14 Devious Tactics for Getting More Comments on Your Blog Posts
You have a lot to be proud of, you know.
Most folks who start a blog quit within a few weeks, their dreams of fame and glory crushed by a cold and uncaring world who doesn’t give a damn what they think.
You hung in there. You kept writing. You’re even managing to get a little bit of traffic.
And you’re pleased with your progress. Rightfully so.
The only problem:
You’re not getting many comments.
Sometimes a post collects one or two. Sometimes none. Occasionally, you strike a nerve and get a handful of readers to say something.
But never dozens or hundreds of comments like some of the big blogs.
Granted, you’re probably not getting anywhere close to the traffic they are, but you can’t help wondering…
Are you doing something wrong?
Is there some trick you’re missing?
And most importantly, what can you do to get more comments?
Well, let’s see if we can help you out.
The Three-Part Formula for Getting More Comments
The first step to getting more comments is to understand how they work.
Here’s the formula:
Traffic + Engagement + Emotion = Bunches of Comments
The first part is obvious. The number of comments you receive is at least somewhat dependent on how much traffic you’re getting, so if you want more comments, get more traffic.
But what about engagement and emotion? How do those work?
Well, engagement is all about how much of the reader’s attention you have. If they’re just skimming your post, not really reading or digesting what you’re talking about, then you’re not going to get many comments.
It’s also about the length of time you can maintain that attention. To get visitors to comment, you have to convince them to read most if not all of the post.
Makes sense, right?
Well, the third part of the formula is the surprising one: emotion. Most bloggers are so busy trying to tell a story or make a point or pass along valuable information they totally forget to engage readers on an emotional level.
And that’s a huge mistake. If you look at posts that receive hundreds of comments, all of them provoke some sort of emotional response.
The point is, it makes them feel something, and what do we do when we’re overcome with emotion? We comment. Our emotions compel us.
It’s not just emotion or any one part of the formula that gets readers to react, though. It’s only by putting all three together, by compounding their effects, that you get dozens or even hundreds of comments on a single post.
So then the question becomes…
It’s well and good to theorize about how comments work, but what are some specific steps you can take to start getting more of them right now?
Let’s talk about that next…
11 Ways to Get More Comments on Your Blog Posts
Here are some strategies you can start using immediately to boost your comment count. I’ve used them both on my own blog and the blogs of my clients, creating dozens of posts that have crossed the 100 comment threshold, so I know they work:
1. Get visitors to subscribe. Many readers won’t comment the first time they visit your blog. They need to get to know you first. To give them a chance, get them to subscribe to your blog by offering them an incentive like a free report, video, or webinar. Over time, the dividends are enormous, not only in additional comments but also in traffic and revenue.
2. Emphasize email over RSS. On average, the engagement of subscribers to your email list is about four times higher than subscribers to your RSS feed. More engagement means more comments, so emphasize email and make that RSS button a little harder to find.
3. Publish less often. The more often you publish, the less comments your posts will receive (on average). For one, the number of new comments a post receives drops dramatically when it’s pushed off the front page, but also, readers tend to get overwhelmed when you’re publishing a lot of content. By publishing less often, say once a week, you can actually increase your engagement, and therefore, your comments.
4. Email your unopens. If you email your subscribers a post, and they don’t read it, they must not be interested, right? Wrong. They may have overlooked it, been too busy to read it, or failed to receive it because of some technical glitch. So, here’s what to do: use an email service provider like AWeber that tracks who opens your emails, and email the post again to subscribers who don’t open it. You’ll get more traffic, and as a result, more comments.
5. Ask for links. Did you know not all traffic is created equal? When you get a link from an authority in your niche, the visitors are much more likely to comment than visitors who stumble across you on search engines or social sharing sites. So ask for links. Just hit them up on Facebook or Twitter and explain how the post will help their audience. Don’t be pushy. Offer it as a resource. You’ll be surprised how often they link to you.
6. Revive the archives. As a blogger, it’s all too easy to constantly be focused on the next post and forget about the great posts you wrote weeks, months, or years in the past. But it’s a mistake. Most of your audience won’t have read those posts, and so linking to them will not only help your readers, but it will get those old posts more comments as well. My recommendation: try linking to one old post per day on Twitter and Facebook, and set up an autoresponder sequence to send your best posts to new subscribers as well.
7. Write with more passion. When I write, I like to imagine the reader is sitting at their computer, half-asleep, and my job is to wake them up and get them energized. To do that, I get myself energized, and then I write with so much passion and energy they can feel it. It rubs off. If you believe passionately in what you’re talking about, it’s like connecting jumper cables from yourself to the reader and then revving your engine. You’ll wake them up and get them to comment.
8. Assault the norm. Controversy is probably the most reliable tool for getting people to comment, but you have to use it in the right way, or you’ll offend your readers. Here’s how to do it right: assault the norm. Find the commonly held belief in your niche that’s actually a myth or flat out wrong, and tell people why you disagree with it. You don’t have to be aggressive or try to provoke an argument. The more thoughtful the post is, the better it will do. For an example to model, click here.
9. Tell a tearjerker. You want a surefire method for getting people to comment? Well, here you go: make them cry. Tell a story that’s so sad, inspiring, or downright upsetting that it brings readers to tears. A good rule of thumb: if you tear up just thinking about it, it probably has a shot. The only problems with this method is you do have to be a good storyteller to make it work, and most of us don’t have more than a handful of tearjerker stories, so you can’t depend on them all the time.
10. Attack a common enemy. Politicians use this one all the time. The idea is simple: identify a person, company, or culture your audience hates, and then let them have it. Write a good old-fashioned rant. If you do it right, you’ll be a hero, because you’ll be giving voice to the anger and frustration your audience feels but can’t express. Not only will you get “I’m so glad you said this” comments, but you’ll strengthen your bond with your audience, transforming readers into converts who will hang on your every word.
11. Give a pep talk. This one is my favorite, and here’s why: the disease that cripples people and holds them back isn’t so much a lack of knowledge as a lack of confidence. They simply don’t believe in themselves. You can give them all the greatest information in the world, but they’ll either gloss over it or quickly forget, because their internal response to everything you say is, “I could never do that.” The solution? Be the one person in their life who truly believes in them, and end your posts with a pep talk about how they can do it. You’ll get more “thank you” comments than you’ve ever seen in your life.
12. Respond to the comments you do get. You may not realize this, but many of your commenters are expecting a response, and I’m not just referring to the ones who ask questions. They might elaborate on one of your points, tell a story from their own life, or simply thank you for the post, none of which obviously need a response. But respond anyway. They’ll be excited to get a response from you, and it’ll encourage them to comment more in the future. (Admittedly, this is an area where I could do better.)
13. Ask a question that’s easy to answer. The favorite closing paragraph of lazy bloggers is some variation of “What did I miss? Leave it in the comments.” And almost always, the close falls flat. Here’s why: it requires people to think too hard. Finding an example or a point you missed requires substantial thought, and if they’re not already super engaged, most people decide it’s not worth the effort. The solution is to ask questions like “What frustrates you?” or “What’s your favorite tool for such and such?” Those types of questions require almost no thought to answer, and so they get a lot of comments.
14. Resort to bribery. If all else fails, bribe them. Give away free products, consultations, feedback, the new iPad — pretty much whatever your audience desires. By getting people to comment, you employ the Law of Consistency, which means if people do something once, they’re much more likely to do it again. Commenting also makes readers feel more a part of your community, and they’re more likely to stick around, tell their friends, and buy your products and services. So, sometimes it’s worth giving them a little incentive to get off their butts and comment.
Is it really worth all that effort?
After reading all this, you might be thinking…
“Damn, I never knew getting comments was so much work. Is it really worth all that effort?”
In a word:
As I just mentioned, getting people to comment creates engagement, and it can actually help them succeed. By getting them off their butts, you’re not just boosting your comment count. You’re changing lives.
Comments are also good for your motivation.
If you’re writing and writing and writing, but no one ever comments, it’s easy to feel like you’re dumping your work into a big black hole. You can give up, not because your work isn’t good, but because no one is telling you it’s good.
The opposite is also true.
If you get dozens of comments on every post you publish, all of them thanking you and cheering you on, it’s really easy to stay motivated to keep writing. You can tell your work is touching people.
Whenever I get a little down, one my favorite things to do is go back to posts like this one and read the comments. Honestly, it makes me cry every time. Not because I’m a crybaby, not because I lack self-confidence, but because we all need to be reminded of how much other people treasure us.
Really, that’s what comments are.
They’re a hug from your best friend. They’re a pat on the back from your coach. They’re the standing ovation at the end of the speech.
And you know what?
You totally deserve it
The world is full of self-proclaimed experts offering to help in exchange for a hefty fee, but here you are, giving away your most valuable insights for free. The least you can ask for is a little bit of feedback.
But you can’t leave it to chance.
If you want more comments, you have to get more traffic. If you want more comments, you have to engage your readers. If you want more comments, you have to touch people’s emotions.
The good news?
After reading this post, you’re equipped with everything you need to do it.
So get to work.
Map out your strategy.
Write a post that makes your readers fall in love with you.
And then hang on.
Because those comments are coming, baby. In a freaking flood.