Published on March 17th, 2011
Note**: I’ve been waiting for the day to write an article about this subject for some time, but when it comes to my blog posts, there’s pretty much only one rule that I live by—I won’t write about it unless I’ve actually ‘been there, done that’. You see, it always bothers me when I read headlines from bloggers like, “How to Make 25k a Month on Your Blog” when it’s obvious the blogger is only regurgitating something he or she read in a book but has yet to accomplish the feat themselves.
Also, this article is a little longer than normal but I promise it won’t be a waste of your time, as I think there is probably something of value here for everyone. Here goes…..Lately, I’ve been receiving a number of emails with two repeating questions:
1. How do you get so many comments to your blog?
2. How do you get so many quality comments on you blog?
Good questions indeed. My last 8 articles have received an average of 75 comments each, a far cry from the days many, many months ago when I practically had to pay friends and family to read my posts and add a thought or two at the end. So the question is how does this shift happen? How do we go from 0 to 75 with every post? Here are my thoughts, and I can’t wait to hear yours:
10 Ways to Get Tons of Massive Blog Comments Every Time
1. Stir Up the Pot: My friend and excellent blogger Marlee Ward from Metamorphoself said this the other day regarding my Tim Ferriss article. “Marcus, Marcus, Marcus, I love how you gently stir the pot….” It made me laugh when she said it but it’s true, great blog articles ‘stir the pot’, thus causing people to think, question, and have a desire to respond with their own sentiments. And like Marlee said, you don’t have to be over the top, a ‘gentle’ stir is all that is needed to initiate some great conversation.
2. Don’t See Comments as a One-Way Street: Many bloggers see comments as a simple exclamation point, confirming their article’s greatness. This makes no sense to me at all. Personally, I don’t think the ‘learning’, in most cases, starts until the comment section. The comment section is the place where the community converges and a synergy of diverse thought mixes. If you want to see a great example of this, visit Gini Dietrich's killer blog at Spin Sucks. She’s a master at promoting conversation ‘after the fact’ and it’s obvious her community loves it.
3. Actively Comment Everywhere: As I’ve stated before, I simply didn’t understand this early on in my blogging days. I was so wrapped up in ‘writing’ that I was aloof of everything else. It wasn’t until I started reading the thoughts of Tristan Higbee at Blogging Bookshelf that I finally started to ‘get it’. You see, Tristan was one of the first bloggers to break down the science of commenting on other blogs so as to build awareness, branding, and comment reciprocity. He set commenting goals, did studies, and once even commented on 100 blog articles in a single day. Crazy? Yeah, but Tristan’s blog took off like a rocket, and he was willing to pay the price to get there much quicker than most because of his extraordinary commenting efforts (plus he writes like a beast). He has obviously scaled back now, but the foundation has been built.
Personally, I spend about 5-6 hours a week reading and commenting on other blog posts. And although this may sound like a lot of time, it certainly is a guaranteed way to get people back to your blog so they then have the opportunity to share, and thus the snowball begins to grow.
4. Use CommentLuv and ReplyMe: Wow, what a difference these two plugins make. Although there are certain commenting platforms like Livefyre and Disqus, I much prefer your standard Wordpress comment box with these two plugins. Why? 3 Reasons:
1. CommentLuv allows you to ‘share the love’ with those who comment by showing their blog feed under the comment. I can’t say how many times I’ve clicked on someone’s CommentLuv feed simply because it showed a great blog title.
2. ReplyMe sends your individual reply to a commentor. With this plugin, the individual is guaranteed to know you appreciate them stopping by and allows you to further the discussion, especially if you integrate questions to that person in your reply.
3. The standard wordpress comment box is easy. It doesn’t require too many hoops to jump through. This is the reason I don’t like Livefyre and Disqus, as they make it tough for non-techies and beginners to leave comments. For example, if your grandmother (assuming she’s not all that tech savvy) was reading your blog for the first time, could she leave a comment without help? If not, then you need to ask yourself if you’re missing a good part of your audience.
Note** It goes without saying you should reply to every comment someone leaves on your site. Yes, it takes time, but it’s worth it. Also, when you individually reply to every comment, it makes the total comment number greater, which acts as more of a social proof to first timers and others visiting your blog.
5. Let Your Articles Simmer: I used to write 3-4 articles a week. Now I post every 3 days. This pattern allows comments, and conversation, to build up much more over that time period. To give you a better feel for this, if an article gets 75 comments, 35 are usually the first day, 25 the second, and 15 the third.
6. Be a Thought Leader: Yep, we can do everything in the world in terms of great networking, but you’ve got to be a thought leader in your niche. You must tackle issues others are not. You must stretch your mind and see the world ‘just a little differently’ than everyone else. This is what thought-leaders do and this is why they’re great. Want to see to powerful examples? Just visit Danny Brown’s stellar blog or Mitch Joel’s incredibly innovative Six Pixels of Separation to see two guys that are ‘crushin it’ in this area of thought leadership.
7. Be Very Opinionated: If you’re really looking to make the sparks fly and hear what others are thinking, learn to be the guy or girl that isn’t afraid to have a strong opinion regarding topics in your niche. Remember, people want black and white, not gray, so take a stand. A perfect example of this was Brankica Underwood with her gutsy article ‘MarketMeSuite Sucks: The Worst Product I’ve Ever Tried’, which got a meager 110 comments and initiated quite the lively conversation. Sadly, many bloggers simply don’t have Brankica’s chutzpah, but if they did, they’d surely see many, many more comments.
8. Look to Give Value to Others at Every turn: Are you regularly tweeting other people’s stuff? And when you tweet, is it generic or does it actually say something cool and thoughtful about the article? Do you mention others in your blog posts? Do you praise your peers more than you praise yourself? If you’re not doing these things, you’re missing the boat. John Falchetto does this as well as anyone I’ve seen online. Honestly, I’m amazed at how much time he spends promoting other people’s stuff, but that’s also why his blog is skyrocketing and he’s getting more and more comments with every new post.
9. Use GREAT Headlines: It’s sad to me just how often I see great blog articles fade off in the sunset because their titles stink. To give you an example, my last article, which was entitled “The Curse of Tim Ferriss, Why Living Abroad Ain’t Always the Answer” was extremely catchy (100+ comments and counting), and within one hour of posting it had been read a few hundred times. Why? Because internet folks like you and I get countless articles in our feed or inbox each and every day. We must stand out. If not, then it’s likely the article will get shifted to the bottom of the pile. So the next time you write a blog article ask yourself if the title is catchy, appealing, or thought-promoting. If it’s not, come up with a new one.
10. Ask and Ye Shall Receive: Have you ever asked readers to comment? If not, what the heck is wrong with you? Do you realize many newer bloggers and readers don’t know whether you care if they comment or not? As for me, I care. This is why at the end of almost all of my articles I’ll ask one or two questions to readers and then say something really silly, like “Remember, comment checks will be sent in the mail every 3rd Friday of the month”. Obviously, everyone knows I’m just being goofy, but it’s enough to make a reader smile and say, “Heck, why not?”
OK, I’ve listed my 10, now I can’t wait to hear yours. What would you add to the list? Are there any you disagree with? Remember, if this article doesn’t get many comments I’ll look like an idiot and feel very sad ;-)