What’s the difference between reading a blog and reading a book?

A blog post has the potential to start a dialogue.

A lot of stuff can go on in a comment section. In some areas of the internet (you know which ones), a lot of what goes on is SUPER toxic and I would NOT recommend wading in.

But in other areas, comment sections can be full of vibrant and fruitful discussions, which build a strong sense of community and keep people coming back to continue the conversation.

I want to help you turn your blog’s comment section into that second option!

You may already have a pretty large audience, but maybe you aren’t seeing as much audience engagement as you’d like. That’s totally okay — there are some pretty simple ways to encourage engagement and I am going to teach them to you RIGHT NOW!

4 Super Simple Tips to Boost Engagement

1. Create a poll.

If there is one thing that I know about people, it’s that they LOVE sharing their opinions. I know *I* sure do! Give your audience the chance to share their thoughts by creating a poll and inviting them to share their answers and reasons in the comments section. Obviously, avoid sensitive or controversial topics — instead, stick to poll questions relevant to your field or your blog’s themes, or lighter pop culture fare. A controversial question may boost engagement, but it’s also likely to lead to the aforementioned toxic cesspool, which is not your goal here.

2. Ask for recommendations.

Another thing that people like to do is help others. Ask your readers for their recommendations for things generally relevant to your audience. If you run a marketing blog, see if they have a preferred email marketing platform. If you write a local food blog, ask them for their all-time favourite brunch place in your city. Not only will readers be happy to share their own recommendations, but they’ll likely spend a lot of time reading and responding to the recommendations of others. Bonus: you’ll probably wind up learning about something awesome that you’d never even heard of!

3. Make sure your content is visible.

We’ve all been to those “blogs” that offer 10% content and 90% ads. You know the ones — they’re listed under Recommended Content on various webpages and feature click-bait headlines like “Why Hollywood Will Never Hire Blah-Blah Actress Anymore” or “You Won’t Believe The Role That Whatshisface Turned Down”. When you visit them, you have to click through 10-15 pages to access all of the content, which is barely visible with giant flashing ads distracting you on all sides. Are you ever tempted to comment on those blogs? Be honest: how often do you even read through to the end (or even past the first page)? Chances are, your blog is nowhere near this cluttered, but if you’re hosting a lot of ad space, consider whether the revenue is worth the hit that your engagement may be taking.

4. End each post with a question.

Yes, sometimes it really is that easy. After a post explaining a certain topic, ask your audience about their experience with the topic. If you write a post about yoga, ask them how often they practice. If you write a post about creating a business plan, ask them about their 3-month or 12-month goals. If you get a good response, offer a follow-up comment, even if it is just “congratulations” or “thanks for commenting” or “hey, cool avatar! I also enjoy The Avengers!”

Writing in a way that invites dialogue takes a small shift in mindset, but the results are worth it. You may even find writing blog posts more fun if you’re anticipating the conversation with your audience!

Have you ever tried including polls or questions in your posts?