I got an email recently from a smart Fast Copy Friday reader (you’re not signed up… seriously?) about comments on her business blog.
She wanted to know how to get more comments on her blog because she knew that “successful business blogs” had comments.
Which is kind of true.
And also kind of isn’t…
What Part Do Blog Comments Play in Your Business?
Last year, my blog was pretty quiet. There weren’t that many posts or blog comments compared to previous years. Anyone looking around may have assumed that those online tumbleweeds meant business was pretty slow.
Because some people will think that, you know?
They look at your comments and how recent your content is and judge you and your business. (See “When Blog Comments Matter” below).
But in this case I was quiet because I was booked up 3-4 months ahead at any one time. Getting comments were secondary to the relationships being built behind the scenes.
Now, I know other bloggers who would say I should have kept building comments and the blog consistently.
Possibly… but I also had the bright idea to plan a wedding. I took my annual cowboy-boot buying trip to Texas, ran content training workshops in Stockholm, Vienna and Berlin and squeezed in a performance at a Bluegrass festival. I’m also tapping this out in a hotel room in Cyprus after another workshop.
For me, the balance of work and relaxing was just right. For those reasons, it was a “successful” business blog to me even though on the outside, the website looked quiet.
So does that mean blogging and commenting isn’t important?
You see the reason I was so busy was because of the relationships I’d previously built through my blog and having blog comments.
Let me break it down…
When Blog Comments Leave You Broke
If you really just want a lot of blog comments, deactivate your Akismet WordPress plugin, rejoice in a thousand spammy messages responding for each of your blog posts and take the night off work. Job done.
But you know that’s silly right?
Because it’s not “comments” people want. It’s an audience.
Ahh… But even having a real, non-spammy audience who “love” your blog doesn’t mean business success.
I know at least 2 bloggers who built online audiences, had lively active blogs, hundreds of comments and massive popularity.
Within a year, both went public about not being able to make their businesses work financially.
Comments feel good, the attention is comforting, being popular can be a real buzz. But if you can’t turn that into revenue (and if you need to) that popularity becomes very lonely.
When Blog Comments Matter in Your Business
So when are blog comments valuable? In my experience, it boils down to 2 things:
Want to get a book deal? Speak at a conference? Attract media and press enquiries? If so, the influence you have with your audience will be a selling point. An agent or publisher will want to know the size of your audience, and if your readers are likely to buy or help market this new title.
A conference organiser will want to know that putting your name on the bill will invite ticket sales, and it’s easier for journalists to discover your story if there are already people talking about it online.
These people will be checking out your website, and having comments shows you have an attentive, active audience. That’s going to make them more receptive to your book idea or speaking topic.
Selling a Product Direct
Whether you sell software or a service, if your primary customers are your audience, you need to be engaging with them regularly. Blog comments let you stay in tune with your target market. You can test new ideas, find popular problems or questions to solve with products and attract new customers.
So, Should You Worry About Building Comments on Your Business Blog?
Here’s a quick question, and it’s what I would say to the lady who inspired this post:
What is your immediate priority? Is it cash, visibility or leads?
Sometimes success in your business is a cheque that clears that month. If so, knock on doors, pick pick up the phone, make an offer or get in touch with some past customers. Your blog can wait.
If you don’t need immediate cash, but would like exposure to a new audience for leads which may later convert into customers. Investing the time it takes to build a discussion on your blog is going to pay off.
The important thing is not to chase comments blindly, that’s like steering your business blogging ship into a siren’s call.
And don’t judge a blog by its comments. Some of those popular blogs you’re envying could be about to crash and burn, and those quiet blogs could just be the ones that end up surprising you…
Still want to know how to attract more comments to your blog? I’ll share my experience on that one next time.
Now it’s my turn to ask you for your comments. Do you see a correlation between comments and revenue? Have you ever been frustrated with a lack of comments? Do you think comments are pointless? Let it all out in the comments below!
And you know what else smart blog readers do? They click the Tweet button. It lets your followers know you read some pretty funky stuff.
Keep on plugging away says
P.S. forget your ego.
I love how you wrapped up the post with one of the tricks to get comments! Nice touch. I have found it hard to get comments going with some of the blogs I manage. I think it’s because people we want reading the blog aren’t necessarily the type to leave comments. I look to other measures like readership and shares as an indication of whether the content is resonating or not. That being said, it is really nice to get comments!
Thanks Jennifer, you make a great point about readers not always being commenters. You can have lots of people absolutely loving your content, soaking it all up who just aren’t the type to jot down their thoughts for the world to see. And that’s okay. Other metrics like readership and shares can give you a rounded view of how well your content is working. Thanks for giving us those extra insights!
Keep on plugging away says
Who care’s so long what’s written above counts most comments are not worth reading or actively look at, unlike before, when novel. Plug away.
I’d agree, the increase in spam and peopel commenting just for the sake of it, has reduced the value of some comments. I still see some pretty active debates and conversation happening on sites which can give the original post another dimension, and increase the original value. Great point!