Six weeks ago, I wrote to you and shared most the things I wish I’d known as a beginning blogger.
One of the things I told you was
“for the first month or two, just focus on writing.”
It’s been a month or two. I figured it was time to check in and give you a wee bit more advice.
(Hint: If I could have squeezed in in, the full title of today’s post is “Dear Beginning Blogger: How to be awesome at social media and get lots of comments on your blog posts.”)
This is some pretty expensive advice. I attended Blissdom – a multi-day blogging conference at a fancy hotel to learn this and ran up quite a bill in the process.
But I’ll give it to you for free.
Are you ready?
I learned it from Scott Stratton of @unmarketing fame. His platform of choice is Twitter and he is awesome at it. (It should tell you something that I linked to his Twitter profile and not a traditional blog.)
He sees Twitter as a microblogging platform, not just a space to share a URL to your blog post. He said the secret to success on Twitter is simple.
“Treat Twitter as a conversation, not a dictation.”
Beginning Blogger, that’s a profound piece of advice.
It’s not just Twitter.
Take that advice and apply the idea behind it to every Social Media platform.
It’s about conversation and relationship.
(That’s a whole different post, I promise.)
Everything that happens on your blog is part of a conversation.
Your posts are the opening statement.
The comments are a response from your readers – the second half of your conversation.
Stop thinking of comments as a scorecard for your popularity. Look at them as a way to extend the conversation and learn more about the people who read your words.
The whole thing about how important it is to reply to comments isn’t to drive up your own comment count stats. It isn’t to “trick” the reader into coming back and yet again boosting your page views.
It’s about continuing the conversation.
Be awesome at conversation.
Conversations happen when we feel welcome.
You know what makes your readers feel welcome?
- Turning off CAPTCHA.
- Allowing comments to post immediately instead of disappearing into nothingness to be “moderated.”
- Giving your readers an EASY way to leave their credentials.
- Providing your readers with control of how the conversation is continued.
- Continuing the conversation.
I get it. Spam.
When I first turned off CAPTCHA, I was terrified I would be overwhelmed with spam. I’m not. It’s not that big of deal to click the “spam” button a few dozen times a week.
(Besides, spammers increase your page views… if you’re obsessing over that kind of thing then embrace the spam. JK…kinda.)
I get it. Cussing.
When I first turned off moderation, I was terrified that someone would drop an “f bomb” in comments or say something terribly rude and troll like. In the two years since I quit having moderated comments, I’ve had only two cussing incidents out of 3,476 comments (to date). I edited one comment to swap letters for asterisks. I used the spam button on the other one.
I get it. Plug Ins / Widgets / Gadgets.
Yep. You need them. The native commenting for WordPress and Blogger are a wee bit lacking. Go find a blog that has a comment “thingy” that makes you feel welcome (or that gets a ton of active discussions). Copy what they’ve got going on.
I get it.
Really, I do.
But if you want to have a conversation with your readers, it’s best not to slam the door in their face when they knock.
One last thing —
Be awesome at leaving comments.
When you’re the reader, the one leaving comments, remember that you’re part of a conversation. You would never run into the middle of someone else’s party and yell “nice post” and run back out. (Nor would you walk into a candle party and yell “hey, come over to my party and buy some plastic lidded containers.” Right?)
Be a considerate guest and make it easy to continue the conversation.
How hard is that?
Sweet friend, just go be awesome.
The world needs your words.
(And so do I. I’d love to hear what you think. Leave me a comment and we can chat.)
(Note: this post is part of an ongoing series designed to provide encouragement to beginning bloggers.)