Many so-called gurus feel that blogging is dying or has been made redundant by social media participation.
You can see the “evidence” of this if you look at the number of comments blog posts now receive as compared to a few years ago. Even on the very popular blogs, comments are down drastically.
If you’re a freelance writer who maintains a blog, you’ve probably already felt the effects of declining comments on your own blog.
Personally, I don’t buy the notion that blogging is dying or becoming obsolete. However, good comments add a lot to a blog. Often, the comments are as interesting (or more interesting) as the post itself. Plus, good comments indicate a healthy community network.
So, in the face of declining comments, how can a freelance writer encourage discussion around his or her blog posts?
Here are five concrete suggestions that any freelance writer can easily implement:
- Participate in conversations elsewhere. Go to other blogs that address a similar audience to the one that you are trying to reach and leave regular comments. Over time, the readers will accept you as part of that blog’s community and some will come back to visit your blog.
- Make sure your posts leave room for discussion. Too often freelance writers write informational posts that really leave nothing left unsaid. A reader may really like the post, but feel there’s nothing to add. To avoid doing this, end some of your posts with a question.
- Interact with your readers. This may seem elementary, but you’d be surprised how often I see unanswered comments on blog posts. If someone takes the time to leave a relevant comment on your blog, be sure that you make the time to answer them.
- Promote your content. Use social media to share relevant posts to your family and friends. Make sure all of your profiles link back to your blog. No one will comment on your posts if no one knows about them.
- Use a plug-in to bring the conversation home. A lot of the conversation about blog posts is still happening–it’s just moved onto social media. Use a WordPress plug-in to display social media reactions to your post from Twitter.
What about you? Can you think of other ways to encourage your blog’s readers to comment? What strategies do you use to keep the conversation going?