Like many others, we build websites for our clients. They come to us looking for much more than an attractive compilation of pictures, words, HTML and CSS. In fact, if someone isn’t interested in defining and presenting the value that they offer and then building and sustaining an online hub for content marketing, we often steer them away.
Yet, as focused as we attempt to be in engaging with the right customers, we frequently encounter something that always confounds me. After a website launch, when someone gets their first comment on a blog post, they reach out to us in a white knuckle panic about what to do about this “interaction”.
Your blog: Where relationships and opportunity begin.
To get to the root of this frequent experience, we need to back up a bit. For those who are confused or just in denial, blogging is more than just about publishing posts.
You should consider your post content as a position or point of view that you’ve considered worthy of sharing with others. And your blog posts provide the opportunity to leave the floor open for discussion, encouraging conversation and collaboration that will hopefully enhance or influence your readers way of thinking. But it’s not just about the posts because the magic happens in the comments. It’s where connections are made and relationships are forged.
Why? Because it’s all about a conversation, discussion and collaboration. As a result, when people take the time to actually engage with what you’ve published, there is an unspoken obligation to reply—promptly and thoughtfully. So don’t dismiss their effort. Publishing was the opening line. And you need to budget time to reply if someone actually listened to what you had to say and found it worthy of a response.
Silence. Not an option.
If you don’t reply to a comment, you’re broadcasting to all of your current and future readers that there’s no reason for them to come back and invest in sharing their perspective or comment on your content. In fact, there’s no better way to convince someone that they’re wasting their time by commenting on your post than by ignoring them.
Let’s face it. In today’s overly distracted and way-too-much-to-do online environment, you’re really lucky to get any comments on a post. If you didn’t want to hear what people have to say about your content because it’s inconvenient to respond, then turn the commenting feature off on your blog. Or reconsider why you even have a blog.
What’s more, ignoring comments can be perceived as rude—as well as counter to the core function of a blog. For those seeking a simpler, less transparent and disconnected world, you can always go back to a static website that will never help you generate more leads, build brand value, or support your aspirations of becoming a thought leader in your domain of expertise.
The conversation may start with a comment. But it certainly doesn’t have to end there. It’s time to view a blog comment as only the beginning—a doorway opening to opportunity.
And even if responding to a blog post comment can sometimes be a challenge, we offer these simple tips to keep you focused and inspired to follow up on a comment:
- Don’t reply to a comment on another online platform like Twitter, Facebook or personal email—Login and do it on the post for everyone to see and share.
- Don’t have someone else reply for you. If you wrote it and published it, stand behind it and recognize how it was received.
- Don’t have some bot or software solution send a canned, generic reply that is off topic or vague.
- Stay on the topic of the post.
- Make your comment thoughtful and worth reading.
- Further a conversation.
- Be positive, interested, and encouraging.
- If you disagree, be polite about it and don’t flame the commenter.
- Spell correctly and use good punctuation and grammar.
- Don’t use chat or texting language like lol, i, or u.
- Don’t use spammy self promotion replies like “hire us” or “buy now”.
- Provide the ability for someone to subscribe to the comment stream to come back to the conversation and stay engaged.
- Enable the opportunity to share a great comment on social media.
- Don’t provide overly personal information about you.
Invest in value.
When you get a comment on a post, make a point to respond promptly. Whether there are two or two-hundred comments, show your respect and appreciation by taking the time to respond to every single one. And always give thanks for the commenters effort and perspective!
Are you valuing discussion on your blog? Are you making time for the readers and contributors in your growing community? Share what’s working for you.