way to cultivate conversations that I don’t think enough bloggers focus on.  If one blogger makes a point, then another follows up with a comment that either builds on their point or offers a differing point of view, try to connect the two.  Leave a comment like ‘Hey Sarah, I think Pete was making a similar point in his comment’, or ‘Jim I like where you are going with this, but what would you say to someone like Kathy, that thinks the opposite?’

 

At the end of the day, I think we as bloggers need to take ownership and proactively cultivate the conversations that we want to see happen.  I think we need to go beyond simply trying to get more comments, because as I said last night, if you get 10 comments that all say ‘Great post!’, that is NOT a conversation, that’s 10 comments.

What else could we be doing to cultivate conversations in the comments section of our posts?  What works for you on your blog?

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